The importance of creating a workplace culture that incorporates health and wellbeing is a high priority in many forward thinking companies.
If your employees are working 24/7 they can’t be any good; because nobody can be good at what they do if they are working 24/7. If an employee is at their desk at 7am but only 65% present, it is better if they are at their desk at 9am and are 100 percent present.
“Our workplaces are fuelled by sleep deprivation…the current model of success, in which we drive ourselves into the ground, and work to the point of exhaustion…is not working”, says Arianna Huffington.
In 2013 Arianna Huffington was named on the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. She revolutionised news in 2005 with the first online-only newspaper The Huffington Post, later selling it to AOL for $350million while remaining editor-in-chief. She is also a bestselling author of 13 books. Changing attitudes away from the workplace macho culture of stress is Huffington’s mission.
Recent studies have explored the value of organisational wellbeing programs and have found them to be linked to reduced stress levels, lower absenteeism, high job satisfaction and increased productivity.
In 2005 American company Safeway offered its employees incentives to lose weight, control their blood pressure and reduce their cholesterol levels. It was a huge success. CEO Steve Burd stated “You allow and encourage your employees to become healthier, they become more productive, and your company becomes more competitive”.
Safeway’s wellbeing program is like many of the programs organisations worldwide are currently investing in. These programs generally target health and behaviour modification (which have been identified as two key areas which may contribute to the development of future health issues). Programs tend to vary but typically cover stress management, time management, workload and health.
Such programs have been proven to decrease turnover and sickness related absence, increase employee engagement increase rates of customer satisfaction and ultimately increase an organisation’s overall profitability.
Workplace wellbeing programs are becoming more widespread as companies acknowledge the importance of investing in their employees’ health.
One of the oldest sayings in the book is that ‘employees are an organisations most valuable asset’. In a similar vein, as employees are made to feel more valued by their organisation, they will have increased productivity and performance levels.
At The Huffington Post Arianna has instilled the phrase ‘unplug and recharge’. In just the same way we must plug in our devices to recharge them, we need to unplug ourselves in order to recharge.
There are various ways to promote wellbeing in the workplace. Ideas for promoting workplace wellbeing can be as simple as providing educational material such as providing information about walking and cycling routes – and encouraging workers to include some physical activity in travelling to and from work; establishing lunchtime regenerative activities such as yoga or a walking group; teaching employees how to effectively manage stress and build resilience; promoting workplace civility by learning to effectively manage difficult conversations, resolve conflict and build positive working relationships.