Attaining the elusive work-life balance is top of the agenda for most UK employees just now, with 56% of people saying they’d accept a lower paid job in exchange for better balance. And there’s a strong business case for it too, with one study finding that employees attribute higher value to employers who work to improve their wellbeing.
Leadership, employee wellbeing, and productivity development expert Daryl Woodhouse gave these 9 tips to improve staff wellbeing at Christmas and beyond!
1. Avoid reactivity. “From training leaders and teams from hundreds of organisations in a wide array of industries, I can share that one of the main reasons for people wanting to leave their jobs is a short term mindset by employers. For example, there is the common tendency to be ‘reactive’ to working in the business day to day. In other words, this is dealing with one situation or problem at a time. It is often compared to firefighting and can be stressful for employees. The good news is that employers can enhance profits whilst improving employee morale, wellbeing, and retention with a switch to long term growth strategies.”
2. Consider the extra costs of Christmas. “There are many causes of employee stress that can be consistent at all year round, and of course, for some, such stress and worries can be amplified by increasing costs of Christmas present shopping, party food and drinks, alongside efforts to limit higher energy costs by enduring as many home hours as possible with the heating off. Sprinkle in the winter impact of shorter daylight hours, reduced vitamin D, and higher frequency of colds/flu/covid, it can be a depressing time of year for many. Consideration of how to support staff with rising costs at Christmas and in the winter can go a long way to boosting employee wellbeing.”
3. Improve communication. “It sounds simple but ask employees what can make a difference for them to reduce stress, improve wellbeing, and increase their motivation. Then it is time to listen before acting on what was heard. Be sure to provide excellent communication to clarify what was heard, and what will be done in response. Put the actions into a robust change project and apply solid project management foundations to capture and communicate success as well as challenges, then review, adjust, and repeat.”
4. Promote healthy work-life balance boundaries. “In order for employees to truly attain positive work-life balance and wellbeing, there often has to be a change of culture within the organisation. Promotion of healthier work-life balance boundaries modelled by leaders, investing in employees, and productivity skills training are just a handful of actionable initiatives that make a big impact for employee wellbeing.”
5. Do it for the right reasons. “Employers have a serious responsibility for supporting employee wellbeing on a number of fronts. Legal advisors may reference directors’ duties, employer’s liability, and duty of care to staff as a few genuine reasons to take this seriously. That said, prioritising staff wellbeing shouldn’t be just because ‘we have to do it’ as employers. It should be that ‘we want to do it’, firstly because looking after our team is the right thing to do, and secondly because employers that do this properly, and not as a shallow tick box exercise, are proving to be more successful financially.”
6. Give rewards that employees really want. “Rewards are important for employee motivation and wellbeing, but leaders could do better by avoiding a common mistake that is incredibly wasteful of valuable resources. I am talking about those instances where a few senior personnel decide what the employee rewards should be, based on their own opinions. Few organisational leaders have time to really get to know every employee well, so they need to work smart by using data to guide them. Simple surveys to ask employees to rank their top ten employee reward methods can go a long way in better informing leadership decisions for investing in employee reward initiatives.”
7. Offer understanding and support. “For individuals in organisations or sectors where Christmas is a particularly busy trade season, and with kids off for school holidays or snow days, it can be an exhausting time of year for employees. When employers are not doing enough to understand, and deeply support their workforce with reducing work stress at the source, then it is no wonder we see a rise in burnout, sick days and resignations during the winter season. Understanding of the additional burdens that employees may face and putting support in place to minimise the impact of busy work periods, can lessen the stress that employees may feel.”
8. Offer choice in rewards and incentives. “I’ve seen far too many employers lazily send bottles of white wine to every employee, when many do not drink alcohol, and many of those that do drink, simply do not like white wine. The result of an employee receiving an ill-considered reward is often the opposite of what was intended, and the employee feels demotivated and under appreciated rather than rewarded and valued. If you are offering a universal reward or incentive, offering choice caters for varying staff needs, and shows thought and consideration, which can boost wellbeing.”
9. Stay on top of research. “Another major no brainer ‘win-win’ for employers and leaders who are serious about optimising success in tandem with taking better care of staff is to research and stay close to the top causes of job related stress in their workplace. Lack of relevant reward will be one of those causes, but also high on that list will be poor (or lack of leadership), inadequate investment in people, unrealistic workloads, and poor communication. Once you have the data to confirm root causes, you can then think tank with champion representatives from across the organisation on how to best leverage that data into meaningful change.”
Boost your staff wellbeing this Christmas with a reward your team will love