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How important is Wellbeing in the workplace?

We spoke to Zach Fairbanks from Wellbeing in Your Office to discuss the importance of focusing on wellbeing and how businesses can start to implement the practices into their businesses to improve employee overall mental wellbeing.  

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How important is Wellbeing in the workplace?

We spoke to Zach Fairbanks from Wellbeing in Your Office to discuss the importance of focusing on wellbeing and how businesses can start to implement the practices into their businesses to improve employee overall mental wellbeing.  

Bringing wellbeing into the office 

During both their careers, Zach, and his partner, Gosia, have experienced difficulties in the workplace and witnessed colleagues suffer due to the mis management of stress within these environments.   

Reflecting on his career, Zach explains “At the start of my career, I worked both in hospitality and sales, both of which can be very stressful industries.”. Unfortunately, because of this, Zach burnt-out twice in his career, which in turn led to illness. 

Looking into practices to help support with recovery, Zach began the practice of Akido – a Japanese non-competitive martial art that embodies practice of mindfulness.  

“I then found Yoga and meditation which I could practice with more frequency and formally qualified in Mindfulness Meditation with Mindfulness Now at CECCH” says Zach.  

Gosia currently runs her own part-time business as a Yoga teacher called Yoga in Your Office, which led to both collaborating to bring Mindfulness, Movement and Nutrition into one model – expanding to become Wellbeing in Your Office.  

“We are passionate about helping people in the workplace thrive and helping businesses improve their profit through the wellbeing of their team.”

Are we burning out?   

Following a recent study – Cigna 360 Well-being survey – Gen Z and Millennials are starting to evaluate their life priorities compared to pre-pandemic. The study also shows “98% of Gen Z experiencing work burnout symptoms.”  

As referenced by the BBC, research is now showing that Gen Z is the most stressed compared to the other demographics.  

So how important is it that businesses ensure they are implementing good wellbeing practices to support their workforce?  

“It makes complete business sense to ensure that a team has the opportunity to be well in the workplace as this will retain team members, reduce sickness and presenteeism, increase productivity and improve a team’s inter relationships” highlights Zach.  

When we are stressed, it can become harder to take on new ideas and people may get less involved in something new. Which in turn could make it harder when implementing new resources or policies. 

There can be some challenges, one being participation in wellbeing training. Many of these sessions are typically held over lunchtime in employees own time and often not compulsory. “We believe, that if a business is serious about wellbeing and there is enough evidence to be serious about wellbeing, then training sessions should be paid in company time and compulsory” explains Zach.  

Along with compulsory training on a new product, GDPR and health and safety, it could be seen that wellbeing sessions should be treated in the same way. This helps to reach those who may not have initially booked on to a non-compulsory training and who could benefit largely from these sessions.   

How to implement in your business 

When a business looks to implement a policy or process the benefit the cost or sales in a business, you need to first ask “what is the impact on the team?”. Are there any negative impacts on the team and if there are, how can you work to mitigate these and reduce the impact.  

An example on this, explains Zach, is that “some businesses have started to make wellbeing as a KPI. Most KPI’s will drive behavior and so having this as a focus is a great way to ensure the team look after themselves both in and out of work. This can be directly linked to bonuses or simply part of the job.” 

So how can you implement effectively? 

Whether you are a large, medium, or smaller business, the biggest positive effect on implementing a wellbeing strategy comes from the business owner. Demonstrating, through their actions, the culture of wellbeing from the very top. With this in mind, a few things businesses can do is: 

  • Be clear on no emails/communication after 6pm on weekdays or on weekends.  
  • Be proactive rather than reactive – training for employees on how to take care of themselves. 
  • Develop a 12-month plan of activities to train, highlight and advise team members.
  • Be honest with yourself and ask ‘are we helping teams to build resilience in their workplace and life stress or are we sometimes adding unnecessarily to their stress?

Additional good practices can include making sure wellbeing is included in every 1-2-1 meeting managers have with their team.  

Using visual aids around the office could also help with keeping wellbeing in people’s minds on a day-to-day basis. Whether this is keeping flyers and posters around the office, e-flyers in internal communications or asking team members if they would like to become wellbeing champions.  

If you are interested in further information or discussions around wellbeing, you can find out more from Wellbeing in Your Office directly by visiting their webpage wellbeinginyouroffice.com

Want to access funded support and advice on well-being? Higher Level Skills Match offers regional SMEs access to free funded upskilling workshops – find out more.

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