In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly shook the world and its effects on businesses, as well as the people in the workplace, will be felt for years to come. Following the challenge of adapting to the requirements of remote working brought on by nationwide lockdowns, employers are now faced with another problem – implementing adequate workplace health and wellbeing practices to make the return to the office as safe as possible.
With the Coronavirus here to stay in one form or another for the foreseeable future, the workplace has to evolve to protect employees not only physically but also mentally. Below we’ll explore eight things that you, as an employer, can do to turn your business into a healthy workplace in 2021/2.
Why are workplace health and wellbeing important?
Reportedly, 1 in 4 people in the UK suffers from physical health problems and 1 in 5 – from mental health issues. This results in a staggering 42% of employees admitting that they have a health condition that affects their work performance. This poses a serious concern for employers and makes it more important than ever to understand the true impact of employee wellbeing on your business.
Implementing policies related to workplace health and wellbeing is the foundation of building a positive safety culture in the business which, in turn, is believed to increase job satisfaction and motivation. According to a recent study by Oxford University, happy workers are 13% more productive in the workplace. So, by keeping your staff happy and healthy you are also investing in the future of your company.
8 Best Workplace Health & Wellbeing Practices to Implement in 2021/2
Undoubtedly, many of the workplace health and wellbeing solutions to look into in 2021/2 are influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we get used to the fact the virus is likely something we will have to live with for years to come, staff returning to work in the office may require additional reassurance to feel comfortable in the workplace again. This, however, doesn’t mean that you have to scrap your existing employee wellbeing programme. Rather, you should adapt it to reflect the new circumstances. Here are our 8 ideas on how to achieve that.
- Keep it clean: The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone a lot more aware of the importance of cleanliness in the workplace and that’s a good thing. Proper office hygiene is something that should never be neglected. Even before the pandemic, studies had estimated that over 10 million bacteria live on the average office desk. In addition to this, cleanliness at the workplace has been found to have a significant impact on employee wellbeing and productivity. So, you should not hesitate to invest in top-to-bottom cleaning with high-quality cleaning products.
- Organise Regular COVID-19 Testing: Coming out of the habit to work alone can be difficult for many people. Having been constantly surrounded with information about the dangers of the virus, how easily it spreads and how keeping ourselves isolated protects us and those we love, it’s only natural to feel uncomfortable coming into a busy work environment day in and day out. As an employer, you can reassure your employees by offering regular COVID-19 testing to ensure that those who are at work do not have the virus. Corporate COVID-19 testing can also be useful if the nature of your business involves travel, so your employees feel safe when making work trips.
- Enable workers to get vaccinated: Adding a vaccination programme to your employee health and wellbeing strategy is not a novel solution but it is definitely one that’s in demand as a result of the pandemic. If you have previously offered free flu jabs to your employees, you may be able to offer the same service for the 3rd COVID ‘boost’ vaccine which is expected to be introduced gradually from the end of 2021 across the UK. Supporting vaccination is one of the most effective ways of preventing an outbreak at the workplace.
- Support better work-life balance: Work-life balance has always been a pillar of any successful workplace health and wellbeing programme. With 73% of employees placing flexible working as one of the main factors for job satisfaction, you should consider amending your policies to allow for that if it’s not already in place. In the post-lockdown environment, flexibility may extend to allowing employees to work from home either full time or on select days of the week. This will help ease the transition back to office life for those who had benefited from working remotely in 2020. At the same time, those who prefer working from the office will have the opportunity to do so ensuring that everyone enjoys equal work-life balance standards.
- Offer Regular Health Checks: Certainly, COVID-19 will continue to be in the focus of employee health concerns for a while. However, we should not forget that there are many other health problems that can and do affect people in the workplace. A good way to ensure that your staff take the time to pay attention to their own wellbeing is to provide essential health checks as an employee benefit. The negative impact of diseases such as cancers, as well as serious neurological, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions can be significantly reduced if they are diagnosed and treated early on. This is why it’s important to undergo regular health checks to identify the early signs of any underlying health issues.
- Support Mental Health & Wellbeing: Millions across the world have suffered loss and serious illness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Paired with forced isolation, financial strain and job insecurity, 2020 has been a difficult year, to say the least. The stress accumulated over the last 12 months may easily transfer to the workplace. The return to work can be challenging in many ways, from feeling anxious about contracting the virus to worrying about job performance and adapting to a lengthy commute to work. As an employer, you can’t afford to ignore the warning signs. It’s important that in 2021/2 you make an effort to establish an open line of communication and a safe space for your employees to talk. In addition to that, you should consider adding mental health perks, such as consultations with a specialist, to your existing employee wellness programme.
- Be the face of change: Creating a positive health and safety culture begins at the top. Business leaders are expected to lead by example and demonstrate an active interest in workplace health and wellbeing, rather than just talk about it. From taking a health check yourself to encouraging employees to seek mental health support and implementing a flexible working policy, the actions you take will make or break the success of your entire occupational health strategy.
- Listen to your employees: Last but not least, make yourself available for your employees, whether they want to share a concern or suggest another way of improving your workplace health and wellbeing policy. This will not only give you an invaluable source of information about the real pain points in your workplace but it will also make your staff feel valued and understood creating a healthier relationship between people at all levels of the hierarchy.
How Midland Health can help
Midland Health is a private healthcare provider with clinics in key locations across the Midlands, including Birmingham and Leicester. We offer flexible corporate health packages tailored to your specific business needs. Some of the services we provide include health and wellbeing check-ups, private GP service for employees and COVID-19 testing for businesses.
To discuss how we can help you improve your workplace health and wellbeing in 2021/2, give us a call on 0333 772 1999 or send us your query at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you, as soon as possible.