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Employers: Can you afford a well-being policy and make it an attraction to future employees for your SME?

In today’s world of recruitment and talent acquisition, especially within the small to medium sized companies, candidates especially millennials are increasing asking me what are the benefits of moving to your client and do they make employee wellbeing a priority?

For owner managers within the SME sector, I really think that this is very achievable because these leaders are usually on the ground, have their fingers on the pulse and can more often than not have close working relations will all their staff.  With wellbeing, it’s all about helping your staff to be comfortable, healthy and happy. If you invest in staff wellbeing and make it a priority, you will reap the rewards. When you have healthy and happy staff your business will enjoy high levels of staff morale and productivity,  ultimately your business will enjoy healthy long-term profitability.

The days are gone when some businesses ruled by fear and treating staff mean to keep them keen. I am seeing millennials who especially want work environments that are creative, collaborative, innovative, inclusive, joyful, diverse and thoughtful; and they want to work for companies that value teamwork, diversity, ethics and responsibility.

So how can you do it with little or no budget, promote and showcase to potential employees?

One way of promoting wellbeing is to have workspaces that employees can engage with and feel comfortable in and this can be done with the minimum of expense and plenty of kudos.

Know your vision and company values

Engage with current employees before you write this brief to get a good insight into current wellbeing levels and feedback on how to boost them will push morale through the roof. Collaboration also enables your staff to become your best advocates and masters of their destiny also this ensures less resistance to change. Your office design and fit-out brief should reflect your company’s culture and brand values and does not have to mean a spending splurge.
Maximise your workspace to work smarter

By undertaking a project around how it is being used now and how it might be used better in the future. Or in other words work smarter.  Review the workspaces and look at workflows and patterns in your company, the sizes and locations of teams, use of technology and meeting rooms, if you have mobile workers or those who must pop in during the working day, can you facilitate those employees and make them feel welcome? A workspace that sounds, looks, feels and smells great, and reflects the individuality of the people in it, while meeting business needs, will be more efficient and morale-boosting.

Put a bit of light on the subject

Gone are the days of working in the dark with minimum lighting.  It is a proven fact that if your employees have outside views they are more likely to be more productive. But if not have light filled bright rooms or some reflective surfaces.

All we need is the air that we breath

Or ventilation and or the ability to open a window, even in the coldest days, a change of air and proper heating systems will keep your employees healthy.  Also, a few indoor plants work on absorbing carbon dioxide and release oxygen as well as looking nice.  No one needs to be battling headaches, eye, nose or throat irritations, dry coughs, itchy skin and fatigue on top of a busy working day.

Concentration!  are you ready…

Especially in an open plan office concentration can be hard but not impossible if you address it through turning down the ringing volume of phones and take some conversations off the main floor and into meeting rooms. Noise is an unwanted distraction and a major cause of employee dissatisfaction. You could, with the support of your staff look at your furniture and design layouts to support and give balance to your employees working environment.

Get the paint brushes out

Feature walls or a splash of colour will support a good working environment and is very cost effective way too. An example of this is the colour yellow gets the creative juices flowing, green reduces stress and promotes calmness and blue promotes focus.  What do you need in your office?

Five a day…..

And I don’t mean the pub for pints, it can boost morale but cause liver problems! but how about helping your staff get their five-a-day.  Most companies offer, tea, coffee, what about a run to the local shop and stock up on fruit, herbal teas, water and somewhere in the office where your staff can prepare good food.  I have seen small companies stock healthy breakfast cereals for staff to ensure they get a good start to the day. Or how about the opportunity to organise bake offs and fundraise for a local charity this can raise morale and the feel-good factor.

The zzzzzz and in the zone

If you could provide a quiet and relaxing break-out area where your staff can go to get away from their desks, you will find that a change of scene will get their creative juices flowing again and can be very cost effective.

In the words of the great Dolly Parton (Working 9 to 5)

Work life balance, we are seeing that the nine to five, and only ever in the office, is a thing of the past for many companies. Thanks to technology, people are increasingly getting their work done away from the office both during the day and sometimes at home in the evening. How about considering flexible working hours and the ability to work from home, and on the move, in a bid to increase productivity.

You see you don’t have to spend thousands on well-being, it won’t break the bank even with limited resources you can start with a few of the ideas above, collaboration with your staff will make them feel part of your business. Healthier employees may show up to work more often, visit the doctor less frequently and become more productive overall.  And what a way to attract new talent to your business, when you can say that as part of your company you take their well-being very seriously.
Thank you for reading.