According to the 2020 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, 86% of respondents believe that a workplace that promotes wellness is an important factor in their interest in a job offer or staying with an organization.
Employees are repelled at the prospect of working for an employer that doesn’t offer a good quality of life.
This makes sense considering that workplaces that prioritize well-being enjoy significantly lower absenteeism and therefore presenteeism, all while increasing employee engagement and retention—in turn leading to lower stress and risk of burnout.
Here are 52 concrete tips, broken down by category.
The WHO defines workplace well-being as “a state of mind characterized by a satisfactory harmony between the skills, needs and aspirations of the worker and the constraints and opportunities of the workplace.”
Promoting healthy lifestyles
Health should be a key focus, as a healthy employee will be more energetic, focused and productive. They’ll also be less likely to experience a work-related injury or burnout.
A full 76% of managers believe that employee well-being has a direct impact on a company’s economic situation and 82% of them are in favour of taking action to support employee health.
Following are a few down-to-earth tips to promote healthy lifestyles at work:
- Encourage your team to end their day at a reasonable time and to prioritize sleep over work
- Give your employees adequate rest between shifts; avoid scheduling an employee for a morning shift right after an evening shift
- Offer a room devoted to relaxation
- Offer free water bottles to new hires in order to encourage them to drink enough water at work
- Promote exercise by allocating a sports budget or offering a gym on your company’s premises
- Normalize and talk about mental health, stress, etc.
- Keep employees’ workload reasonable
- During your team-building activities, opt for physical or outdoor activities rather than only throwing parties, for example
- At these events, have a healthy meal ready instead of systematically ordering pizza
- Organize a healthy meal once a week at work
- Create a discussion group on your specialized communication platform for employees where everyone can share health tips
- Invite a nutritionist to give a talk on healthy eating and how it impacts productivity and well-being
Ensuring workplace safety
An employee who doesn’t feel safe at work will never feel comfortable at your company.
During my years of working in the restaurant industry, I often encountered situations that made me uncomfortable, with the result that I sometimes felt nervous when it was time to come in to my shift. An example would be having to take out garbage bags filled with broken glass and carry them a good distance outside.
Concrete tips for ensuring workplace safety:
- Lead by example. As a manager, if you wear a mask in areas that require it, or safety glasses or appropriate footwear, your employees will be more inclined to follow your lead
- Recognize employees who demonstrate best practices
- Get your team involved by putting together an OHS committee to organize occupational health and safety projects or activities. An office physical security assessment should be regularly conducted to ensure the safety of employees and the building.
- Value safety at work rather than taking shortcuts
- Provide training on practices that promote health and safety, such as safe travel principles or ergonomic habits for seated work
- Bring in an ergonomist to have a look at your workstations and ways of working
Making work meaningful
Employees who find meaning and purpose in their work will be more loyal and engaged. This kind of lasting loyalty is established and developed when you connect with their deep feelings.
Meaning often comes from pride or a sense of belonging to a unifying project or shared values.
Regardless of the working conditions or salary, nothing beats a job where you will feel you’re genuinely adding value and contributing to a grand project that resonates with you.
Concrete tips for making work meaningful:
- Recruit employees who share certain values with the company. To do so, focus on personality when hiring
- Reiterate your mission as often as possible so that your employees can assimilate it and use it as a basis to inform their actions and give meaning to their work
- Embody your mission—walk the talk, otherwise employees will sense a lack of authenticity
- Spend time with all members of your team so that everyone feels that their role is important to the organization and that their work has an impact
- Share strategic and financial information with your employees so they feel more involved and understand why they do what they do
Creating an inspiring workplace
We are greatly influenced by our environment and the people we rub shoulders with most often. Since employees spend a great deal of their time at work, the work environment is of paramount importance.
Work is a space for living, creating, meeting and exchanging information. It can be inspiring, or the exact opposite.
It is a physical and spatial representation of the company.
Concrete tips for creating an inspiring workplace:
- Maintain a clean, pleasant and orderly break area. A dining room that doubles as a storage closet is clearly not ideal
- Provide employees with an outdoor space for meals and break
- Make sure that work spaces are conducive to focus and that certain areas are more devoted to collaboration
Creativity promotes well-being in that it enables you to share a part of yourself and leave your mark at work. It is the catalyst for quickly finding solutions to problems, addressing challenges wisely, and optimizing practices at your organization.
Creativity also helps us move forward and evolve, because without imagination and fresh ideas, we tend to get in a rut.
When creativity is encouraged in a workplace, employees feel trusted and that their ideas are truly valued and important.
Concrete tips for encouraging creativity:
- Organize creative team days when you can rally your team around work-related issues or challenges and give them some space to come up with ideas and solutions. At Agendrix, we hold one or two hackathons every year
- Recognize and encourage new initiatives by employees
- When you encounter a problem at work, seek input from your team
Recognize your employees
Recognition is a universal human need. According to Jean-Pierre Brun, who teaches management at Université Laval, recognition should be a common practice at all workplaces in order to create a healthy climate conducive to employee well-being.
At work, managers and employees alike need to be recognized as individuals—i.e., for their personal worth—as well as for their professional skills and qualities—i.e., for their efforts and results.
Not all ways of offering recognition have the same weight and impact. Managers need to develop the ability to provide recognition frequently and effectively. Recognition must be sincere, specific, personalized, and given soon after the event that warranted the acknowledgement. A generic “good job” is not as satisfying as a specific, explicit complement.
Concrete tips for making recognition part of your corporate culture:
- Establish a systematic recognition practice at your company. At Agendrix, we send in comments we refer to as Kudos. Employees and managers are encouraged to write an email to a dedicated email address to congratulate or thank a coworker whenever they want. At our company meetings, the Kudos are then read out loud in front of everyone
- Adopt a “merit” or “employee of the month” formula
- Give out awards at a gala or Christmas party
Promoting friendship at work
An insightful survey by the job site Comparably found that employees who had a friend at work were up to 7 times more engaged in their jobs than those who did not.
Friendship at work is quite beneficial—it not only clearly contributes to workplace well-being but also helps better cope with daily irritants and stress at work. It has been shown that the different relationships we develop at work serve different purposes, providing us with an attentive ear, support, motivation, exchanges of ideas, and many other benefits.
Concrete tips for promoting friendship at work:
- Place special emphasis on your employees’ onboarding in order to optimize their integration into the team and allow them to build strong relationships with one another. There are apps and modules that can support you with employee onboarding, including the Agendrix app
- Organize regular team-building activities
- Encourage your employees to talk about their passions and motivations outside of work
- Take part in sports activities together
- Create an official sports team, such as field hockey, volleyball, soccer, etc.
- Take time each week to eat together and talk about how everyone is doing
- As a manager, set an example for your employees by opening up and being vulnerable: vulnerability and authenticity are essential to developing friendship
Making flexibility a priority
Flexibility is the Holy Grail in the world of work. More flexible management methods, i.e., in terms in terms of flexible working hours and requests for leave or vacations, significantly reduce stress and pressure at work. Put headaches about work-life balance behind you!
According to Dialogue’s Ultimate Guide to Corporate Wellness Strategies, work-life balance has become an important part of individuals’ wellness in the last decade. People are willing to earn less for better working conditions.
Concrete tips for prioritizing flexibility:
- Offer flexible hours
- Allow employees to trade shifts
- Make floating vacations available to your employees
- Learn about best practices for creating the best schedule for your employees
- Establish a clear and flexible work-life (or family/work) balance policy
Salary is directly linked to your employees’ life quality. Working conditions are certainly an important component of well-being at work, but money is and always will be the key.
Why? Because even with lots of flexibility, empathy and person-focused management,
if the salary doesn’t support your employees’ needs, workplace well-being will always remain elusive.
Concrete tips for offering good salaries:
- Conduct external surveys on salaries in your industry to make sure you’re at least offering the minimum in your industry and at best offering an above-average salary
- Take inflation into account: if wages are rising slower than inflation, you might as well be paying your employees a lower salary every year
- To boost employee motivation, offer smaller salary increases more often rather than a single big increase once a year
Creating opportunities for learning and advancement
Employees need to feel that they’re learning and evolving, and that they can go further if they want to. Seeing opportunities for advancement and learning in our workplace is a huge source of excitement and motivation. Regardless of the field or industry, training and development provide opportunities for employees to enrich their resumes and enhance their professional value.
In fact, a survey published by Infopresse shows that employees consider training to be one of the most important aspects of work, not only to stay current and efficient, but also to continue learning. Employees who feel competent and believe they can grow and develop in their work will be more motivated and satisfied.
Concrete tips for offering opportunities for learning and advancement:
- Allow your employees to suggest training (paid for by the employer) that they feel is relevant to their position
- Plan a budget for employee training
- Hold general talks or training on site and during work hours
- Be clear about the opportunities for advancement at your company
- Regularly ask your employees about their ambitions and expectations at work
Workplace wellness is a win-win for employers and employees
Happiness may be subjective, but never forget that as a manager, you have a responsibility to foster the happiness of your employees. Try our tips and help your employees tap into their full potential!