The importance of nurturing your employee’s wellbeing

In this guest article, Danni Rush, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Incentives, Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Experience Gifts, discusses the importance of nurturing your employee’s wellbeing.

The long-term effects of the pandemic, the Ukraine-Russia war and the cost-of-living crisis have left employees feeling stressed both at work and at home. Now more than ever is a time for businesses to look after their employees’ wellbeing.

Many business leaders have stepped up and adopted practices that help to support their employees. Whether it be work-related stress or not, providing support for employees during challenging times is a key sign of a good employer and one which is invested in their people.

How challenging times impact employees’ wellbeing

The pandemic forced most of the world into mandatory lockdowns and the renowned working from home guidance was enforced. It became harder for people to switch off as an ‘always on’ work culture emerged, continuing post-lockdown amid a long-term increase in remote working. This has led to many employees experiencing symptoms of burnout, reported by 69% of workers

Alongside the pandemic, the 24-hour news culture, amplified by social media, may also be affecting employee happiness – in particular as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine and subsequent refugee crisis as well as the rising COVID-19 infection rate. As of March 7th, TikTok videos tagged with #ukrainewar had been viewed more than 600 million times, and almost 180,000 Instagram posts have used the hashtag.

Employees may also be worried about the cost-of-living crisis. It’s been reported the average family will be £1,000 worse off per year. It would be naïve to assume this is not also taking a toll on your employees’ mental health and their productivity, with 36 percent of millennials admitting recent money worries are impacting their work performance.

Importance of nurturing employee’s wellbeing

If employees find their worries and anxieties are starting to impact their work, these factors could indirectly impact business performance. Business leaders that understand this link and actively strive to help their employees should reap the rewards. And with the ‘great resignation’ in full swing, it’s even more important that employers go the extra mile to retain their best talent.

Secondly, the pandemic, the 24-hour news cycle and the increasing costs of living are all factors that could lead to employees feeling overwhelmed and eventually burning out. Employers that understand this and adopt a holistic approach to tackling burnout will be the ones that have a happier, more productive workforce.

Practical ways to prioritise wellbeing

So, what are the practical steps employers can take to nurture their employee’s wellbeing? One way is to offer employees a wellness day, or free subscriptions to wellness apps so employees can use these as and when they’d like.

Introducing a series of wellbeing-related seminars and activities for employees to attend during the working day is another way to prioritise your employees’ happiness. This will help to reduce their non-work-related anxieties, including potential stresses around finances or concerns around physical health. Hosting talks on health, finances, relationships, and mental wellbeing as well as offering yoga or meditation classes will equip employees with the tools to tackle some of their stresses head on, ultimately leading to them being happier overall. Such perks show employees their mental wellbeing is being accounted for and prioritised by their employer

Alternatively, business leaders could consider different ways to help distract their employees from life’s anxieties. Hosting team bonding days, where people are encouraged to participate in fun, activity-filled days out with their colleagues is a short-term solution. Employers should also consider rewarding employees more frequently for their hard work. While a gift card or day out may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, it’s little thoughts such as these that will make your employees feel valued and cared for during challenging times.

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