Brighton Chamber: Improving wellbeing in the workplace

Dr Jelena Goranovic
Dr Jelena Goranovic

Stress and burnout are caused by factors both in and outside of work, but their effect on business is significant. Stress-related absences cost the British economy almost £6.5 billion each year.

By identifying causes of stress and tailoring your wellbeing programme to target them, you can achieve measurable results.

We’ve created five actionable tips to ensure that employees aren’t just present, but happy, healthy and productive.

1) Encourage engagement

Distractions lead to stress for individuals as well as employers. Discuss the importance of checking phones, emails and social media at set times, allowing teams to truly get in the zone. Offer meaningful challenges that appeal to employees’ individual strengths and genuinely excite them to push forward. Communicate with coworkers about why their work matters to them, and ensure they see real results.

2) Build relationships

Stress affects team dynamics, with tensions arising as different employees respond differently to stressors. On the flipside, positive communication between team members can reduce overall stress. Encourage teams to dedicate part of each day to working together, recognising each other’s individual strengths. Not only does this build closer relationships, it also affords employees some social, creative time away from their screens.

3) Establish values

The average employee spends eight hours a day in the workplace - this can lead to feeling cut off from the bigger picture. Help employees give something back by introducing charitable drives as part of workplace culture. Whether this is dressing up for donations or getting hands-on in the community, charity action will spark conversation about what really matters to employees.

4) Reward excellence

Work without recognition quickly leads to demotivation. Ensure that employees’ individual talents are recognised and celebrated across the working week. Whether this is a matter of setting small goals and celebrating their completion, or publically recognising coworkers’ contributions in weekly meetings, a little appreciation goes a long way.

5) Incorporate variety

People who sit down for long periods have a 14 per cent greater chance of cardiovascular disease and are more prone to depression than those who move around at work. Incorporating movement into the workplace routine can have immediate and lasting effects on employees’ health and happiness. Invite a restorative yoga practitioner to teach simple exercises, or enforce regular breaks as a time to stand up, stretch out and share ideas.

Dr Jelena Goranovic is the Co-Founder and Programme Director of Sussex Wellbeing Company. She is leading a Bite-sized Learning: tackling stress in the workplace 14 June. For more information about Brighton Chamber training and networking events please visit {http://www.businessinbrighton.org.uk|www.businessinbrighton.org.uk