​“Wellbeing”…… is it a buzz word or something to stay?

12 August 2020 Giles Keay

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“Wellbeing”…… is it a buzz word or something to stay?

The time of businesses to just expect their staff to turn up on time and be paid for their work and expect them to be satisfied has gone. There is now a much larger expectation by employees to be provided a certain level
of support and guidance that encompasses far more than just their role.

Wellbeing is defined by the World Health Organisation as “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” And in the Collins Dictionary as “the condition of being contented, healthy, or successful”.These definitions correlate directly to Wellbeing in the workplace and what the ultimate goal of all employees and employers should have for every staff member in the business…. Including the owner or leaders!

So why is it needed?

Today we are faced with a world that is moving a such a fast pace that many people don’t have time to stop to take a breath, the cost of living is so high that it is rare for families to juggle at least 2 full time jobs and childcare/school and on top of that the social media we are all subjected to hourly portrays lives that are perfect (or so we are led to believe) only increasing the pressure for us to have equally as perfect fulfilling lives and therefore never stopping!

Technology is adding to the pressure in that if it is used wrongly it can have an extremely negative impact on an individual rather than providing flexibility for work by always making you contactable and connected
with not only by clients and colleagues for work but also your friends and family meaning that if you don’t manage it correctly you never get to switch off.

Many of us have had moments when things have seemed impossible and challenging in different aspects of our lives.I have seen first hand how these situations can seriously impact someone’s ability to focus and deliver in their role at work and then the detrimental effect it can have not only on themselves but also the business and very often their colleagues.

Why is it so important for the Infrastructure an Built Environment sectors?

Our specialist industries are some one of the highest pressured in the world focused on meeting strict time and budget parameters.It is this that can put a huge strain on the team working on a project causing many to have to work long hours to meet these deadlines often having to miss out on time for themselves and family. It is not unusual for a large proportion of staff raising issues of overwork as a primary factor when seeking
a new job and opportunity and their questioning around support and workload will be high on their list of priorities for any new company.

It is not a new concept either to realise that employees who are happy and in a state of wellbeing will always be more engaged and have a higher level of productivity than those who are not.If you wish to ensure a high level of retention of staff, then this is the first place to look before considering anything else.


So how do we ensure employees are in a state of Wellbeing?

Each business is different in respect to what resources it has or how its structure can affect their ability to implement different schemes however, it is important to realise that much of creating the right work environment can be free or very cost effective.Everything you do from creating a flexible environment, gratitude for work completed well,recognition, training and development and ensuring structure so everyone has purpose can be straightforward to commit to.

In relation to the implementation of external support to assist with EAP for instance that can incur costs but surely a small price to pay to ensure that an employee is in a positive mental state.

It is important to communicate within a business, both up and down, and for colleagues to be aware of each other and notice when things are not going so well for others. This level of communication and listening can be vital support within a company.

Implementing schemes that work

A strategic wellbeing program needs to be tailored to an organisation, many will not work as they are too generic and merely ticking a box. It is crucial that the MD/CEO and senior members of the team show and demonstrate the desired behaviours making it part of the DNA and culture of the organisation.

So, will it stay?

I personally believe that Wellbeing is no buzzword although finally we have a phrase to bring it to the forefront, this is a fundamental issue for many and it you are a manager in a business take heed, there are many
businesses in the market who are embracing this change and you do not want to be left behind.

If you are an employee in a business, make sure your voice is heard if the support is not there and if you need support yourself never be afraid to ask for help.