Nine initiatives to support wellbeing in the workplace

By Robert Half on 2 April 2024
Estimated Read Time: 6 minutes

We’ve all heard the stories about global corporations whose office environments are like playgrounds for adults. Companies that offer everything from free food to pet-friendly offices, in the name of boosting employee well-being and productivity.

These cases may have seemed like fairy tales once upon a time, but today, they serve as case studies for businesses big and small.

Given that we spend one third of our lives at work (that’s right - 90,000 hours over a lifetime), it’s critical that we feel safe, secure, and satisfied.

This is further compounded by the fact that approximately 1 in 7 people in Hong Kong will experience a common mental disorder at any given time. With such conditions weighing heavily on employees, employers play a pivotal part in promoting greater well-being and alleviating some of the burdens that may stem from stress, sickness, and overwhelm.

While many Hong Kong businesses are introducing some valuable initiatives, there is certainly scope for more. In this article, we’ll explore nine well-being in the workplace ideas that can make a sizeable difference in creating a happier and healthier environment for all.

Why Well-being?

According to advice from the World Health Organisation, a wealth of data demonstrates that in the long term, companies that promote and protect workers' health are among the most successful and competitive, and also enjoy better rates of employee retention.

Jessica Yeung, Associate Director at Robert Half and specialised financial services recruiter, couldn’t agree more. She says, “Candidates don’t want to work for a company, they want to work for a culture. This starts with a focus on well-being. Well-being initiatives are a major drawcard for employees today - not only will it get them in the door, it will get them to stay.”

If you’re stuck on well-being in the workplace ideas, never fear! We’ve got you covered with our top tips below:

1. Encourage creativity

Overly restrictive rules and processes can impede the creativity of employees, reducing well-being in the workplace.

By giving workers a little more autonomy and creative licence, you may be able to boost productivity and employee morale, helping to increase output in the long run.

2. Clear out your old IT

Have your employees been using the same tired PCs for as long as you can remember?

If so, an upgrade may be well overdue.

The rapid pace of tech innovation means the latest devices are much more powerful (and functional) compared to those launched just a few years ago.

Equipping your employees with web-enabled tablets, smartphones, and other devices, can allow them to maximise their potential (while eliminating the frustrations that come with slow, outdated tech).

3. Promote greater employee health

Healthy employees are much more likely to be happy ones. They are the individuals who you can count on to turn up for work and put in a good shift.

When you are workshopping well-being in the workplace ideas, stop and consider if there is anything you can do to boost the physical and mental well-being of your staff.

Initiatives that prioritise physical and mental well-being, will help to ensure that employees have the tools to thrive and work effectively.

Some examples include:

  • Subsidised gym memberships
  • Complimentary healthy snacks
  • Cycle-to-work schemes
  • Free health screenings vTeam health challenges/competitions
  • Ergonomic work stations
  • Free counselling services
  • Stress management workshops

4. Embrace flexibility and balance

A workplace centred around work-life balance can yield significant well-being benefits for employees.

Strategies like flexible work arrangements, empower employees to design a schedule (within reason) that can provide greater flexibility and balance. By implementing policies that discourage overwork and encourage a healthy work-life balance, employees are better poised to feel happier, more satisfied, and less susceptible to burnout.

Be smart about your working model and consider offering things like:

  • Flexible work hours
  • Remote work arrangements
  • Condensed work weeks
  • Flexible personal days
  • Mandatory lunch breaks

Related: How to have work life balance in internal audit

5. Foster positive connections

Culture and connection should always rate highly on your list of well-being in the workplace ideas.

With so much of our time spent at work, it’s imperative that we feel comfortable, confident, and content. If employees feel isolated or intimated, it’s hardly surprising that their output would be hampered.

Social connections foster an enriching employee experience by strengthening employee engagement and overall well-being. Similarly, a positive workplace culture helps to boost morale and a collective sense of belonging.

Create a warm and welcoming workplace through initiatives like:

  • Team building activities
  • Social events
  • Cross-department projects and collaboration opportunities
  • Open communication channels
  • Recognition of employee achievements (don’t be afraid to reward positive contributions)

Whatever you choose to do, always seek to create a workplace identity that is built on trust, respect, recognition, and collaboration. Trust us, it will go a long way in helping your employees to excel.

Related: 5 ways to help your staff have work-life balance in Hong Kong

6. Remove negative influences

Are there people within your team who are a negative presence in the office?

It could be a workplace bully, an ineffective manager, or someone who simply isn't up to the job.

Consider the ways that you can combat these problems, initially through a performance review and staff training. If you are unable to encourage a behaviour change, there may be grounds to deliver an official warning.

Treat these situations holistically, paying close attention to how the wider workplace is impacted.

7. Be more efficient

Don’t be afraid to conduct an efficiency audit!

Do meetings run on too long without actually delivering anything of value?

Does your organisation spend too much on overheads and office supplies?

Are employees duplicating work?

Look at ways to help your organisation work more efficiently. Consider streamlining systems and processes to simplify your employee’s day-to-day experiences, making their work more meaningful.

8. Develop career pathways

Jessica warns that lack of progression opportunities is a big risk to employee well-being. She says, “Employers run the risk of losing their employees to other organisations if their career becomes stagnant.”

When it comes to well-being in the workplace ideas, providing professional development opportunities is one of the most effective. Harness employee growth and development through training programs, mentorship opportunities, and skill-building workshops.

Empower employees to expand their skills and pursue career advancement, enhancing job satisfaction and engagement.

Jessica believes that supportive leadership is pivotal. “Strong leadership sets the tone for a growth-focused workplace culture. Managers who can check in regularly and provide constructive feedback will go a long way in helping employees to flourish.”

9. Employ the right people

Are you hiring the right people?

Do your new recruits stay with your organisation for a good length of time and actively participate? Or, do they simply do their job until they have the chance to move on?

Working with a recruitment agency such as Robert Half can make it easier to identify the candidates who are the perfect match for your organisation - not just in terms of skills and experience, but also personality and values.

Acquiring the right talent will go a long way in establishing the right culture, one that’s conducive to health and well-being.

Are you looking to find the right talent for your business? Our experienced team of talent specialists can help.

While these wellbeing in the workplace ideas are a great starting point, it’s always worthwhile to invite suggestions and feedback from your employees. Jessica concludes, “Your employees know your organisation best and will be able to give you the greatest insights into how it can become an even healthier place to work. Use this feedback to identify areas of improvement and tweak your well-being initiatives accordingly. Remember, when employees feel seen and heard, there is a greater chance they’ll feel safe and satisfied.”

Prioritising employee well-being is a strategic imperative in 2024. With the right initiatives in place, businesses can cultivate a positive work environment that allows employees to grow and thrive. At a personal level, these initiatives help to boost their well-being, while at a professional level, they have a greater capacity to contribute to organisational success.

If you’re seeking advice on any workplace issues within your business, our experienced team of management specialists can help.

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