Future-proof your workforce: evolving wellbeing strategies for business success

Business partnership coworkers using a tablet to analysis graph company financial budget report and cost work progress and planning for future in office room.

As the workplace continues to evolve, so too must the strategies that support employee wellbeing and business success. As a company wellbeing coach, I have seen firsthand the impact that adaptive, forward-thinking approaches can have on a company’s productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall health. But too many businesses implement a wellbeing strategy, inform their employees that it is available for them to use and put a big tick in their ‘wellbeing strategy completed’ box. 

A static wellbeing strategy will result in just that – a static business, run by static people. Truly successful leaders continually adapt their wellbeing and business practices to meet the ever-changing needs of their workforce.

Understanding the changing landscape

The first step in adapting your wellbeing strategy is recognising the changing nature of employee needs. The modern workforce is diverse, encompassing multiple generations, each with unique expectations and challenges of how their working day, week and year should progress. External factors such as technological advancements, economic shifts, and global events (like the COVID-19 pandemic) have significantly influenced employee wellbeing and their expectations of how, when and where they want to work.

Flexibility in work arrangements is no longer a perk but a necessity. The days of an office-based 9-to-5 are over. Remote working, hybrid models, and flexible hours cater to the varying needs of employees, enhancing work-life balance. According to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), over half of UK employees want to work remotely more often post-pandemic. Employers must embrace and normalise these flexible arrangements, ensuring they have the infrastructure and policies in place to support them effectively. 

The workplace environment is also transforming; giving way to new spaces focused on fostering employee experiences and well-being. Employers wishing to entice their colleagues back to the office should take note. Dubbed ‘hotelification’ – taking it cues from the world of hospitality – workplace designers are integrating amenities, services, and hospitality-driven features aimed at enriching the overall employee journey. From cosy lounge areas to cutting-edge, collaborative meeting facilities, personalised concierge services and fitness suites, the contemporary office is being reconceptualised as a destination rather than just a place in which to work.

Prioritising mental & physical health 

But, above all, mental health remains a critical component of employee wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation found that work is the leading cause of stress in the UK, with 74% of adults feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope. Addressing this through proactive mental health support can lead to a more resilient and productive workforce and creating an open and supportive culture around mental health is equally important.

Employers can promote physical health and nutritious food options through wellbeing initiatives such as on-site workshops, gym memberships, walking meetings, and promoting active commuting. The British Heart Foundation highlights that physical inactivity costs the UK economy £1.2 billion annually. Encouraging an active lifestyle can help mitigate these costs and improve employee health, energy levels and concentration.

Encouraging professional growth

Investing in employee development and learning is a fundamental aspect of wellbeing, as are clear career progression paths and opportunities for advancement. Providing continuous learning opportunities through training programmes, workshops, and mentorship schemes helps employees grow professionally and stay engaged. The CIPD’s Learning and Development survey shows that organisations prioritising learning and development see higher employee satisfaction and retention rates.

Focus on feedback

Regularly gathering employee feedback is essential for understanding their evolving needs. Surveys, suggestion boxes, and focus groups can provide valuable insights into employee satisfaction and areas for improvement. The key is to act on this feedback, demonstrating that the company values and responds to employee input.

Conclusion 

Adapting wellbeing and business strategies to meet the evolving needs of employees is an ongoing process that requires commitment, flexibility, and proactive leadership to create a thriving work environment that supports both employee wellbeing and business success. As top-level business owners and directors, your leadership in these areas is crucial. Not only does it enhance the lives of your employees, but it also drives the long-term success and sustainability of your organisation. Commit to prioritising wellbeing as a cornerstone of your corporate strategy, ensuring that you adapt and evolve in tandem with the requests and needs of your workforce.

In the words of Richard Branson, “Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your business.” By doing so, you will build resilient, forward-thinking organisations poised for continued success in an ever-changing world.

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