Why Wellbeing Should Be Your Top Priority in 2021

Emily Benwell
by: Emily Benwell
After the year we’ve all had, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little fragile. It’s been tough and, although a vaccine is being rolled out, I think we have a good few months until we return to some form of normality.
So, with that in mind, when it came to picking our new year’s resolutions for 2021, the Foundation team thought it was important to put the wellbeing of ourselves, our colleagues, and clients at the top of the list.

What is Workplace Wellbeing?

‘wellbeing’ is a multifaceted term which is used to describe healthy contentment:

 “A state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

World Health Organisation

When it comes to the workplace, wellbeing should be taken very seriously be employers to ensure healthy and productive staff that feel valued and supported, which in turn produces the best possible outcomes for the organisation.

Wellbeing is Now More Important Than Ever!

With the current state of the world, it will come as no surprise that ‘wellbeing’ as a term is at an all time high. However, without interpersonal interaction and access to physical amenities, it is also one of the trickiest times for maintaining wellbeing.

With much of the country working from home, we’ve had to adapt. For some this means turning a dining room table into a makeshift office, for others this means also playing teacher and home-schooling little ones, and sadly for others this has meant separation from their nearest and dearest.

According to research by the Office for National Statistics, our happiness and anxiety levels have improved since the start of lockdown, but our life satisfaction and feelings that the things we do are worthwhile have remained low since March 2020.

Young women aged 16 to 24 are reportedly one of the hardest hit groups with fewer ladies reporting very high life satisfaction, happiness, and very low anxiety.

However, ‘wellbeing’ has been a growing hot topic since before the pandemic:

‘Workplace wellbeing’ has also been on the rise over the last five years:

And, we now have many digital wellbeing tools to help us. From virtual reality therapy and mindfulness apps to mental wellness wearables and online medical services.

But how can you do your bit to improve workplace wellbeing? Learn more about employee wellbeing initiatives and ideas you can implement for the year ahead, below.

Our Top 5 Workplace Wellbeing Ideas for 2021

1. Put Yourself First

We were brought up to put others first and help those in need, however, how can you raise others up if you are in need yourself? Self care is very different to being selfish. It builds resilience and is an antidote to stress, meaning it helps us cope with challenges better.

So, make sure you’re taking regular breaks, take annual leave even if you have no plans, regulate your working hours, and make sure you have a pleasing workspace which is supportive and clutter-free.

Or, if you can, take a leaf out of Huda Beauty’s book and introduce ‘Self Love Days’.

Estée Lauder Companies have also asked their staff to ‘Press Pause’ and take an afternoon off to relax and recharge, with the intention being to “engage with their own mental health & wellbeing through activities that make them feel happier” says Chris Ashford-Reid, VP of Tom Ford Beauty.

2. Come Together… Digitally

You may speak to members of your team on a daily basis, but do you really chat? Are you aware of what is going on in your colleague’s or staff’s lives outside of work? Do you collaborate on anything beyond the usual 9-5 tasks?

If you answered “no” thrice, it may be time to shake things up, take an afternoon away from your inbox and do something fun together. Try a team building activity like a digital escape room or simply organise a takeout meal for everyone to enjoy and catch up over Zoom.

Katja, Director at Vichy/Skinceuticals says, “as the Social component is the factor being most at risk within remote times, Managers should offer a maximum amount of face-to-face social interactions. Gallup research found out that the average human being feels the most at ease when having 6h/day social time. [Social interactions] builds resilience and as such efficiency.”

L’oreal’s magnificent example was hosting a virtual Secret Santa. Clément posted this to his Instagram using the #LifeAtLoreal hashtag of his HR team enjoying a Christmas catch up.

3. Improve Your Flexibility

Stress can affect the quality of work, so make life easier for yourself and staff wherever possible and you can avoid the sudden work environment changes from derailing company performance.

For some that will mean having the ability to work flexitime, for others this could include distance working from a new location, and a few may switch their upskilling plans to digital training rather than in-person learning.

“One 2020 development I’d love to keep going? Flexibility for remote work. Flexible stretchy pants are a close second” says Tina Shim, Global Brand Marketing Manager of Unilever Prestige.

4. Create Wellness Action Plans

Every new year, millions of people make resolutions, so why not encourage your team to outline how they would like to improve wellbeing at work throughout the next 12 months?

Ask each member to create a personalised WAP and to share this with you. No, this has nothing to do with Cardi B – instead we’re referring to a wellness action plan (W-A-P).

This is a document that highlights what elements of work an individual enjoys, areas or actions they find stressful or would like support in, and outlines practical, proactive steps to ensure all employees feel their mental health is supported.

We love WAPs as they can be particularly helpful if people are not good at verbalising concerns or issues, or are working from home. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) encourages an open dialogue between management and workers, which may not happen otherwise.

Everyone loves a compliment, and it really does pay to praise. So, if you’re looking for employee wellbeing ideas, this is a really simple place to start.

Don’t only thank staff when they complete a task, but compliment them on their great work, consider introducing an ‘employees of the week’ email round-up which highlights the great work that is being done within your organisation, and try to remain positive.

These actions don’t take much effort but can really boost an individual’s self-esteem and provide ample motivation to keep up the good work.

Let’s Talk About Wellbeing!

If you have any top tips about maintain mental and physical wellbeing, we’d love to hear them. Equally, if you’d like to speak to someone impartial about your workplace wellbeing, we’re always here to chat. So, get in touch with us over on Instagram and Twitter.

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