The importance of workplace wellbeing has become increasingly prevalent in recent times, and it’s rare that interviews pass these days without questions being asked about exactly that. It’s so important in fact, that almost three-quarters (73%) of professionals have left a job because they disliked the company culture.

In the fast-paced and demanding day-to-day, employers should be creating a workplace culture that prioritises the wellbeing of their employees. For many, this is as much a challenge as it is an opportunity. While some businesses may already have solid benefits and wellness programs in place, others may find themselves wondering how to effectively promote mental health and wellbeing among their staff. The good news is, it doesn’t always require grand gestures or extravagant investments to make a meaningful impact.

One common misconception is that addressing wellbeing in the workplace requires costly initiatives. While investing heavily in such measures can make a difference, they aren’t always sustainable or even possible for every organisation. Instead, it’s often the small, thoughtful and continuous gestures that resonate most with employees and contribute to a positive and healthy work environment.

It’s the little things

Consider the power of personal connections. Rather than solely relying on financial incentives or material rewards, employers can make a significant difference by showing genuine appreciation and support for their team members. Something as simple as a handwritten note expressing gratitude for their hard work can go a long way in boosting morale and fostering a sense of belonging.

Small tokens of appreciation, like providing employees with a modest sum to enjoy a cup of coffee or treat themselves to a small indulgence, can demonstrate that employers value their team’s wellbeing. These gestures not only show appreciation but also encourage employees to take breaks and prioritise self-care throughout the day.

It’s extremely important that acts of kindness aren’t just reserved for special occasions or awareness weeks, as this could be seen as performative and disingenuous. Instead, incorporating regular, spontaneous gestures of appreciation into the workplace culture can have a lasting impact on employee engagement and satisfaction. Whether it’s during busy times to alleviate stress or during quiet periods to boost morale, showing consistent support demonstrates a genuine commitment to employee wellbeing.

Lead by example

Promoting mental health in the workplace extends beyond small gestures though. Employers should also focus on creating an environment where open communication about mental health is encouraged. This can be achieved by offering training sessions on mental health awareness, providing resources for mental health support, and fostering a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health without fear of stigma or repercussions.

Workplace wellbeing programs should also include flexible working arrangements wherever possible, which can greatly reduce stress and improve work-life balance. Allowing employees to have control over their schedules, offering remote working options and understanding the need for time off for mental health reasons can significantly contribute to an employee’s overall wellbeing. Flexibility shows employees that they, their personal lives and mental health are respected and valued.

Employers can also benefit from creating a physically healthy workplace. This might include providing healthy snacks in the office, encouraging physical activity by offering gym memberships or organising team sports. For those working in an office, ensuring the workplace is designed in such a way to prevent physical strain and discomfort is another simple yet important factor in how to look after your employees. Physical health is closely linked to mental health, and by supporting one, employers are inherently supporting the other. To this point, office spaces with natural light, plants and good airflow have been proven to increase cognitive performance and improve psychological wellbeing.

Peer support networks can also be an invaluable resource. Establishing programs where employees can support one another, share experiences, and provide mutual encouragement can foster a sense of community and belonging. These networks can be formal, such as employee resource groups, or informal, like regular team lunches or social activities that bring employees together in a relaxed setting. This can be especially beneficial if you employ remote workers who otherwise may feel isolated.

Consistency is key

Ultimately, promoting mental health in the workplace is about pioneering a culture of compassion, understanding, and support. While grand gestures can certainly make a statement, it’s the everyday actions that truly make a difference. By prioritising personal connections and incorporating small but meaningful gestures into the fabric of the workplace, employers can create an environment where mental health and wellbeing are valued and nurtured year-round.

It’s important for employers to remember that a supportive workplace culture benefits everyone. Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal to the company. This, in turn, can lead to lower turnover rates, reduced absenteeism, and a more positive and collaborative workplace atmosphere.

Employers have the power to create a place where mental health is openly discussed, genuinely supported, and consistently prioritised. By doing so, they not only enhance the lives of their employees but also build a stronger, more resilient organisation. A workplace that values mental health and wellbeing is not just a better place to work, but a more productive and successful one. Let’s make employee wellbeing a cornerstone of our business strategies, ensuring that our workplaces are not just places of productivity, but also places of support, growth, and thriving mental health.

James Malia
James Malia
Chief Growth Officer at Prezzee

James Malia is global chief growth officer and European president at Prezzee, the digital gift card brand which has created a unique personalised experience around sending e-gift cards between family and friends, employers and employees and brands to consumers. He joined Prezzee in 2021.