How improving the Health and Well-Being of the Workplace will help your Business Thrive
Owning and running a business can be hugely rewarding, however I know better than anyone that running a business can also be hard. There are some pressures that are an inevitable consequence of running a business, but there are steps that as entrepreneurs – can take to improve the health and well-being of ourselves, employees and everyone around us.  

As humans we have a certain limit of endurance. For employees who are already under a lot of pressure, overwork can prove to be fatal both for their mental and physical health. If these issues aren’t checked on time, then it could give rise to various chronic illnesses too. And all of these directly affect their productivity and decision-making skills at work. 

Small business owners can, and do, play a powerful role in improving the lives of their employees through a variety of actions – from innovative and new ideas to simple steps such as encouraging more activity and regular breaks. Well-being at work can support increase productivity, improve staff performance and reduce absenteeism.  

In 2019/2020, 828,000 workers were suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or long- standing) and almost half of UK, 45% say their workplace does not have anything in place to help with stress or support for their mental well-being. Woman endure this statistically more than men as show on the graph above. There was also a report released by Woman’s Day in January 2020, right before the start of the pandemic. The report included findings from a survey that polled women about their attitudes on mental health in the workplace. The survey showed that 54% said they felt they “couldn’t discuss mental health at work without fear of stigma or discrimination – even though 74% felt they should talk about it.” Finally, 81% of respondents said they had never talked openly with their managers about their own or a family member’s mental health struggle. 

How improving the health and well-being of the workplace will help your business thrive: 

  • Boosted productivity 
  • Lower rate of absenteeism 
  • Improved physical and mental health 
  • Better commitment and motivation 
  • Attracting the best talents. 
  • Higher retention rates. 
  • Improved work-culture. 
  • Enhance  employment engagement and more 
  • Decreased Employee Burnout Rate 

I have aimed to set out a range of practical ideas you can take when you’re busy dealing with the incredibly tough job of running your business…

Talk about work

As a business owner, it’s important to talk to your employees about their work and what you can do to make it more manageable. This can provide opportunities for professional development, learning or mentoring, while also giving employees a chance to raise issues regularly. Regular one-to-ones, or lunchtime catch ups can be a great way to build trust and a relationship between you and your staff. 

Talk about mental health

Stigma around mental health remains a big issue – we need to work together to tackle it. Take a lead in your business and talk about it with your staff. Raising awareness and promoting open conversations about mental health can increase staff engagement and help breakdown prejudice. This can help staff feel more comfortable speaking about issues affecting them sooner. Try to make people feel comfortable approaching you about these issues

Train up

Line managers can play a big role in making staff feel valued and well supported. We all need help sometimes and ensuring you feel motivated and encouraged is no different – try and explore different types of line management, well-being and conflict management training. 

Let there be light

Improving our exposure to natural light can have a positive impact, increasing our productivity by 18%, and our work rate by 23%. For businesses that are office based, rotating seating location so employees can share window desks and having walking meetings are two easy strategies which can increase light exposure. For small businesses operating in factories and other workplaces where natural light can often be limited, there might be possibilities to increase natural light through skylights or making sure the shared break space is located somewhere with windows.

Two wheels are better than four 

Cycle to work schemes are a simple way to motivate your employees and promote a healthy, active commute. Cycling is the third most popular recreational activity in the UK with an estimated 3.1 million people riding a bike each month. The scheme allows employers to provide a loan for bicycles and safety equipment, such as helmets, as a tax-free benefit. Employees will typically save between 31% and 48% of the retail cost of bikes and accessories. Schemes like this not only improve the well-being of your workforce, but also help reduce environmental pollution and can save you and your employees’ money. This can really stand out as attractive to potential future employees, as well as retaining current ones. 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,”- Benjamin Franklin