How to Improve Health And Well-Being in The Workplace

Investing in employee well-being goes beyond fostering happiness and retention – it also makes sound business sense. Because when employees are genuinely satisfied and engaged in their work, they naturally perform at their best, resulting in improved business outcomes and a healthier bottom line.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” strategy to improve health and well-being in the workplace, as every organisation and its people are unique. But here are 10 ideas to help boost corporate health and well-being.

1. Foster a Work-Life Balance

Better well-being for staff begins with encouraging a healthy work-life balance. You could promote flexible and remote working, encourage time off and breaks, support personal commitments, and offer up time to pursue passions. Anything that will help your employees to juggle the responsibilities of work, home life and family – while helping them to fulfil their dreams and potential – will be greatly received in a hectic modern world.

2. Make Mental Health a Top Priority

Poor mental health can affect 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives and impact employee wellbeing (CIPD). This is why well-being programmes for employees, such as an employee assistance programme (EAP), are a great way to support your staff and reduce long-term absenteeism. This benefit usually includes face-to-face, telephone or online counselling and practical advice on issues that might be impacting your people’s personal life and work performance.

3. Encourage Flexible Working 

There has been a seismic shift in attitudes towards working practices since the pandemic, with 90% of job seekers saying remote working is a top priority (HRD, 2022). So offering flexible work arrangements – such as remote work or flexible schedules – is a sure-fire way to increase motivation and attract and retain talent.

4. Recognise Hard Work 

Recognising hard work is essential for making staff feel motivated and appreciated. The easiest way to recognise someone’s hard work is to say “thank you” – whether it’s to their face, on a handwritten note or publicly in a “town hall” meeting. It might sound simple but the relationship between gratitude and work engagement shouldn’t be underestimated. Then of course there are more tangible rewards, which could be anything from Champagne Fridays and gift cards to investing in skills training, like a CIPD programme.

5. Invest in Career Development

Employees who feel supported in their professional growth tend to be more engaged and satisfied at work. You can offer training, mentoring opportunities and implement career development plans to help staff upskill, pursue their career dreams – and feel valued within your organisation.

6. Offer Wellbeing Workshops

Well-being workshops can empower employees to take charge of their health. You could offer sessions on yoga, nutrition, stress management, mindfulness, mental health awareness – and anything else that might help to bring your employees’ lives into balance.

You could even go the extra mile and bring in on-site chair massages. Who’s going to say no to Massage Mondays? Such gestures offer a thoughtful approach to the well-being of staff, showing that you care about more than their productivity.

7. Promote Physical Activity

According to the NHS, exercise is “the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for”. It can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer – and lower the risk of early death by up to 30% (NHS). This is why more and more organisations are promoting physical activity and exercise as part of the working day.

Gym membership is the most obvious way to promote physical health, but many ideas exist – from lunchtime running clubs and walking meetings to the Cycle2Work scheme.

8. Create a Sense of Community

Since humans are wired for connection, it’s no surprise that most of us want sociable, fun and supportive work environments. There are a variety of ways to create meaningful connections between employees – from volunteer-together days and book clubs to after-hours events and peer-coaching programmes. Not sure what your people want? Just ask.

9. Include Employees in Decisions

Making employees feel genuinely heard is vital to the success of any organisation. Not only is employee voice a fundamental right, but it also helps staff to feel valued and trusted, more satisfied in their job – and empowered to drive their career in the right direction. It’s also healthy (and smart!) to involve staff in decision-making, as they’re some of the best people to comment on ways to improve operations. 

10. Nurture a Culture of Creativity

Edward De Bono once said, “There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns”. Yet creativity is often not taken seriously enough at work.

While there are many ways to foster creative thinking in your workplace, you might want to upgrade the atmosphere to make it more stimulating, create more opportunities to brainstorm – or promote collaboration and fresh thinking between teams who wouldn’t normally mix. You could even arrange creative days at art galleries or museums to get your team thinking differently.

There are hundreds of wellbeing programmes for employees but for them to gain real benefit and momentum, they need to be integrated throughout an organisation, and instilled in its culture and leadership.

Nilesh Jha