How to improve physical, mental and financial wellness at work
Wellbeing influences every area of our lives, and has become a focus during these challenging times, as organisations look to support and retain their employees. What I have found is that companies that are trying to tick a box when it comes to employee wellbeing aren't giving it the attention that it deserves, and employers can broaden their perceptions of what 'wellbeing' means to proactively support their people in a number of different ways. In the UK, 42% of businesses have reported having reported that an employee has left the company due to lack of mental wellbeing support in the company. We like to define employee wellbeing as within three pillars of physical, mental and financial. Let's walk through some more examples of how you can improve your wellbeing strategy to give your employees the support they need:
|1. Empower employees to take care of their physical health|
|2. Put the spotlight on mental health awareness and provide support|
|3. Give a boost to employees' financial wellbeing|
Empower employees to take care of their physical health
Paying attention to physical activity may seem easy enough, but it’s an area we often neglect when tasked with many other things in our work and personal lives. Taking care of your body is not only important for your physical health – it can also reduce stress levels, improve productivity and help your mental health in general. It’s important to give employees the time and tools to work on their physical health, so that they can receive all of the benefits that being active offers. Here are a few examples of how companies have focussed on employees’ physical wellbeing:
Mondelēz is a Reward Gateway client who struggled with wellbeing during the pandemic, and wanted to take steps to improve the physical health of its 2,000 employees working across Australia and New Zealand in the production and sale of chocolate and candy. When the pandemic started, HR leaders worried about the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees, and decided to put the spotlight on wellbeing to increase productivity.
Along with its employee engagement platform, which offered tools to improve mental and physical wellbeing, the company decided to engage its frontline employees, as well as those working from home, with a step challenge. The team called the challenge 'The Amazing Pace,' and it helped to connect employees to each other and to the business, while also improving their physical health.
Here at Reward Gateway, we’ve also put a stronger emphasis on physical health. During lockdown, we added an option for a wellbeing break and encouraged employees to take a step away from their desk and do a physical activity – take a walk, do some yoga, etc. Many employees took advantage of this opportunity to improve their physical health, which was shown through the walking emojis that frequently appeared next to employees’ names throughout internal messaging. Employees were further encouraged to participate in taking a break, as there was a challenge for the best photo taken on a walk and people were excited to share these photos with each other. Here are some of the photos RGers shared from their walks:
We've also just announced new wellbeing gifts for RG employees, including a monetary reward for all employees, the book benefit and boom!Bootcamp:
Put the spotlight on mental health awareness and provide support
Along with physical health, mental wellbeing is extremely important during these times, as it is predicted that nearly 10 million people in the UK will need mental health support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers can help their employees improve their mental health not only by starting an open dialogue around mental wellbeing, but also by giving employees the tools and support to take their wellbeing into their own hands. Here are two examples of Reward Gateway clients who have focussed on employees’ mental health:
Amtico, a manufacturing company with 500 employees, used its Reward Gateway platform to achieve company-wide wellbeing goals. Through its wellbeing portal, Amtico gave employees unlimited access to four key areas of wellbeing – Move, Munch, Money and Mind. In the Mind section, employees can find resources to help with meditation, stress relief, anxiety and much more. Learn more about Amtico's engagement story here.
Here is what Lisa Tite, who runs Payroll and HR Systems at Amtico, has to say about their wellbeing hub:
During the pandemic, we’ve seen a massive increase in wellbeing. That was something we didn’t really have centralised before, whereas now people have access to these things without having to ask HR about it. If people want help, they don’t always want to go ask for it and it gave them a way of finding it themselves.
Causeway, a technology company with roughly 200 employees, struggled with wellbeing prior to the pandemic. Although the company already had a robust wellbeing offering, survey results showed increased levels of stress and anxiety among employees. The team took measures to improve employee wellbeing and mental health through several methods – increased communication of benefits and services, education around mental health and open conversations around personal difficulties. The team saw their success when new survey results revealed that 90% of employees believe that the company genuinely cares about their wellbeing and absence decreased by 35%. Read the full story here.
Give a boost to employees’ financial wellbeing
The final way employers can help employees during these times is by improving their financial wellbeing. According to a recent study by Nudge, 52% of employees worry about money each week and 66% feel that their employer doesn’t support their financial wellbeing.
This means that if you can help your employees with their expenses, whether with everyday purchases or with something special, it will go far to increase their disposable income and improve their financial and even mental wellbeing.
Ashford Borough Council, a company in the public sector with 440 employees had to find ways to do more with less in the midst of budget cuts, in order to help them meet their objectives of recruiting and retaining their key talent.
The organisation decided to put in place employee discounts to meet the needs of all generations since we all love and need to save money. They called this benefit 'My Ashford Rewards,' and have already seen the difference it has made in the lives of employees with £1.5m being spent through My Ashford Rewards, £156,000 saved by employees through employee discounts, and 82% engagement with the platform despite an increasingly offline workforce.
These are challenging times for everyone, but employers have an opportunity to show employees that they care about their wellbeing. By using one of these methods and providing employees with the systems and support they need, leaders can make a difference in employees’ lives. Get in touch with us to learn more about how to support employees’ mental, physical and financial health.