Small businesses face enormous challenges in today’s economy and rely on having productive and well-motivated employees. Workplace wellbeing, although a relatively modern term, is all about the basic things such as the quality and safety of the physical environment, how people feel about their work, their working environment etc.
According to research by the Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA) 2018, 45.2% of respondents had a wellbeing strategy in place and of those without, almost half planned to introduce within 12 months. 72.8% cited high pressure working environments as the biggest threat to employee wellbeing.
Out of reach for small businesses?
It stands to reason that making employee wellbeing a priority can prevent illness developing and boost morale and productivity but small business owners may feel that solutions are out of reach or that they simply have other more pressing priorities.
But solutions don’t need to be complicated or expensive; many simple things can make a big difference.
Opportunities for wellbeing for small businesses
Smaller business owners have many challenges, but on the plus-side, they tend to have more autonomy than their counterparts in large corporates. Simple initiatives may be easily achieved within a small business with the minimum of expense.
Employees can really appreciate the opportunity to manage their own workload and work flexibly. Perhaps there may be choices over when and where employees work, opportunities to effectively manage a work/life balance. This can really help to reduce pressures on employees so that they are more energised and motivated when working.
Being mindful of opportunities for employees to eat healthily both in terms of ensuring that time is factored in for a proper break for lunch and the availability of good quality food. Many employers provide free fruit and this is a low cost yet appreciated gesture from employers.
Fitness challenges can easily be organised within a group of employees, and when coupled with a charitable cause, can be a great motivator.
Employees usually welcome being consulted and involved in wellbeing initiatives; this alone can generate a sense of inclusiveness.
External wellbeing services
Things such as discounted gym membership, health and wellbeing apps and virtual GPs are just a few of the wealth of wellbeing services available to business. Many Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP’s) also now incorporate a package of wellbeing services alongside the traditional offer of counselling and advice services.
Other services designed for small businesses such as protection insurance (income protection, critical illness, life), private medical insurance and cashplans often also include additional wellbeing services as well as the core financial protection.
Affinity groups such as the Federation of Small businesses also include members’ support services which are available for members and staff. FSB launched its second Wellbeing campaign, ‘It’s okay to talk about mental health’, in October with useful resources for those working in small businesses or the self-employed.
A positive and creative attitude from business owners and managers, supplemented if possible with good quality support services can really make a difference to the wellbeing of small business owners and their employees.
The rationale is very simple: healthier, happier people make for a more motivated, loyal and productive workforce.