How to nurture your employees’ wellbeing? 5 tips for employers

16 September 2022
happy people

#1 Lead by example

Hybrid working - a mix of home and office work - is now the norm in many organisations. This new normal entails many advantages: you and your employees can organise your days with more flexibility, while consultation sessions are better defined and therefore conducted more efficiently. Nevertheless, for many people, striving for a better work-life balance can sometimes generates more stress, while aiming at reducing it.  And yet a stress-free life is one of the most important pillars of happiness at work. It is all but indispensable that you, as an employer, strive for a good work-life balance.

Ensure an good work-life balance in your team, and make sure there are enough breaks -- not only at midday, but also in the morning and in the afternoon. Encourage your employees to get some fresh air for example, so they can switch off from work for a while and then get back at it once they are re-energised. Practice what you preach. Set these moments in your agenda and share your best practices with colleagues. Take a time to rest during which you cannot be reached. This will show employees that moments of rest are 100% justified, in all echelons of the organisation.

A healthy mind in a healthy body is a good precept, and as an employer you can contribute to that aim too. Provide the right facilities for working while standing up, with high or adjustable desks, or at least provide your employees with these choices. Working while standing up is healthier, of course, but it also ensures constant – and by no means unpleasant - tension favoring the ability to concentrate is maintained.

In addition, personal time management is crucial. Ask employees when they are most productive and do not expect everyone to achieve the same results at the same time. Some people are early birds who do most of their work in the early hours, others peak at around midday. Make sure that you do not disrupt this rhythm with frequent meetings and repetitive tasks. Also point out that you will go offline after a certain time and will no longer handle e-mails. In this way, you will give employees an incentive to do the same.

Finally, discuss the importance of a good workspace at home. The brain associates certain rooms with productivity, while others are just for relaxing. Tell your employees that this will make it easier for them to leave work behind in the evening -- literally and figuratively.


#2 Hygge: make the ordinary meaningful

For many people, a workplace is where they spend the most time in a day. It is therefore good to pay extra attention to the comfort and look of such spaces. The Danes have understood this well with hygge: the desire to be consciously in the here and now and to enjoy every moment. Applied to the workplace, this means arranging the space to turn it into a place where employees not only have to be, but above all enjoy being. You can blur the line between office and home, as it were.

Give the room personality with photos and other decorative details. Plants bring a room to life and provide extra oxygen, which improves productivity. Have healthy snacks and water within reach so no one wastes energy on slumps.


#3 Meetings with an open mind

Meetings are vital if organisations are to make progress, so they must not be misconstrued as being detrimental to the productivity of your employees. If you want to ensure that all your employees feel that their voice is heard and continue to participate proactively, it is important that you dare to organise meetings differently. For example, opt for meetings in smaller groups to increase the chance of making more progress faster, because you can retrieve the right information much more directly.

The greatest benefit of such meetings in smaller groups lies in the trust and sense of security you can offer employees. Introverts and extroverts alike have plenty of room to table ideas. Moreover, you lower the threshold for asking participants how they are doing. Because although meetings should mainly be functional and efficient, they provide a great opportunity to connect.

Reserve a cosy, green space where all participants feel comfortable. Plants promote well-being! If your organisation is not dependent on technology or other equipment, find a nice coffee bar, for example. This will pull the conversation out of the office atmosphere that employees often perceive as formal and will create an additional opening for more a personal chat. Or go for a walk in nature, which stimulates associative thinking and lets ideas flow freely.

#4 Lunch, the daily rendezvous

Many professionals eat their lunch at their desk so as not to interrupt their productive flow. This saves time in the short term, but is ultimately counterproductive: a healthy diet and sufficient water keep energy levels steady. Make your employees aware of the importance of eating and drinking well and mark a fixed, joint lunch time in all diaries on days when you are all in the office.

Why not turn that lunch time into a fun outing? Book a table at a nice location for a change or take your employees to lunch together in the canteen. Take the opportunity to share personal stories, voice concerns and offer each other a heedful ear. In any event, make sure that work is not the dominant topic during lunch, but more of an afterthought rather than the focus of conversation.  Above all, make sure lunch is tasty.

#5 Connect to lead

People often spend more time with colleagues than with their loved ones. Productivity and happiness at work therefore go hand in hand only if all mutual relationships are good. Trust is key: it is important that everyone is in the same wavelength and that every team member pursues the same goal. As a manager, you must therefore shift the focus from results to interpersonal contact at the right time and indicate that you too want to be evaluated. Do employees appreciate the way you communicate? Do you give everyone in the team a voice? Do you maintain a sufficient overview of all tasks and responsibilities, so everyone knows what course to take?  

Non-violent communication is a must. Endeavour to communicate in a connecting way every time and, as a manager, try to defuse conflicts as quickly as possible. The basic tenet is that every interaction takes place according to a certain need. Are you able to listen with empathy and identify the needs of your employees? Then the key to connecting is within reach.  


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