“Wellbeing”… is it a buzz word or something to stay?
By Giles Keay on 02 February 2018
Wellbeing is a phrase being used heavily these days and perhaps slightly too much… so what is it and what is it all about?
The time of businesses to just expect their staff to turn up on time and be paid for their work and expect them to be satisfied has gone. There is now a much larger expectation by employees to be provided a certain level of support and guidance that encompasses far more than just their role.
Wellbeing is defined by the World Health Organisation as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” And, in the Collins Dictionary as “the condition of being contented, healthy, or successful”. These definitions correlate directly to Wellbeing in the workplace and highlight what the ultimate goal of all employees and employers should be for every staff member in the business…. Including the companies leaders!
So why is it needed?
Today we are faced with a world that is moving at such a fast pace that many people don’t have time to stop to take a breath. The cost of living is so high that it is rare for families to juggle at least two full time jobs and childcare/schooling, and on top of that, the social media we are all subjected to hourly portrays lives that are perfect (or so we are led to believe) only increasing the pressure for us to have equally as perfect fulfilling lives and therefore never stopping!
Technology is adding to the pressure in that if it is used incorrectly it can have an extremely negative impact on an individual. Rather than providing flexibility for work and social engagements it can make you contactable and connected 24/7. Meaning that if you don’t manage it correctly you never get to switch off!
Many of us have had moments when things have seemed impossible and challenging in different aspects of our lives. I have seen first hand how these situations can seriously impact someone’s ability to focus and deliver in their role at work and then the detrimental effect it can have not only on themselves but also the business and very often their colleagues.
Why is it so important for the Infrastructure, Built Environment and Resources sectors?
Our specialist industries are some of the most pressured in the world focused on meeting strict time and budget parameters. It is this that can put a huge strain on the team working on a project causing many to have to work long hours to meet these deadlines often having to miss out on time for themselves and family. It is not unusual for a large proportion of staff raising issues of overwork as a primary factor when seeking a new job and opportunity and their questioning around support and workload will be high on their list of priorities for any new company.
It is not a new concept either to realise that employees who are happy and in a state of wellbeing will always be more engaged and have a higher level of productivity than those who are not. If you wish to ensure a high level of retention of staff, then this is the first place to look before considering anything else.
So how do we ensure employees are in a state of Wellbeing?
Each business is different in respect to what resources it has or how its structure can affect their ability to implement different schemes however, it is important to realise that much of creating the right work environment can be free or very cost effective. Everything you do from creating a flexible environment, gratitude for work completed well, recognition, training and development and ensuring structure so everyone has purpose can be straightforward to commit to.
Some schemes that may incur costs to the business such as using external consultancies to assist with EAP’s (employee assistance programs) is surely a small price to pay to ensure that an employee is in a positive mental state.
It is important to communicate within a business, both up and down, and for colleagues to be aware of each other and notice when things are not going so well for others. This level of communication and listening can be vital support within a company.
Implementing schemes that work
A strategic wellbeing program needs to be tailored to an organisation, many will not work as they are too generic and are merely ticking a box. It is crucial that the MD/CEO and senior members of the team show and demonstrate the desired behaviours making it part of the DNA and culture of the organisation.
As the founder and owner of constructive I have always had a very strong focus on our own staff and ensuring the highest level of support but have recently taken a huge leap forward and launched a brand-new initiative focused on our employees and their ongoing health and wellbeing. Our “peoplefirst” initiative covers all areas of;
- Health & Wellbeing
- Career & Personal Development
We are leading from the front in the recruitment industry and truly believe that by providing these initiatives our employees will attain higher levels of productivity and longevity with the company.
The feedback from our employees since the launch has been fantastic and we are excited to see its ongoing success.
We have utilised the services of an expert consultancy, Select Wellness, to outsource and provide these services to our business which we have found to be extremely successful and seamless.
So, will it stay?
I personally believe that Wellbeing is no buzzword although finally we have a phrase to bring it to the forefront, this is a fundamental issue for many and if you are a manager in a business take heed, there are many businesses in the market who are embracing this change and you do not want to be left behind.
If you are an employee in a business, make sure your voice is heard if the support is not there and if you need support yourself never be afraid to ask for help.