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03 January 2018

Wellbeing in Small Business Blog: Make wellbeing a priority in 2018

Three days into 2018 - for many it will be the first day back at work after the festive break, others may still be enjoying their breaks.

No matter if you are back at work or not, I’m sure there are some of us that are already berating ourselves for breaking whatever New Year’s Resolutions we may have made.

Be it embarking on a Dry January, attempting the 5:2 diet or even just trying a little harder to be a little healthier. These resolutions may not be health related – they could be work related. A promise to work harder or stay later, an ambition to start a new business or launch a new product or service.

Whatever the resolution may be, this time of year, be it the cold weather or just the changing of a year, brings all sorts of pressure that can negatively impact our wellbeing.

With this in mind, January is an opportune moment to take time to think about our wellbeing, and that of our employees, and whether there are steps that we can take to promote a happy, healthy working environment.

Holistic approaches tackle physical wellbeing, while also aiming at supporting and improving the mental health of staff. Conditions such as anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress are experienced by one in six British workers each year. The work environment and poor job design can play a big role in the manifestation of these conditions

Making wellbeing a priority in your business can lead to increased productivity, improve staff performance and reduce absenteeism. This makes an excellent business case, but the benefits stretch further reaching the wider economy, the NHS, Government and society as a whole.

The UK’s 5.7 Million small businesses can, and do, play a powerful role in improving the lives of their employees through a variety of actions. We are seeing businesses introducing new and different initiatives to foster wellbeing in the workplace – from communal staff lunches and setting up staff breakfast clubs, to offering flexible working arrangements and supporting workers returning to work after a serious illness, to having plant walls in offices and starting up work yoga groups.

Last year, FSB ran a successful campaign raising awareness of wellbeing in small businesses and how owners could consider introducing changes to improve it in their business. These ideas ranged from innovative ideas to simple steps such as encouraging more activity and regular breaks.

Here are some ideas that you can think about introducing in your business:

  • Take a lead in your business and help destigmatise mental health by talking about it
  • If you’re self-employed reach out to a networking group. Remember –going it alone doesn’t mean you are alone
  • Investigate flexible working arrangements and whether it could work for your business
  • Start an ‘in-work’ fitness group – this could be a running group
  • Try a walking and talking meeting
  • Bring some plants into your office to improve air quality
  • Consider training courses to upskill you and your staff

So if you are a small business owner or self-employed why not think about small ways you can make wellbeing a priority in your business in 2018.