In today's fast-paced and demanding work environments, the importance of employee well-being cannot be overstated. Recognising this, companies are increasingly understanding that well-being should be an integral part of their organisational culture and performance.
In our recent event on supporting the well-being pillars - Mental, physical, social, and financial—our guest speakers, Caitlin Rozario, co-founder of Interlude, and Will Turner, CEO and co-founder of GOJOE, shed light on the significance of integrating well-being into the way we work. They shared their observations, experiences, and insights, revealing the transformative power of prioritising well-being for both individuals and organisations.
The Tangled Web of Well-Being:
Caitlin and Will delved into the challenges faced by many companies when attempting to promote well-being initiatives. They noted that despite investing in various programmes, organisations often struggle with low engagement and participation.
It became clear that scattered resources and poor communication played a significant role in hindering the success of these initiatives. Companies introduced some great initiatives, but employees didn’t know about them or weren’t in a position to make the most of them.
“I worked at another company where we had a golden time. It was like 10% of your time should be used doing personal upskilling, but then it was an agency and there was so much work and they just kept bringing more clients in, that everyone was like, "Golden time”. And it became a net negative because everyone was like, "Oh, we have a golden time”.”
One of the crucial points Caitlin and Will stressed was the need for companies to recognise the interconnected nature of well-being and overall performance. Well-being should not be seen as a separate entity but rather as an integral part of employees' work lives. By neglecting well-being, organisations risk undermining productivity, motivation, and employee satisfaction.
A Tale of Two Approaches:
Let me share a short story about two contrasting organisations to highlight the impact of their well-being practices.
Company X, lacking a holistic approach, offered a few well-being programmes scattered across different departments, these inititives didn't have a dedicated lead. While the intention was noble, employees found it challenging to navigate and engage with these resources due to poor communication. Feedback about the inititives wasn't actioned because there was no capacity to improve them. As a result less than 5% of the organisation accesses the offering.
In contrast, Company Y took a different path. They recognised the need for easy access to well-being resources, and created a dedicated well-being team and portal, bringing leadership on board to be the advocates and early adopters.
The portal became the heart of the organisation's well-being activity. Maintained by dedicated full time wellbeing leads, supported by leadership and internal comms. They were able to support the different business needs and help evolve the offering to one that really made a difference to peoples lives.
Higher engagement, happier people, and a more positive work culture!
How can you unlock the secrets to successfully integrating well-being into your workplace culture?
“Everyone knows you're in a bit of a rut, and then you go to the gym, for a run, or do whatever you want to do for a week or two, you suddenly feel great, it's just how do you sustain it?”
Leadership support and role modeling
Firstly, cultivate leadership support. Leaders must champion well-being initiatives and emphasise their importance to create a culture that prioritises employee well-being from top to bottom.
Communication is vital
Secondly, remember, communication is key. Transparent and effective communication is vital for engaging employees in well-being activities. Clear messaging, regular updates, and encouraging participation can foster a sense of connection and motivation.
Easy to access
In addition, establishing an easy to access well-being portal, like Company B, can streamline access to resources, making it easier for employees to explore and engage with well-being programmes. Taking away the difficulty of discovery and access.
Consider a seasonal approach
Lastly, consider a seasonal approach. Recognise that your employees go through different experiences based on the seasons and business cycles. At the end and beginning of the year, things are spinning up, and people are overwhelmed with the amount of work going on. Caitlyn and Will highlighted how having flexible offerings that cater to seasonal and business cycles can help employees tap into what they need when they need it.
What types of things might you include in your well-being offering?
Now you have some ideas on how to make your well-being offering successful. What might be part of your offering?
Therapy is one of the best things a company can offer for employees to use how and when they want to.
‘Therapy is one of the best things a company can offer - it can have such a positive impact’
Encourage employees to take regular breaks to support their mental and physical well-being. Through interlude, Caitlyn has seen how breaks transform team connection and wellbeing. Breaks suited to your mood and what you might need that day are powerful.
This could be workouts, yoga, stretching, mindfulness, meditation, breath work, affirmations, writing, art, and cooking.
Social physical challenges
Team based activity challenges can motivate employees to be more active. Through GOJOE, Will has seen people improve their consistency and be able to push themselves more than compared to similar activities on their own. The social element is very fundamental to who we are as humans.
Spaces that help employees reduce stress, recharge and reflect are needed in the working environment. Spaces that offer privacy within the workplace that are designed for relaxation and rejuvenation where employees can retreat and recharge.
This will be welcomed by all employees but can transform the day for neurodiverse employees or anyone experiencing increased pressures at work or at home.
Promote a culture of well-being that values mental health by integrating rest sessions.
The narrative shared by Caitlin and Will underscores the transformative power of integrating well-being into the way we work. Take care of your employees well-being, and they will take care of your company.
By recognising the impact of well-being on employee performance and creating an environment that supports holistic well-being, organisations empower their employees to bring their best to work.
Effective communication strategies and easy-to-access resources are needed for employees to make the most of what's on offer.
We should all be working towards a happier, healthier workforce.