When you grow your business and take on staff, you are also taking on a duty of care. The wellbeing, morale and motivation of your employees is important, not just from an ethical perspective, but as the foundation of happier, more productive business. If you want to grow a thriving company, then taking care of those who put the work in should be a constant priority. Everyone wants to be part of an ambitious workplace where their wellbeing isn’t just paid lip service, but is an integral part of strategy. Put the time in and you’ll quickly see the benefits – and with the cost and hassle of recruitment it should be an aim to keep staff turnover low as well. But if you’re new to managing people, where do you begin with keeping them happy and healthy?
Where it used to be swept under the carpet, mental health is finally being given the attention it should rightly command, and the national conversation about it is much more open – so employers need to be on the same page. Work can be a trigger for a range of issues such as chronic stress, anxiety and even depression, so proper training and support is essential to stop small incidents developing into something more serious and to encourage workers to proactively monitor and manage their own stress levels. Be aware of people’s workload and encourage things such as outdoor activity, lunches taken away from desks, a social scene outside of work and a good work-life balance. Special training in supporting mental health is also a great idea in any business.
Look After Employee Physical Health
The other side of the equation, of course, is ensuring that employees are looked after in a physical sense. If you operate a warehouse or have machinery, then PPE equipment and health and safety rules need to be strictly enforced at all times. If it’s more of an office environment, you may think that there aren’t many dangers, but there are plenty of health risks to be found in sitting stationary at a desk for most of your day. Try to encourage practices like holding walking meetings, taking regular screen breaks and DSE training so that people are setting up and using the equipment on their desks properly. Make sure you are also offering regular eye tests and encouraging people to stay hydrated and move around every thirty minutes of so.
Offer Flexible Working
If you work in a project-based environment and are still clinging to the old working culture of presenteeism, then things need to change. In order to both attract and retain the top talent, and also keep your workforce happy, flexible working is becoming standard in most workplaces. Encouraging a choice of working hours and the option to work from home where possible is important, as well as allowing people to take varied lunch breaks so that work fits a little better around the other commitments and passions that they have in their lives. Setting out a fair system that allows a little freedom has been shown to increase employee motivation, loyalty and productivity, so it’s usually a win-win situation.