The wellbeing of employees is crucial for maintaining a productive and positive workforce. Research has shown that a healthy and happy workforce leads to increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and improved employee retention. But what are the three key factors that must be considered when it comes to supporting the physiological wellbeing of your employees?  

Create a Supportive Work Environment 

A supportive work environment is the foundation for promoting employee wellbeing and the role of leadership and management in this space cannot be underestimated. Empathy and psychological safety are the building blocks of trust, and vital for high-performing teams. A leader’s empathy has been ranked as one of the most critical elements in fostering efficient working practices. Leaders who prioritise employee wellbeing inspire trust, encourage open communication, and foster a culture of support, which leads to improved engagement and reduced stress levels. 

  • Encourage leaders and managers to discuss their own self-care practices, share personal experiences, and highlight the positive impact of the wellbeing initiatives in team meetings to create an atmosphere of trust and support. 
  • Ensure employees are recognised for their achievements. 
  • Implement regular check ins between leaders and employees to help understand their needs and concerns. 

Prioritise Physical Activity in the Workplace 

Physical activity is not only essential for physical health but also has a significant impact on mental wellbeing. Research conducted by the department of neurosurgery at UCLA found that regular physical activity positively impacts cognitive function, including memory, attention, and decision-making. Exercise also helps to relieve work-related stress, with 47% of employees reporting that they experience stress throughout most of their day. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which improves mood and reduces stress levels. To encourage physical activity among employees: 

  • Promote walking meetings or active breaks to incorporate movement throughout the workday. 
  • Organise lunchtime fitness classes or provide access to nearby fitness facilities. 
  • Consider implementing wearable devices or step challenges to motivate employees to increase their daily activity levels. 

Encourage Recovery to Avoid Burnout  

76% of employees experience burnout at work at least sometimes, with 28% of employees feeling burned out at work “very often” or “always”. It is essential for leaders and managers to understand and identify the signs of burnout in their employees. Common symptoms include persistent fatigue, reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, irritability, and a negative attitude or cynicism towards work. By paying attention to these signals, mangers and leaders can intervene early and prevent burnout from escalating.   

  • Encourage regular breaks, especially those involving physical movement or relaxation techniques, to help alleviate stress and improve focus. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, brief regular breaks during work hours have been associated with reduced fatigue and increased productivity. 
  • Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can also help employees manage stress and cultivate resilience. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that mindfulness interventions significantly reduce burnout and improve psychological wellbeing. Encourage employees to practice mindfulness techniques by providing resources, training or workshops.  

These initiatives can empower employees with coping mechanisms to navigate stress and challenges effectively.