It’s no controversy that UK employers have a duty of care to provide a safe workplace and follow health and safety legislation to the letter, but this consensus hasn’t yet extended to psychological safety at work, despite the recent massive upswing in discussion of workplace wellbeing.
I would argue that the majority of employers still don’t take wellbeing in the workplace all that seriously.
Why is that?
Where traditional conceptions of health and safety are well understood, there’s something about the concept of workplace wellbeing that still strikes many as wooly and vague.
Some industries, particularly male dominated ones, demonstrate a certain amount of discomfort with engaging with the emotional aspect of employees’ lives, as it is perceived to be out of place in their particular line of work and existing work culture.
Another problem is that there is a whole swathe of employers who ‘get it’ – who understand that the wellbeing of their workforce matters – but they just don’t know where to start… so inaction follows.
Whenever I’m working with businesses who not only ‘get it’ but are also living the importance of workplace wellbeing, the difference is palpable. There’s a pride and a buzz and a feeling of belonging.
Things that get championed in workplaces like this:
- flexible working
- staff social engagement
- preventative training
- timely support &
- coaching culture…
…have been shown time and again have a transformative effect on employee experience.
Having a management culture that is comfortable to share experiences and curate conversations about mental health is another critical element in creating a culture where wellbeing at work matters.
For the skeptics who feel that the personal and the professional should be kept separate, or that wellbeing at work in some way undermines professionalism and could even inhibit productivity, all they need to do is take a look at the business case.
Current research strongly indicates that attending to wellbeing at work benefits organisations across the board: performance, productivity, innovation, loyalty, brand reputation, retention and attendance all gain.
There’s nothing touchy-feely about that, is there?
None of us know what the future of the workplace will look like. The world is changing at a dizzying speed.
Whatever changes are to come, one fact will remain: happy people are more motivated than unhappy people. They are more adaptable to change.
Stronger employees make for a stronger business, always.
That’s why recognising wellbeing at work matters and why it is vital for any organisation that wants to succeed.