Stressful days come and go, and it’s true that some weeks are better than others. Overall, though, a workplace should feel safe for employees. They should feel heard, seen, and comfortable to share their voices.
This is the foundation for creating well-being in the workplace. Ideally, there should be an innate sense of belonging with an organization. After all, your office is made up of people from numerous backgrounds and experiences all trying to co-exist and be productive. The organization is what brought them all together in the first place.
Let’s talk more specifically about the ways in which we can create a culture of well-being at work. I’ll touch on several key topics and share my ideas about what a healthy workplace culture looks like.
What is Well-Being in the Workplace?
Well-being in the workplace goes beyond employees simply feeling happy, or even satisfied, in the work that they’re doing. Well-being means that each individual is accepted for who they are and also respected for the hard work that they contribute. People are trusted with assignments and recognized for their achievements.
Well-being at work can also come in the form of respecting people’s work-life balance. If people feel pressured to put in exorbitant amounts of time at the office to the exclusion of their family and hobbies outside of work, it’s likely to increase stress and possibly decrease accountability.
Basically, people want to be treated as more than worker bees. They want to have meaningful relationships at work, feel like what they’re doing has a purpose, and be treated like complex individuals.
The question that remains is, how do we meet these expectations and create a workplace that cares about its employees’ well-being?
1. Create Awareness and Provide Resources
All people experience some form of stress throughout the courses of their lives. This stress can manifest itself through serious mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
Make sure that employees can recognize the signs of stress leading up to potential burnout and know how to speak to their colleagues about mental fitness in the workplace. They should also have resources about where to go if they’d like to seek out help.
This knowledge can come in the form of monthly training, during which employees are actively encouraged to engage and speak freely about their experiences. Keeping the conversation open for such discussions will help people feel valued and cared for.
2. Encourage Camaraderie in the Office
Just as people should feel safe to be themselves while at work, they should also feel comfortable creating office friendships. According to a study by Office Vibe, 70% of employees agree that having friends in the office is the most important factor for having a happy work life.
Humans are naturally social and typically want to make connections. However, rigid productivity policies can hinder employees’ ability to do so. That’s why it’s important to engage with colleagues in a positive and helpful way. People will feel more engaged with their work while also feeling less stressed.
It’s important to note that collegiality in the workplace does not have to mean creating connections with people outside of the workplace. Rather, it’s a way of finding someone that you can count on and speak to in a personal or professional manner.
Don’t try to force relationships simply for the sake of the business. Instead, allow friendships to grow naturally by letting everyone feel comfortable with who they are.
3. Allow People to Set Their Own Goals
As much as possible, people should be given the autonomy to set goals and create schedules on their own terms. While this may not always be a possibility for every workplace situation, giving individuals as much freedom as possible will make them feel more engaged in their work and give them the room to excel.
Employees should feel able to speak with their supervisors about what they want to achieve and in what time frame in order to ensure that these goals line up with the values of the organization. The goals should be written down and checked on regularly to ensure the employee is sticking to their schedule and taking active steps toward their achievements.
The same goes for schedules. Employees should be given the opportunity whenever possible to communicate their preferred schedules and make sure that they are doable for the organization and will help projects stay on track.
4. Encourage a Culture of Well-Being
Sometimes, wanting to create well-being in the workplace comes with giving people the space for well-being. Things like personal or mental health days give individuals the time to rest and recharge before coming back to work to perform their best. Work-from-home days are also an excellent way to take some of the stress out of the work week.
It’s also important that offices have the flexibility to accommodate employees with medical appointments, whenever possible. This may not mean taking a full day off from work, but being willing to be flexible for employees who may need to come in late or leave early.
A workplace needs to show employees that their health, both mental and physical, is the most important aspect to a well-functioning organization. Encouraging employees that are ill to take the day off is another way to accomplish this.
The bottom line is, people want to be treated with compassion and understanding. If an organization is able to accomplish this, employees will reward them tenfold.
Making sure that people feel safe to do their best work within the workplace is key to well-being. Creating a culture for this will increase the quality of the work employees are doing, as well as increase retention rates.
Well-being in the workplace is something that’s too important to ignore. If you think your organization could benefit from discussions relating to this topic, please set up a meeting with me. I’d love to give you the information you need to allow your employees to thrive.