6 min read
Let’s face it, we’ve all been affected by stress at least once in our lifetimes. The end of financial year is a notoriously busy and stressful time for many businesses, so now is the ideal time to hit the pause button and help your employees recharge their batteries.
It’s key to let your employees know you’re dedicated to improving the employee experience and you care about their overall wellbeing.
If we really want to foster more productive, engaging and profitable organisations, we should always strive to make the workplace a comfortable and inviting environment throughout the entire year (and beyond!). I've been luck that to work for an organisation that's really committed to improving mental wellbeing at work – being part of the Culture Team and the having our Level Up team lead initiatives has really helped me see the impact this can have on team morale and productivity.
Last year, my colleagues in our UK office discovered they shared a keen interest in proactive mental health management. Having experienced a variety of mental health experiences between them, they wanted to use their journeys to help others and so the UK Level Up team was born. They shared their mission with our global offices, and the support has been phenomenal.
The first challenge was to open up conversations about mental health, and we had some amazing stories come out of my fellow colleagues about their own struggles and triumphs over managing grief, depression and more.
Through our employee engagement platform, employees shared brave stories with the entire organisation to raise awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace – helping to build a community of empathy and empowerment. They also created a Slack channel for this initiative to keep the conversation going throughout the entire year.
These activities have increased my empathy and understanding for the wider business. But Reward Gateway isn't done just yet. Here are a few other ways to improve wellbeing at work, with a special focus on mental health:
Create an engaging environment
Stress doesn’t only affect your employees, it also affects your business as a whole. The Australian Human Rights Commission reported that 25% of Australian employees take time off each year for stress-related reasons, and stress-related workers’ compensation claims have doubled in recent years, costing over $10 billion each year, according to a study by Medibank Private.
Stressed employees are more likely to burn out, which means they’re not engaged, motivated or productive.
So, how can we create an engaging environment where employees feel less-stressed and less-overwhelmed? Here at Reward Gateway, we fully embrace flexible working arrangements – this could mean working from home, working different hours or shifts, or working part-time – giving your employees that extra hour of sleep they need to be productive.
We work with our employees to find a solution that meets the needs of both their job and their personal life.
These are tailored individually to help relieve their stress and help them be more productive. Our policy on flexible working is simple: Just ask your manager for what you think you need, and agree upon it.
When you trust your employees to get their work done in a way that works for them and create opportunities for work-life balance, they’ll come to work the next day feeling more motivated, refreshed and productive.
Provide the right resources
Do you talk about stress at work? Do your employees feel like they can openly and honestly communicate about stress? It’s crucial that we provide the right resources to our employees to help them feel supported, especially during times of uncertainty or stress. To help, the Experience Managers in our different offices make adult colouring books, affirmation cards, and books on stress management and mindfulness practices easily available on "stress shelves".
We also encourage our employees to visit our wellbeing hub on boom!, our engagement platform, where we’ve introduced the “Level Up lounge,” where we offer “Level Up” buddies to offer a supportive ear, helpful videos, a recommended list of books around personal wellbeing and more.
Each of these elements play a role in helping employees feel less-stressed at work. Our clients who use our Wellbeing Centre have the opportunity to deliver engaging content for all pillars of wellbeing — mental, physical and financial.
If you’re unable to create a stress shelf, establish a reading or video nook or an area where employees can go and take a few minutes out of their day to hit the recharge button. Sometimes a sunny window seat is all we need.
Another employee benefit we offer globally to our employees is a wellbeing allowance. Each quarter, employees choose to spend their allowance on a wellbeing initiative of their choice – whether it’s a gym membership or meditation classes.
This focus on physical, financial, mental and emotional wellbeing helps employees stress less and focus on their own health and happiness.
Respect individual preferences
Everyone has different preferences and handles situations differently, which is especially true in the work environment. Here at RG, we want our employees to feel like their individual preferences matter – especially when it comes to our office design.
Our offices around the globe are open, collaborative and agile in design – meaning employees have the freedom and choice to move around each day and pick the spot that’s ideal for them.
To combat stress in the workplace and build a culture of collaboration, it’s important to first understand people’s communication and work style preferences.
It’s key that our offices have spaces for every individual’s needs – with quiet spaces for being heads down, open areas for collaboration and plenty of meeting rooms. We encourage our people to work the way they want to.
Knowing that you can come into the office each day and have a space designated for the type of work you need to do is one less thing for employees to worry about and helps our people be more productive.
Build a community of empathy
Each day is different and you never know what another person in your office is going through outside of work. Our Experience Managers and local Culture Teams are tasked with job of bringing our people together and create a positive experience for RG employees.
Sometimes we need to put ourselves in others’ shoes to understand how we can best help and practice empathy for others.
Mental health isn’t something to shy away from at work – instead talk about and embrace it. Being flexible and practicing empathy are the keys to a profitable organisation because your employees and your business will benefit from higher productivity and engagement.
What next step will you take towards helping your employees recharge their batteries?