Last year, the 23rd annual CIPD survey on Health and Well-being at Work explored issues surrounding health, well-being, and absence in UK companies. It surveyed 918 organisations with 6.5 million employees. 

The survey found that more organisations are approaching health and well-being through stand-alone strategies. While this was good to hear, sadly, senior leaders’ focus seems to be the other way around. 

This article examines well-being at work and explains why it is essential for leaders. It discusses leaders’ role in promoting it in organisations, its benefits, and some challenges leaders face. 

Understanding Well-being at Work 

So, what is well-being at work?  

According to the CIPD, it’s about “creating an environment that actively promotes a state of contentment, benefiting both employees and the organisation.” 

Well-being can cover a range of areas, such as: 

  • Emotional health 
  • Mental health 
  • Physical health 

Workplace well-being is crucial for fostering a healthy and productive working environment. Work/life balance is essential for employees to effectively manage their professional and personal lives. 

Mental health support via counselling and stress management resources can help them maintain positive emotional well-being. Physical health initiatives like ergonomic workspaces and fitness programs can promote physical health. 

We all remember our best bosses, don’t we? 

A positive work environment makes a huge difference. Strong team dynamics, a culture of respect and recognition, and supportive leadership can create fantastic work environments.  

The Role of Leaders in Promoting Well-being at Work 

A 2023 survey by the job platform Fiverr found that 85% of bosses are worried about a burnout crisis in the US and how they can retain talent. Step in the modern leader who wants to help and give the best support to their employees!  

Leaders play a crucial role in shaping workplace culture. Their actions and attitudes towards employee well-being influence the team’s morale and productivity. Showing genuine interest in employee welfare can go a long way. 

There are also different strategies that leaders can use to implement well-being measures at work. Here are a few examples: 

  • Flexible working hours help your employees balance their work and personal lives. This flexibility can reduce stress and increase job satisfaction. 
  • As mentioned earlier, giving employees access to mental health resources is also a positive move. It also reduces the stigma associated with mental health when a leader recognises its benefits. 
  • Setting up a scheme that recognises employee achievements can improve employee well-being in the organisation. As a leader, you can set this up via a structured program so employees have something to work towards. 

The Benefits of Well-being at Work for Leaders and Organisations 

It’s also worth noting that well-being benefits leaders and the organisation. So, not only are you helping your employees, but you are also boosting your business. Here are some of the benefits organisations gain when they put well-being at the heart of their business: 

1) Employee Retention and Engagement

Well-being at work connects to higher employee engagement and retention. Employees who feel like their mental and physical needs are met show more loyalty to the company and want to stay. 

Your turnover rates decrease because your employees are more satisfied with their jobs. Engaged employees are also more involved in their work, which leads to a positive, dynamic workforce with higher performance levels. 

2) Enhanced Productivity

Employees feel more energised and focused and thus perform their roles with more precision and speed. They also feel more open to sharing ideas and showing initiative, as they have no fear of experiencing potential burnout or stress. 

As a result, the organisation will have smoother workflows, fewer errors, and an increase in the overall output of work. These positive results benefit both the employees and the organisation. 

3) Reduced Absenteeism

Well-being programs help to promote a healthy work-life balance, provide stress management resources, and encourage regular health checkups. Employees who feel physically and mentally are less likely to take time off sick. 

Additionally, organisations won’t have problems with presenteeism when people are at work but perform below-average levels as they feel the company does not support them. 

Challenges Leaders Face in Promoting Well-Being at Work 

Now you know why it is essential to promote well-being at work. On top of this, you know how it can benefit you as a leader and your organisation. However, leaders still face challenges when promoting well-being at work. 

Some of the most common obstacles are: 

  • Budget constraints 
  • Lack of awareness of the issues surrounding well-being at work 
  • Resistance to change  

So, what can you do as a leader to get everybody involved in the organisation and promote better well-being at work? 

Here are three ideas to get you started: 

1) Use Technology

Using technology at work, especially when you start automating things, can help employees save time on manual, repetitive tasks. You could also use remote working tools so employees can work from home or the office. Provide health apps to your employees to monitor their physical and mental health.  

When it comes to the work itself, if you’re not already, use project management tools to organise tasks and deadlines. It will help to reduce the stress associated with project management. You could also use Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom to make collaboration easier for colleagues. 

2) Seek Employee Feedback

Using surveys and suggestion boxes can increase engagement and morale among your employees. It might seem a bit “old school,” but it still works. Giving your employees the choice to say something benefits them, you as a leader, and the organisation. 

Arrange one-to-one meetings. Explain how they will work and why you are doing them, so they are familiar to your employees. Then, make a point of having personalised feedback sessions. It can help you as a leader to identify individual issues and use a tailored approach to help each employee. 

3) Foster an Open Communication Culture

If you’ve never led like this, you’re in for a treat! It’s not as scary as you might think it will be. Have an open-door policy so people can freely come to you to voice issues or concerns. Also, provide regular updates to the employees for company decisions. It can reduce worry and anxiety for employees when they are in the loop. 

Focus on continuous improvement. Make a point of acting on employee feedback; it makes them feel that their opinions matter. Also, identify work problems early so you can act on them before they escalate and get worse. You can do this with consistent feedback mechanisms from the employees.  

Next Steps for You as a Leader 

As a leader, you must do what your name suggests: be a leader. Take your employees’ and your well-being seriously. If it means changing things where you currently work, so be it. Change can be a positive and rewarding experience for all. 

Want to ramp up your leadership skills and take care of your well-being? We offer a Well-being Leadership Mastery Course. The course is for C-suite leaders and senior executives and can enhance your well-being and leadership effectiveness. 

Or are you a leader who wants a cloud solution or other systems development? At KCL, we cover all your IT needs. Contact us here, and we’ll arrange a chat to discuss your business needs.