A year of stress, isolation and disruption has left workers feeling disconnected – and looking to their companies to lighten the emotional load. A recent report by Oracle reveals that ‘76% of people believe their employer should be doing more to protect their mental health’.
It’s a task worth taking on. Investing in staff health and happiness delivers all the obvious benefits, plus a range of broader business returns too including boosts to productivity and improved attraction and retention of talent.
But what if you’re a small to medium-sized firm with limited funds and resources? Caring for colleagues doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming – and it doesn’t require a team of highly trained experts. With a focused approach and the right support, you can make a measurable difference to your staff’s physical and mental health, whatever your size.
Here’s how to get started:
Recruit your Champions
Most companies – even big corporates – rely on loyal volunteers to drive their wellbeing programmes. Send out a call for passionate people with an interest in helping others and developing their skill set. You might also sweeten the deal with occasional incentives such as vouchers, duvet days or an early Friday finish! Depending on your setup, try to designate a rep in each department, then appoint one or two people to co-ordinate efforts for the entire organisation. If you can also offer mental health first aid training to a number of volunteers, it’s money and time well spent.
As your team of Wellbeing Champions grows, lean on them to shape strategy, capture ideas, brief managers, launch and maintain initiatives and drive adoption throughout your business.
Set your goals
With helpers in place, you can collectively define the aims of your wellbeing activities. Considering the five pillars of wellbeing keeps things in balance, ensuring your ambitions drive business targets – such as increased employee engagement, loyalty or team morale – and nourish personal needs too.
Back in 2008, the government’s Foresight Challenge Report outlined five basic behaviours that contribute to positive mental health. The pillars are just as relevant today, so explore ways to weave them into your wellbeing objectives:
- Making human connections
- Being physically active
- Taking note of the present moment
- Learning new things
- Giving to others
Use any data at your disposal – from employee absence records to past staff surveys – to set goals based on facts and feedback, rather than guesswork. With support from your Wellbeing Champions, ask for the wider workforce’s input via an informal (and ideally anonymous) survey to develop a wish list of wellbeing benefits, tools and activities.
Your volunteer team can now start defining a clear, achievable plan to get your programme off the ground. Note that’s it’s okay to start small and build on the good stuff you already offer, such as online social events, recognition programmes and informal fitness groups.
Seek out easy wellbeing wins
The most successful wellbeing programmes encourage staff to make simple, sustainable changes that lead to lasting rewards. Smooth the journey by placing useful resources within easy reach and celebrating tangible steps towards better health, however small.
A few well-placed tweaks can kickstart the transformation:
- Train managers to spot the signs of and support employee mental health concerns
- Create a wellbeing area within your company intranet or newsletter, offering tips on better sleep, nutrition and lifestyle choices. Encourage your Champions to share their own stories.
- Allow extended breaks to encourage movement, fresh air and fun
- Give workers a day off to volunteer for a charity they love (then recognise their accomplishments)
- Launch a virtual walking, yoga or fitness club
- Share healthy meal options via your intranet, newsletter or Slack group
- Provide online mindfulness training for all colleagues
Share the benefits of team building
Bringing your team together for a fun activity can offer an instant wellbeing boost. Online quizzes and treasure hunts fit the bill for an evening’s entertainment – but shared challenges can go so much further, rebuilding lost connections, bringing new starters effortlessly into the fold and starting conversations that carry on long after the event.
Ask your Champions to schedule a rolling social calendar that works for onsite, remote and hybrid teams. Keep the quizzes and escape rooms, but also seek out innovative team building ideas that improve co-worker relationships, as well as individuals’ mental and physical health.
Look to Partners
However dedicated your volunteer Champions, their day job has to come first. So your wellbeing and team building partners need to provide ready-made solutions that are easy to roll out, maintain and manage.
Kaido helps you deliver fun, inclusive, companywide health and wellbeing challenges, without the need for an established in-house team. Each six-week experience includes pre-written communications, guides and launch templates, plus full training for your volunteers. You also get real-time engagement tracking via a dedicated app and a follow-up impact report to measure success. With Kaido you’re up and running quickly, and immediately on your way to proven results.