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Five powerful health and wellbeing initiatives that could transform your workplace

By Angela Knox | Jul 27, 2020



The relationship between employee wellbeing and company performance is incontrovertible.

Health and wellbeing initiatives, not so long ago maligned as unnecessary HR fluff even by some of the country’s most substantive businesses, are now rightly understood to be essential to turnover, staff retention and prosperity.

But just because health and wellbeing initiatives are important, they aren’t necessarily easy to employ effectively.

You need to work out which measures would be most transformative in your workplace - because if you really nail it, the long-term benefits could be profound.

So why are health and wellbeing initiatives in the workplace so important?

The rationale is straightforward: your employees are the company’s most valuable asset.  This is a fact that is often too easily put to one side or forgotten.

If your staff don’t feel valued because you’re overworking them, providing them with suboptimal working conditions or aren’t looking out for their physical and mental health, your business will pay a heavy toll. Operating like that is simply unsustainable.

On the one hand, you have a duty of care to every individual in your employment.

It goes without saying that they deserve respect, as well as a workplace and working life that are not unduly stressful.

On the other, looking after your employees is a major money saver. According to a major study* by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, low wellbeing is strongly associated with increased employee absenteeism.

It is also one of the primary reasons workers quit their jobs altogether, forcing management to spend extensive time and money on recruitment and training.

What’s more, research from Gallup** has demonstrated that companies with higher levels of employee wellbeing significantly outperform those competitors who allow health and wellbeing to take a backseat.

Vitality’s 2019 Healthiest Workplace study found a strong positive correlation between participation in workplace health and wellbeing initiatives and productivity.

Once you realise the sheer scope of the benefits afforded by implementing health and wellbeing initiatives in the workplace, you open up a whole new realm of team cohesion strategies which are fun, fortify morale and engender community spirit and camaraderie.

That’s why today we’re going to be checking out five highly effective health and wellbeing initiatives for your workplace that could seriously transform turnover and office life!

Just remember to introduce initiatives gradually. Allow time for employees to get used to their new routines and wellbeing regimens. If something isn’t quite working, there’s no harm done—you can regroup and try something else.

It’s all about trial and error, gathering feedback and staying positive! After all, if you don’t genuinely believe in these initiatives, why would your staff feel any differently?

1) DJ duties

Research *** conducted by PRS for Music, the UK’s leading copyright collective society, has found that music without lyrics and played at an ambient volume can significantly boost workplace productivity and employee creativity.

You can have a lot of fun with this one, by delegating the role of DJ to a different employee every afternoon.

Not only does this initiative inspire great work, but allowing individuals to take the helm with the afternoon’s soundtrack is also an amazing way of cultivating a sense of belonging.

2) Walking meetings

Employees spend enough time as it is sitting at their desks, so why not combine fresh air, a good stretch of the legs and an important catch-up into a single pleasant and energising activity?

Whether it’s a walk around the grounds or just a quick 10-minute stroll to the canteen for coffee, walking meetings are not only stimulating and revitalising but are also likely to inspire creativity and novel problem solving, according to researchers at Stanford.

Plus, how much less formal and stressful is a wholesome conversation in the sunshine compared to a formal face-to-face dialogue in a stuffy boardroom?

And with the Keep Fit module in our employee wellbeing programme, there is a whole video channel devoted to exercise routines for desk-bound employees designed to be completed inside the office – workers can do these every day to maintain their fitness, especially useful on days when walking meetings are prevented by bad weather.

3) Mindful Mondays

Stress is a guaranteed way of sapping happiness, wellbeing and productivity. According to a report by the American Institute of Stress, a staggering 80 per cent of employees experience acute workplace stress at one time or another, and just under half the US workforce would like more support from management in ameliorating their stress.

One highly effective way of addressing employee stress is introducing some form of mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness involves greater focus on and heightened appreciation for the present, helping people pull away from pernicious negative thoughts and concentrate instead on what’s good in the here and now.

A weekly mindfulness session could be just what the team need in order to boost productivity and inspire creativity.

Doing this on a Monday in particular can prove a fantastic way to kickstart the week. Mindfulness Monday could even be as simple as the team sitting quietly first thing in the morning listening to a guided meditation.

There is a complete mindfulness course in our membership portal, including video and written material, so anyone at any level of seniority can benefit, and dip in and out throughout the week.

4) Stress circle

A stress circle - or perhaps an anti-stress circle, depending on your perspective - is an innovation supported by no less an authority than the American Psychological Association.

Set aside some time every week - a Friday afternoon, say - for people to discuss their worries, concerns and anxieties in a judgement-free space.

Employees can benefit from different perspectives, ideas and solutions, as well as from a sense of real oneness with their colleagues.

And once you’ve got the ball rolling with this one, it might be worth taking a step back and letting staff take the lead.

Regardless of your relationships with your employees, the presence of a managerial figure in the group may hamper precisely those raw and honest discussions for which the stress circle was set up in the first place.

5) Consider switching to a more casual dress code

This initiative may seem more radical and profound than some of the other suggestions here, but hear us out.

Research has shown that less formal attire in the workplace can help employees feel more comfortable and relaxed.

This can galvanise boosts in performance. It’s also important not to conflate the idea of casual dress with poor presentability.

The same study found that 78 per cent of workers would still pride themselves on scrubbing up well for work—they just might switch the suit for a teeshirt, the heels for pumps.

One change could be all it takes

There is nothing leftfield about the initiatives we have discussed today, yet all without exception have been demonstrated by swathes of research and there are powerful benefits when deployed sensitively, astutely and incrementally.

That’s also why we developed Keep Fit Eat Fit as a complete digital wellbeing programme suitable for any size and type of business.

Our diverse solutions are easy to deploy and can serve to dramatically bolster your employee health and wellbeing initiatives, helping you slowly - organically - build an inspiring workplace, and a workforce who are resilient, productive and committed.






Angela Knox

Angela Knox

I am a co-founder and director of Keep Fit Eat Fit Wellbeing Ltd and have come from a business and marketing background over many years, with a particular interest in everything to do with health, fitness and overall wellbeing. Having worked in offices for decades, I know the pitfalls of too much sitting at a desk, the challenges of fitting the gym around other commitments, and all the issues addressed within our website. The personal experiences of me and my partner Mark were the original inspiration for the concept of this website. Enjoy!