StaySafe encourages employers to prioritise employee well-being in 2024
With workplace absences up year on year, Richard Bedworth, at StaySafe, a provider of lone worker safety solutions, is urging employers to make wellbeing a core focus in 2024 to address the alarming increase in sick days amongst employees.
The most recent figures reveal a concerning rise in employee absence, with employees taking an average of 7.8 sick days in the past year – an increase from the 5.8 they took before the pandemic. And as we settle into the world where remote and hybrid working is now the norm for millions, StaySafe believes it’s even more crucial to make well-being core to a businesses’ health and safety processes, and has given the following advice for business owners on how to make sure wellbeing is not only part of their culture, but it is felt throughout the company.
Flexible working hours are one of the most desired benefits when it comes to work, and they have long been cited as a way to attract and retain talent. But much more than that, flexible working can help when it comes to wellbeing; by giving employees the space to be flexible with working hours and even days they can take time for themselves, which in turn, helps with employee wellbeing.
Flexible working can look like simple things such as having the freedom to take a longer lunch to go for a long walk or starting later to head to an appointment – this flexibility and trust boosts employee well-being, not to mention morale.
Mental health support:
Research from last year states that 85% of workers want their employer to offer mental health support, yet just half of businesses do so. Whilst all workers can benefit from better support, research indicates that employees who work alone may be at an increased risk of stress and fatigue.
The most recent Lone Worker Landscape report revealed that more than half of incidents involving lone workers (59%) involve stress, mental health issues and tiredness. This suggests that lone workers may have a tendency to feel under increased pressure at work, work long hours or lack support from colleagues. Although business leaders mustn’t just see this as a box-ticking exercise, offering mental health support doesn’t have to be a time-consuming and overly costly exercise. Employee mental health support can be as simple as supplying access to a mental health app or other resources, physical counseling services, and having trained mental first aiders in teams.
Regular management training is not only beneficial for managers but also for their teams. Training for new and existing managers equips them with all the tools they need to be successful and supportive managers. These training programmes usually cover topics such as communication and conflict, among others, which helps managers to better identify and raise any concerns in their team, both individually and as a whole.
Employees in public-facing roles can also benefit from conflict resolution training, which can help them to de-escalate difficult or dangerous situations However, despite being incredibly important, our research found that almost half (44%) of employees hadn’t had any conflict resolution training. Employers who haven’t provided this type of training to their staff should consider doing so, as giving employees the skills they need to handle challenging situations can help to improve their sense of well-being and boost their confidence.
Communication and feedback channels:
Open up communication and feedback channels where employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns and asking for help to enable them to discuss topics that matter to them in detail. This can look like a secure email address that’s regularly monitored or a dedicated channel on Teams or Slack.
It’s also a great idea to actively seek feedback to address any wellbeing or motivation challenges. A weekly or monthly ‘pulse’ check and a twice-yearly feedback survey can help leaders when it comes to making positive changes within their business.
Virtual activities may have declined in popularity since their peak in the pandemic, but they can be a great way of boosting morale, especially if they are activities that employees value. In-person events are great if you can get staff together, but virtual events can also be incredibly interactive. Activities in the wellness space that promote physical and mental health, such as fitness classes, mindfulness sessions, and stress management workshops, are perfect for giving employees a serotonin boost.
Richard Bedworth, Sales Director at StaySafe, said, “By prioritising employee wellbeing, companies can create a positive and supportive workplace culture that not only improves overall job satisfaction but also contributes to a reduction in sick leave. But these policies and procedures must be communicated clearly throughout the business, specifically with remote and hybrid workers, who can be left unaware of changes and developments.”
StaySafe remains committed to supporting organisations in creating safer and healthier work environments through its innovative lone-worker solution which supports SMEs and enterprises across all sectors to keep their employees safe.
For more information about StaySafe, please visit here.