Emails pinging in ’til midnight, early morning breakfast meetings, stress-related absences and higher targets than ever before. It’s no wonder that work stress is putting pressure on employees’ mental health and their work/life balance is suffering as a result. Workplace wellbeing is one of the most important factors in modern adult life, as salaries and titles are not enough to ensure employees deliver results and achieve their full potential. The modern employee wants to be rewarded for great work done and operate in an environment that responds positively to their needs.
Every employer across Ireland has an obligation to help foster better workplace wellbeing procedures. From staff days off to initiatives, free fruit to yoga sessions, there are a wealth of options out there to help create a better workplace. However, for small and medium enterprises with fewer staff members, it can be daunting to set aside substantial budget for staff wellbeing, so here are five cost-effective ways employers can create a better work environment.
1. Engage in Open Conversation
Your employees need to trust you and know they have direct lines of communication in order to best perform at their duties and achieve the company’s targets and goals. If they are feeling closed off from management, uninformed, ignored or spoken down to it doesn’t necessarily foster positive working practices, does it? Organise weekly or monthly ‘clinic’ sessions or drop-in hours with your staff where they can chat openly about the company, their position, their goals or even just to get to know their management better. Include your staff and talk to them, after all you make time for prospective clients and customers but how often do you check in for a chat with your staff? This is a cost-free option, but if your time is precious remember the value your time could give to employees.
2. Encourage Stand-Up!
You can organise a comedy improv evening with your colleagues if you like, but we’re talking about the act of physically standing up. In an effort to encourage workplaces to be more active, there’s nothing simpler than standing up to get the blood flowing, heart pumping and make small steps towards better physical health at work. Organise walking meetings in the local park every week, where you discuss a client’s proposal or an upcoming project whilst doing a lap or two in the fresh air. Or why not install standing desks or high tables in communal areas of the office where teams can meet and discuss plans and ideas whilst upright. There can be lots of positive benefits and health improvements over time with this one small improvement.
3. Insist on The Full Hour
We’ve written before about the importance of Reclaiming Your Lunch Break and making full use of the hour allotted for lunch each day. Employees eager to impress or get mountains of work done are slicing their hourly lunch break in half to maximise their working time. In some companies it’s considered faux pas to take a full hour as the dining al desko or ‘nipping out and straight back in’ culture takes hold. Be the employer who is the antidote to this. Insist on your staff using their fully allotted time as a rule – watch your employees’ productivity go up, absenteeism go down and job satisfaction climb higher and higher with your helpful attitude, which comes at no extra cost.
4. Provide Free Fruit to all Staff
It sounds like a no-brainer – and of course, it’s the service we offer – but offering fresh, natural and energy-giving foods that are at arm’s reach seriously impresses staff and sets the right attitude from middle to upper management. Showing that you care about employees’ nutrition and energy levels, fresh fruit is a low-cost, healthy option that offices can take on board quickly and simply, our cheapest delivery begins at just €20! By providing snacks and fruit free-of-charge, your staff recognise that you’re trying to give back and support their health and happiness.
5. Incentivise your Staff with the Best Benefits
What makes somewhere a great place to work in Ireland? It’s a combination of the job, the people, the setting and and the benefits offered. So lead by example and outline some great staff perks to joining your company. Not only will you help decrease staff turnover, you’ll also attract top performers in their fields as your reputation for wellbeing and satisfaction at work spreads. Organise a cut-price staff rate at the local gym, have food trucks park up every Wednesday afternoon for a mid-week lunch perk on your dime, begin employee of the month awards, organise twice-yearly staff away days at adventure retreats. There’s really no limit to the creativity and though some activities will cost in the short-term, the long-term benefits will be evident. Treat your staff well and they’ll treat you well in return – you’re all in this together, after all.