Embedding staff wellbeing at work

Ideas for improving wellbeing in voluntary and community groups

What is wellbeing?

Emotional health is complex. Stress and anxiety are normal and necessary responses to ordinary life. Wellbeing does not mean that we reject these emotions entirely, and they can often be useful at work. For example fear can be an excellent way of ensuring you meet your deadlines. If wellbeing is not just about pleasure or seeking positive emotions, what then does wellbeing at work cover?

People thrive most at work when they:

  • Have autonomy
  • Have job security
  • Are recognised for their contribution
  • Have a clear job description
  • Have enough money to live and a level that is demonstrably fair
  • Have challenging yet achievable objectives
  • Have opportunities to progress
  • Feel able to talk about mental health
  • Have regular opportunities to learn
  • Feel comfortable in their work environment
  • Are encouraged to be creative
  • Are physically and mentally healthy

How can you support wellbeing at work?

Organisations can support wellbeing by looking at the workplace structures and culture.

We should:

  • Have a clearly defined mission, vision and values
  • Contribute to a better and more equal society
  • Build a culture of trust and acknowledgement
  • Set expectations around healthy behaviour
  • Encourage discussions about mental health
  • Have clear structures for assessing wellbeing and for when things go wrong
  • Provide line managers with training
  • Set expectations around meetings and email

How can you embed wellbeing whilst working remotely?

Tips for line managers managing remotely: click here to download

How to embed wellbeing after COVID?

  • Regularly ask your staff how they are feeling. Try this survey from What Works Wellbeing, which you can compare with results from the rest of the country.
  • Look at how you can build wellbeing into the existing structures of your organisation, e.g. job adverts, inductions, return to work interviews, risk assessments etc.
  • Think about the culture of your organisation and if there’s anything you could change, e.g. long working hours, not taking lunch breaks, not recognising achievements or saying thank you.
  • Build wellbeing practices into your work life, by for example spending a few minutes in each meeting asking how everyone is, or taking part in a 3-minute guided mindfulness session.
  • Share wellbeing resources widely. See this document for ideas.