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Workplace Wellbeing Gains Support from Government

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<a href='http://morningbiznews.com/en/search/Workplace+Wellbeing'>Workplace Wellbeing</a>

Is workplace wellbeing valued as much as it should be? Outside of HR circles it’s certainly a term that we don’t hear as often as we should. After all, workplace wellbeing is something that reaches far beyond the workplace itself – and can have a positive effect on employees’ lives outside of work as well as the productivity and bottom line of companies themselves.

This week, workplace wellbeing came under the media spotlight when the Minister for Employment Relations, Jo Swinson, stated unequivocally that employee wellbeing is a force for good. In her article, the minister speaks of her “strong support” for workplace wellbeing, highlighting the fact that “considering [the] self worth and health of individuals is morally right” and also because it “makes good business sense”.

Indeed, a look at the best companies to work for rankings shows that, while the organisations on the list may be a disparate, diverse and eclectic bunch – the one unifying factor is a commitment to staff wellbeing that matches a commitment to delivering a great product.

The ways in which different organisations approach workplace wellbeing and employee engagement depend on a number of things such as which industry the company operates within, the types of jobs its employees carry out, and so on. But while there are differences from company to company, the aims and objectives are usually very similar, including the following key wellbeing factors:

• Lowered stress levels
• Increase openness, communication and teamwork
• Enhanced employee satisfaction
• Lower rates of sickness absence and decreased duration of sickness absences
• Higher productivity
• Increased profitability

While there aren’t (yet) any scientific studies that have been able to produce an ‘employee wellbeing’ to cost benefits equation, it’s fair to say that a number of studies have indicated that it is indeed the case that the workplace focussing on wellbeing is the one best placed to maximise productivity. We only have to look at large corporations such as Google for an idea of just how successful it can be – although the days of head massages and sleep pods for the average worker in a UK office remain (sadly) beyond the horizon.

So what kind of things do organisations offer their staff in terms of wellbeing?

A lot of what workplace wellbeing aims to do is provide the best conditions for people to work in, so this is partly a cultural change – including things like involving employees (where possible) in decisions the company is making, promoting a mentally healthy workplace, and so on.

In terms of the things that can be included as part of an employment package, there are various products, services and benefits that organisations offer to staff, such as:

• Private medical insurance cover
• Help with childcare
• Subsidised healthy eating on-site
• Time off to pursue other interests e.g. charity volunteering
• Gym memberships
• Regular social events

Philip Crothers | AXA PPP HealthCare