4 small ways you can increase employee well-being based on research
Employee well-being directly affects how employees think and feel about their work and organization. In the best organizations, employees do not see their work as a source of unhappiness or constant stress, but as a contributor to their positive mental well-being and overall happiness and satisfaction.
Employee well-being also has important implications for productivity and work relationships: Healthy and happy employees are more likely to trust their managers, follow company rules and policies, bring value to improve their organizations, and work effectively with their team and other coworkers to achieve goals. These behaviors contribute to a high-performing organization that is productive and innovative, so it is not surprising that employee well-being is positively associated with customer satisfaction.
Based on the research we did for Booking.com as part of their well-being program, B.Well, here are a few small ways you can improve your employees’ well-being:
🌿 Bring nature to your people
A study conducted in the Netherlands found that bringing natural elements, like plants, indoors has stress-reducing properties through the “perceived attractiveness of the room.” It creates a kind of healing environment for its inhabitants. You can even go one step further and encourage your employees to spend time in nature; being in nature for as little as 30 minutes a day can increase mood, well-being, and mindfulness. Ultimately, the feeling of being more connected to nature is associated with higher levels of happiness.
🌸 Promote mindfulness activities
The term “mindfulness” is just about everywhere these days – from schools and hospitals to popular news outlets and magazines. Rooted in Buddhism, mindfulness means “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” Research shows that doing yoga is effective for enhancing emotional well-being and resilience to stress in the workplace. Similarly, meditation and other breathing exercises have been shown to reduce anxiety and improve subjective well-being.
👋 Foster opportunities for social contact
We’re not talking about meetings or calls here. We’re talking about intentional moments to check-in, an informal chat at the coffee machine, even a passing “hello, how are you?” in the hallway. This “social buffering” has a positive influence on the psychological and physiological response to stress in social animals, including human beings. In human speak, social contact and building social bonds reduces stress and anxiety.
🚲 Encourage active travel
In a study that explored the relationship between active travel (e.g. walking, cycling) and psychological well-being, researchers found that employee well-being is higher when using active travel or public transport than it is when driving to work. Think about how you can encourage active commuting, such as walking, cycling, and taking public transport, instead of car travel to improve your employees’ well-being.
Whether your next step is buying a plant, offering a yoga class, or incentivizing active commuting, just know that you will be taking one step closer to increasing your people’s mental and emotional well-being, thus leading to a better, more healthy organization at large.
👉 Need help building a well-being program for your organization? Give me a call!
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