Workplaces are going beyond traditional health and safety requirements for their employees and emphasising more holistic wellbeing, with mental health and financial wellness new areas of employee benefits being offered. Keep reading for 4 easy changes to make workplace wellness a priority for you!
It’s no surprise that mental health is a key concern for small business owners. The latest MYOB Business Monitor shows around 75 per cent of small business owners experienced mental health concerns related to running their business in the past year. Around a quarter of the respondents now offer wellness initiatives for their employees, something we expect will increase in the coming years.
Even before the disruption of 2020, the Employee Experience team at MYOB were looking beyond traditional offerings of employee ‘perks’ like gym memberships and free food toward more holistic wellness offerings that provide benefit for employees, particularly in a more flexible working environment.
In the same way that health and safety in the office has evolved beyond a first aid kit of band-aids and bandages, employers of all sizes are now looking into more ways to support their team in terms of their mental and financial wellbeing.
The expanded wellness offering can be adapted to small businesses that also want to add real value to the employee experience and increase meaningful support for their team.
4 ways to support workplace wellness
Evolve to meet new challenges
2020 was a year of tremendous upheaval, including increased remote working for many, changing government restrictions, business and border closures and the financial and emotional impact these had on Australians. We recognise we need more ways for our teams to access different kinds of support, and those that centred around a physical workspace, such as hosting in-person events, would be less relevant.
This led to us exploring new possibilities that don’t rely on physically gathering, such as online events, video updates from leaders and emphasising available benefits that occur outside the workplace, such as financial benefits.
Talk to your team
The best way to find out what employees want is to ask them. A survey is an effective tool to ensure you’re focusing on high impact activities. The participation and response from internal surveys provides the basis for wellness offerings. When it becomes clear that financial hints and tips would add value, look to introduce a financial wellness hub for example, via FlareHR.
Team members may be able to access financial benefits such as free financial coaching, access to retail and technology discounts as well as discounted offerings from banks, health insurance agencies and even online exercise subscriptions. Look at implementing a training module specifically designed to help improve individual financial wellness, focusing on managing cash flow and setting financial goals etc. Small businesses may be able to extend some of their business relationships for employees’ personal use too – such as travel insurance or discounted hotels or flights.
Recognising that one in five Australians will experience a mental illness, it is advisable to have team members accredited as mental health first aid officers, reducing the barrier to mental health support in the workplace. While not replacing professional assistance, mental health first aid is designed to make it easier to seek help from a workmate, and for trained team members to assist where they can and refer to professional services where appropriate.
There are many free tools available for small business owners, such as the Smiling Mind Small Business program, as well as ways to support the mental health of their employees. Workplaces can take part in a month of mindfulness, group meditations or similar, to promote healthy minds in the workplace.
Make it easy to access
Think about when and how your employees might need or want to access these resources. The aim is to have information on employee wellness available for team members to access as and when required, which they can do in their own time and privately if they wish.
Once you have your wellness offering in place, make sure employees are aware of, and can access, what’s available – discreetly if necessary. Ensuring your team are well supported in terms of all aspects of their wellness, should be first and foremost, particularly during and after a pandemic.
For more tips and resources to support the health and wellbeing of your workplace, please reach out to our Team, we are here for you.