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Health and Wellbeing: Understanding your role in a healthy workplace

20 April 2022

A healthy workplace benefits everyone. From senior to junior, board to graduate, everyone has an important role to play.

In this blog, we discuss the importance of health and wellbeing at work and explore the key roles that managers and employees have in creating and maintaining a healthy work environment.

What is a healthy workplace and why does it matter?

A healthy workplace is one that safeguards the mental health and physical wellbeing of all individuals within it. They have strong internal cultures where people feel included and inspired to want to come to work each day. They have strategies and tactics in place to help manage and minimise the anxieties that individuals uniquely experience. They are supportive environments for all employees irrespective of seniority and individual differences.

A healthy workplace is good for everyone. For individuals, it positively correlates with improved health, happiness, productivity, motivation, job satisfaction and performance. For companies, it boosts team morale, talent attraction and retention, internal engagement and bottom-line performance. According to PWC research, every dollar spent on creating a healthy workplace can, on average, result in a positive return of 2.3 times. Not only this, but the more that organisations do to promote health and wellbeing has a positive snowball effect in the broader community.

The Role of Managers

Managers wield the power and influence that shapes the experience, health and wellbeing of employees. They create the policies, drive the strategies and make the decisions that affect how employees think, feel and behave. At it’s core, management is about supporting people to be their best in their respective role. This is very difficult to achieve outside of a healthy workplace.  Consequently, commitment and buy-in from senior managers is crucial to any successful corporate health and wellbeing strategy

Small changes can make a big difference when trying to create a healthy workplace. A discounted gym membership, nutritious snacks, vivacious plants, natural lighting, an informal conversation or a more collaborative workspace can all elicit a healthier workplace. In most cases, these are decisions that can only be made by a manager. Take a step further and managers have the power to develop specific training, adjust work models (flexibility and work-life balance) and provide access to professional support (internal or external) in a concentrated effort to boost employee health and wellbeing.

Research by AIM highlights just how important open and effective management is. 72% of Australian workers have left a job due to poor leadership, citing poor communication and emotional intelligence as key reasons for their departure. Why? Because such inadequacies impact the mental health and physical wellbeing of employees. When this is compromised, employment at a particular company quickly becomes untenable.

The Role of Employees

Employees also have an important role to play in a healthy workplace. After all, they make up the components that allows the machine to run. When these components aren’t working correctly the machine tends to breakdown. Every individual will most likely face their own unique mental and physical health struggles at some point in their career. They can be unforeseen and unpredictable. Consequently, as an employee, you are ultimately responsible for looking after your own health and wellbeing.

To do this, ideally with help from your company, you need to enhance your understanding of all thing’s health and wellbeing. Learn how to identify when you or someone else is struggling. Learn constructive ways of navigating challenging times. Learn how to find the professional support you need when you need it. By upskilling yourself in these areas, you will boost your resilience to health and wellbeing issues thereby doing your bit to create and maintain a healthy workplace.

This learning could also give you the ability to recognise and support someone else who may be struggling. While it’s not your place to diagnose or counsel someone, there are certainly things you can do to help. A simple chat about how they’re feeling can go a long way. A referral to an expert is a courageous contribution. Sharing your own health struggles can remove feelings of isolation. Temporarily alleviating some of the burden in their role could be a difference-maker. These actions all contribute to a healthier workplace. The machine works best when all components are working together and supporting one another.

In this blog we’ve highlighted the important role that each employee plays in workplace health and wellbeing. Managers must use their power and influence to promote health and wellbeing, while employees must support themselves and help others by upskilling. When all employees perform their role the outcomes of a healthy and positive workplace benefit everyone. At Ignite, we understand the importance of health and wellbeing. We work with clients and candidates who value a healthy workplace, and we make lasting employment connections that ensures people work with organisations that care about your health and wellbeing.

Talk to our team to find our more!