Workforce wellbeing 2020: your new year's resolutions

As the new year begins, we often make wellbeing-based resolutions to change. We spend a third of our lives at work, so why not make resolutions for work too?

NB: this article was written before FirstCare rebranded to GoodShape on 30.10.21

Workplace wellbeing is something of a buzzword and employers are realising that it’s good for business. Gone are the days when bonuses and rewards ticked the employee benefits box. From providing 24/7 medical advice to mental health first aid, today’s leaders are truly on the front foot when it comes to wellbeing.

So, what should employers consider when setting new wellbeing goals for the workplace?

We’ve collated a list of the best wellbeing reads and trends from leading industry thinkers to help you.

Click on the links below to start making your new year’s resolutions.

1. Find Time for Self-Care

Before you can look after your staff, it’s vital that you learn to look after yourself. Finding time for self-care can be a challenge for business leaders. And what does it actually mean?

For Simon Blake, CEO of charity Mental Health First Aid, self-care is “actively finding ways to give the brain a rest. To recharge and replenish in order to avoid stress, burnout and poor mental health.”

Here he shares top tips for achieving this, from re-connecting with activities you love to limiting energy-sapping screen time.

2. Take Steps to Avoid Burnout

Over time, stress at work can lead to burn-out, a condition that is now recognised by the World Health Organisation, who describe it as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

Prevention is key, and just a few simple strategies can provide the wellbeing boost needed to prevent stress from taking hold. This article from Happiful Magazine has some simple and effective strategies for helping you and your employees to avoid burnout.

3. Build a Mentally Healthy Workplace

As the cost of mental health absence continues to soar, more and more employers are looking for ways to support staff and prevent problems escalating. An absence management system like FirstCare’s, which provides 24/7 nurse-led advice, is one such solution. Our own data shows that 60% of workers will quit after just two mental health absences giving employers a vital window to intervene.

This Daily Telegraph article sets out the business case for early intervention and shows the steps employers can take to build mentally healthy workplaces.

4. Make the Most of OH

Occupational Health has a fundamental role to play in workplace wellbeing but is often underused or seen as a reactive support service. Our absence management service helps employers to get true value from their OH provision, through a joined-up approach that delivers fast-track referrals.

This article from Personnel Today sets out how OH can form part of an effective and holistic workplace wellbeing strategy.

5. Support Staff at Every Age

Older workers are the workforce of the future. By 2025, one in three of the working age population will be 50 or over.

What does this mean for workplace wellbeing? How do the needs of older workers differ and what steps can employers take to support them?

This article from The Centre for Ageing Better explains how to build an age-friendly workplace. See also our blog on supporting mental health among older workers.

6. Introduce Mental Health Days

New research shows that nearly half of us would like to take a mental health day off work but feel unable to. There’s a common misconception that mental health days are just for those with a diagnosed mental illness. This article from Stylist Magazine predicts why mental health days are set to become ‘a thing’ in 2020 and suggests why employers should introduce them.

7. Stop Presenteeism

Presenteeism – where employees work through illness – is a rising issue in the workplace. Unresolved it can lead to poor wellbeing, low morale and increased employee turnover. It’s also a huge threat to productivity.

FirstCare’s nurse-led telephone triage and absence management helps to prevent presenteeism, by spotting the signs of illness and advising on a sensible return to work. This article from HR Director Magazine sets out the signs of presenteeism along with steps employers can take to stop it.

8. Build A Culture of Empathy

A recent study showed that 92% of CEOs believe their organisation has a culture of empathy, yet only 72% of workers agree.

Why does empathy remain such a rare commodity in the workplace? And how can business leaders be empathetic without invading personal space? This article from Forbes Magazine explains how to break down traditional workplace barriers and create a happier, healthier and more empathetic culture.

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