Supporting Wellbeing & Integrating Healthy Habits into the Workplace
By Pauline Mei-Ling Williams, Director (Atrium HR Consulting)
Over the past few decades, there is probably not much difference in terms of the workplace environment, apart from, of course, the advancement in technology and workplace systems. However, over the past few years, especially considering the last three years, if you now walk into an organization’s office, no matter where you are in the world, you will see some, although somewhat simple changes, which are having a huge impact and influence on not just how we work, but also on the type of environment we are working in.
Workspace – Influences our Development and Wellbeing
Creating a positive and engaging workplace environment is crucial for employee satisfaction and productivity. Design elements play a significant role in achieving this goal. Organizations can create spaces that foster collaboration, interaction and personal growth.
For example, incorporating breakout pods or bespoke seating areas allows employees to work in small groups or have private discussions. Hot desks provide flexibility and encourage employees to interact with different team members. A company “café” or social area with comfortable seating allows for relaxation and informal conversations.
Some organizations even include unique features such as a stage area for creative and musically talented employees to showcase their skills. These design elements empower employees to be themselves, share their ideas and build connections with their colleagues.
Creating a safe space for open conversations about mental health and wellness is also important. By normalizing discussions about these topics, organizations can reduce stigma and provide support to employees who may be struggling. This can be achieved through dedicated spaces for wellness activities, such as meditation or yoga rooms, or by hosting workshops and seminars on mental health awareness.
Overall, designing a workplace environment that promotes engagement, inclusivity, collaboration and wellness can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction, performance and overall organizational culture.
Office Pantry – Our Fuel Promotes Energy Efficiency
To encourage healthy eating in the office pantry, there are several steps that can be taken:
1. Offer a variety of healthy food and drink options: Provide a range of options that cater to different dietary preferences and restrictions. This can include fresh fruits, vegetable sticks, salads, whole grain snacks, gluten-free and vegan options. Offer a selection of dairy and non-dairy milk alternatives, as well as natural fruit juices.
2. Stock up on water: Ensure that there is a constant supply of clean, filtered drinking water available in the pantry. Consider providing both still and sparkling water options. Encourage employees to stay hydrated throughout the day by promoting the benefits of drinking water.
3. Promote healthy snacking: Educate employees about the benefits of healthy snacking and provide options that are both nutritious and satisfying. Include protein-rich snacks like low-fat Greek yogurt, nuts, and seeds, as they can help reduce hunger pangs and boost mood and energy levels.
4. Create a positive food environment: Make the pantry area inviting and comfortable, with designated spaces for eating and socializing. Consider incorporating natural light, plants and comfortable seating to encourage employees to take breaks and enjoy their meals.
5. Provide education and resources: Offer resources and information on healthy eating habits, portion control and balanced nutrition. Consider organizing workshops or inviting nutritionists to provide guidance on making healthier food choices.
By promoting healthy eating and drinking habits in the office pantry, the organization demonstrates its commitment to employee wellbeing. This can lead to increased engagement, improved productivity, reduced absenteeism, and enhanced retention rates. Additionally, it sends a positive message to potential new talent, showcasing the organization as an attractive place to work.
How can Leadership Support Wellbeing in the Workplace?
Leadership plays a crucial role in supporting employee wellbeing in the workplace. Here are some ways that leaders can promote and support wellbeing:
1. Lead by example: Leaders should prioritize their own wellbeing and model healthy behaviours. This can include taking breaks, maintaining work-life balance, and practising self-care. By demonstrating these behaviours, leaders set a positive example for employees to follow.
2. Foster a positive work culture: Create a work environment that values and promotes employee wellbeing. Encourage open communication, collaboration and respect among team members. Recognize and appreciate employees’ efforts and achievements to boost morale.
3. Provide resources and support: Ensure that employees have access to resources and support systems that promote wellbeing. This can include employee assistance programs, mental health resources, flexible work arrangements and wellness initiatives. Leaders should communicate and promote these resources to ensure employees are aware of them.
4. Encourage work-life balance: Promote a healthy work-life balance by setting realistic expectations and encouraging employees to take breaks and time off when needed. Discourage a culture of overworking, and support employees in finding a balance that works for them.
5. Prioritize mental health: Create an environment where mental health is prioritized and destigmatized. Encourage open conversations about mental health and provide resources for mental health support. Offer training on mental health awareness for leaders and employees to increase understanding and empathy.
6. Support professional development: Provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop both personally and professionally. This can include offering training programs, career development opportunities, and mentorship programs. Supporting employees’ growth and advancement can contribute to their overall wellbeing.
7. Regularly check-in with employees: Engage in regular one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss their wellbeing, workload, and any challenges they may be facing. Actively listen to their concerns and provide support or resources when needed.
By prioritizing employee wellbeing, leaders create a positive and supportive work environment that fosters engagement, productivity and overall satisfaction.