What can you do in 2024 to improve employee wellbeing?
January is a mixed bag for most of us. On the one hand, we’re making resolutions, planning how to make 2024 productive and successful (personally and professionally), and maybe planning a holiday for later in the year. On the other hand, it’s cold and grey, we’re trying not to have too many treats, and our pyjamas and duvet are looking very appealing.
While you’re setting goals, why not put wellbeing on your agenda – if it isn’t there already? We all need to take care of ourselves more, so personal wellbeing needs to be a priority. And, for business owners and managers, we need to extend that to include the wellbeing of our teams.
What can you do in 2024 to improve employee wellbeing?
Getting our body moving is important, both physically and mentally. If your team is in good health, they will feel more resilient, be happier and more productive, and need less time away from work. There is a range of measures you can put in place depending on your budget – some of our favourites from 2023 have included:
Reduced gym membership – this could be organised directly with a local gym or through a health insurance provider as part of a package.
Free yoga classes – yoga is something that suits a wide range of ages and abilities and could be hosted in a meeting room.
Lunchtime walks – why not set up a walking group and head out during lunchtime, it’s free and exposure to daylight is great for our mental health (particularly in these dark and dreary months).
Charitable challenges – there are lots of ideas for charity fundraising that can be done as a team, from completing a specific walk (or run?!) to committing to a number of steps/ squats/ sit-ups per day. Encourage your team to choose something that supports a charity they’re interested in and a challenge they might enjoy.
Health cover – traditional health insurance policies are still a great way to look after our staff. Providing access to private health services can be costly, but will be greatly appreciated in a time of need and may reduce the amount of time key personnel need to be out of work. More budget friendly options include cash plans that give staff discounted access to a wide range of health services. A significant benefit of many of these policies is the inclusion of access to confidential counselling services – a great way to show staff that you’re supporting their mental wellbeing particularly when NHS mental health services are under strain and can have waiting lists.
Social events are a key part of wellbeing: they allow communication and relationships to strengthen, and help ensure that staff enjoy their time at work and colleagues. Many employers are able to allocate a budget to at least one social event each year, but more regular events can be beneficial without breaking the bank. One option may be to set up a social committee to involve staff in planning events. Some of our favourites have included:
Lunches – a monthly lunch out would be a lovely treat, but an affordable alternative is to bring people together for lunch at work if you have a space. You can put on a buffet or send out for fish and chips, or ask people to bring a packed lunch.
Lunch and learn – you could use lunch socials as an opportunity for personal development. Ideally, this would be something fun or helpful to your staff. For example, you could invite someone to give a talk – a pension planner, a nutritionist, a local artist. Or you could set up a book club, writing group, or similar.
We all like treats, they make our day and environment nicer. Some simple options include:
Drinks facilities – whether you have a full kitchen or just a kettle, you can offer staff a range of drink options including fruit teas, frothy coffees and hot chocolates to perk up their day.
Snacks – consider offering fresh fruit, healthy snacks and maybe a few not so healthy snacks (a little bit of sugar can help the afternoon go by!). On a hot day, why not send out for ice lollies or ask an ice-cream van to stop by?
Dress down Fridays – since COVID our workwear has become more relaxed, but if you still have formal office attire or a uniform, a dress down Friday can be a real treat.
Holiday – the gift of time! A half day or full day of holiday awarded part way through the holiday year, linked to staff birthdays or awarded after 2 or more years’ service can be greatly appreciated.
Another option is to award staff a work from home day, where they’re encouraged to switch off from technology and do some reading around their role or an area of interest linked to their work.
Targeted monthly prizes – linking a monthly prize to performance can be motivating and reward hard work.
Random monthly prizes – another option is to put all staff into a draw and pick one out each month on a random basis so that throughout the year everyone has a chance to win a treat such as a voucher for a local restaurant or a food hamper.
Hidden Hero – like Secret Santa, but at any time of year! This is a fun way for staff to find our more about each other as they should each prepare a short bio about themselves and what they like, names are then drawn and allocated.
Recognising and rewarding the efforts of staff is important and motivating, providing opportunities for personal development can also encourage staff to flourish. Some of our favourite options include:
A “training hour” – a fixed amount of time each week when the employee can turn their email off and focus on training and personal development. There may be some mandatory training that needs to be included within this alongside an opportunity to identify areas of personal interest and development.
Training budget – a fixed amount per person per year to spend on training. You can specify how closely this should relate to their work and how much freedom they have to choose course content and provider.
Employee of the month – a regular opportunity to recognise which member(s) of a team have gone above and beyond expectations in terms of their work, supporting colleagues, customer service, or other criteria. The winners may be nominated and/or voted on by management or staff, and the prize could vary from a box of chocolates to a shopping voucher.
Explore our Wellbeing and Resilience services and discover how New Dawn can help you place resilience and wellbeing at the heart of your organisation.