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How personal wellbeing can be a boost for workforce productivity

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At the helm of an ambitious company, it can be tempting to try to squeeze as much productivity out of every minute as possible. However, this approach can risk heightening your stress levels and, as a result, compromising your productivity – with weeks of productivity potentially at stake.

In 2013-14, the UK lost 11.3 million days of work – averaging 23 days per person – as a result of stress, depression and anxiety in workers, but why else should you prioritise personal wellbeing?

Incentivise employees to exercise

Debbie Williamson, who co-founded the online furniture retailer Swoon, has recalled to The Guardian the time that she introduced the “Swoon Sweater” – a workplace perk allowing her staff to weekly engage in an outdoor fitness session for free after work.

Williamson remarked: “It offers the team opportunities to mix outside the workplace, … and this contributes significantly to morale.” Psychotherapist Robert Stewart has acknowledged that exercising helps to produce hormones conducive to the regulation of employees’ motivation.

Give your employees more freedom

Right now, the average workday for your employees might adhere to a rigid structure that denies them the option of getting away from their desks for too long, except during the lunch break.

“Sitting at a desk all day can leave you fatigued, and your work suffers,” cautions Julie Creffield, who launched the Too Fat to Run campaign. However, she insists: “If you trust staff [to manage their time], you’ll have a more productive workforce.”

Expand the healthy food options at your workplace

If the current, on-site food options are largely limited to chocolate bars stacked in a dispensing machine, you ought to make it easier for your workers to eat more healthily.

Helena Mann of Crunch Accounting has remembered her firm’s initiative of offering free breakfasts as well as social areas in which to eat them. She claimed that this approach makes the advent of a workday “more relaxed”, adding: “I think starting the day like this does increase productivity.”

Express gratitude for your workers’ achievements

Mentally beleaguered people are often advised to start a gratitude journal to increase appreciation of their lives. Indeed, feeling daily gratitude significantly lowers stress and blood pressure, Forbes reports; gratitude has even been demonstrated to increase employees’ productivity by 50%.

Hence, you can certainly benefit from openly acknowledging your workers’ achievements. Fuelled with gratitude, your recruits can start feeling more enthusiastic, energetic, happy and mentally alert. Even you, the boss, can feel better simply as a result of expressing gratitude.

Act on your own initiative in supporting workers’ wellbeing

You shouldn’t wait until a mental problem clearly develops before you actually act on it. In 2013, the mental health charity Mind revealed, from a survey, 60% of workers saying that they would feel more motivated if their employer acted in support of their mental wellbeing.

It’s reassuring, then, that LifeWorks’ Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) encourages a proactive approach to protecting workers’ health. Make sure that all of your employees feel looked-after right from the start.