6 Easy Wins To Improve Workplace Well-Being Workplace well-being has risen up the business agenda in recent years. A culture where well-being is valued supports healthier and happier employees, and wellness programmes are proving to have a positive effect on productivity . Sickness absence and presenteeism costs UK businesses an estimated £ 77bn each year in lost productivity . Investing in workplace wellness not only makes commercial sense, it contributes to a healthier society too. Wellness programmes are a critical benefit new recruits look out for and with unemployment at a record low, employers need to be considering how they can retain staff and attract the best talent. Workplace wellness is getting attention for good reason. It’s good for employees, it’s good for business and it has far-reaching effects on families, communities and society as a whole. To kick start wellness in your workplace, here are 6 easy wins. 1. Conduct a well-being survey and make a charter A great place to start when it comes to workplace well-being is to ask your employees how they feel . A simple survey using Google Forms should elicit enough information for you to take action. Think about purpose, relationships, financial security, community, and physical and mental health. Discuss health and well-being survey results in teams and draw up a charter of ideas you all agree on. It can include things like: • We pledge to be more active, taking regular breaks away from our desks and engage in walking meetings • We pledge to a healthier lifestyle – to eat more nutritious food, get more sleep and exercise more regularly • We pledge to do and say more kind things to each other • We pledge to be more sociable and communicate more with colleagues • We pledge to send less emails and talk to colleagues’ face to face instead 2. Go green Did you know that plants in the workplace have a positive impact on employees’ health? Plants not only brighten up the office or workspace, they are scientifically proven to purify the air and remove toxins. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Poor air quality can cause headaches, dizziness, breathing problems and fatigue. Just seeing plants in the office can make the work environment feel like a more pleasant place to be and contribute to a reduction in stress. Plants displays are also a useful way to divide work spaces and absorb noise. 3. Focus on flexibility The digital age has brought many benefits, but being ‘switched on’ 24-7 isn’t good for us. If employees are stressed, overloaded and have a poor work-life balance they won’t be performing as well as they can do at work. They are also more likely to call in sick. Flexible working can help to reduce stress and support a healthier work-life balance. It can also help to improve trust between managers and staff. Allowing staff to work from home or ditch the old-school 9-5 office hours could make a huge difference to how they manage their lives. Employers need to be especially aware of the sandwich generation who are caring for children and elderly parents, and need flexibility at work to help them manage their lives better. 4. Walk and talk Walking meetings are an insightful way to get employees moving and away from their desks. As well as the physical benefits, research by a world-renowned university has discovered that walking also has a positive effect on creativity. Many great thinkers are advocates of walking while contemplating. Steve Jobs was a big fan of the walking meeting. Movement breaks are essential for physical and emotional health, so why not make walking meetings the norm in your workplace? 5. Bring on the breakfast smoothies Offering free fruit and healthy snacks to employees is a great start and encourages staff to eat more healthily (rather than nip out of the office to buy a chocolate bar). Businesses can do more to help employees eat well . Why not get your teams off to a great start each day with breakfast smoothies? This is a brilliant way to introduce your employees to new combinations of fruits and vegetables and offer them a nutritious start to the day. You could make a competition out of it. Put teams in charge of the smoothie making and employees can vote for their smoothie of the month! This not only promotes healthy eating; it creates a social buzz and adds to the great culture you are trying to create in your business. 6. Get sporty Playing sports has many benefits, including the health gains from physical exercise and the social values of playing within a team. Entering a corporate team into the local football, netball, hockey or rugby league is a fun way to encourage employees to exercise and socialise with colleagues outside of work. Other exercise initiatives could include putting on lunch-time yoga classes, running a Fitbit steps league, or setting up a lunch-time walking club. Sports initiatives can have really positive effects on employee happiness and well-being. So, what are you waiting for? Get wellness onto your business agenda right now. About the Author: Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and English Literature graduate. Annie likes to share her experiences and knowledge through her blog posts and has written for various online and print publications. When she’s not writing Annie likes cooking healthy new recipes and relaxing with a good book'. Twitter: Annie Button