Elevating Workplace Wellness: The Importance of Supporting Employee Mental and Physical Health

Happy employees

As today’s fast-paced business world becomes ever more competitive, organisations must recognise the significance of supporting their employees’ mental and physical health.

Since 2019 there has been a steady increase in economic inactivity in the UK – the number of working age adults not available to work due to long-term sickness – with The Resolution Foundation, stating as many as 2.7 million working age adults are too sick to work.

On a global level, research by Gallup also suggests that unmotivated or disengaged employees – known as ‘quiet quitters’ – make up around 59% of 122,416 of workers. A further 18% are ‘loud quitting’ by sharing openly that they are unhappy at work.  Social media trends such as #QuietQuitting and #ActYourWage have reached over 1.2billion views and their virality confirms the extreme levels of stress and burnout impacting workforces.

Post Pandemic, the lines between work and home have become even more blurred with hybrid working being standard.  Add feeling totally miserable at work to the ‘normal’ ups and downs of life, the current cost of living crisis, the increase in cancer diagnosis, climate change and global unrest and it’s not difficult to understand why absenteeism due to poor mental and physical health is at an all time high.

That’s why forward thinking organisations need to be fully focused on employee wellbeing.  There are many benefits to be gained from prioritising employee wellbeing and here I outline why it’s crucial for employers to provide all round support for their employees and the positive impact it has on both individuals and the company as a whole:

  1. Enhanced Employee Performance:

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When employees are mentally and physically healthy, they are more likely to perform at their best. By investing in employees’ health, organisations create an environment where individuals can thrive, produce higher quality work and be more motivated.

  1. Reduced Absenteeism and Increased Presenteeism:

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At Zonal we appreciate that by having happy and healthy employees we have happy customers, which is why we offer a ‘WeCare’ service, which is free to all our staff and their immediate family.  Providing resources such as mental health programmes, a network of mental health first aiders, access to round the clock advice and support, readily accessible GP appointments, prescription delivery services and flexible work options, allows employees to address their health concerns quickly, and significantly reduces absenteeism. Simultaneously, addressing presenteeism, which refers to individuals being physically present but not fully engaged, also becomes crucial. By nurturing employee wellbeing, organisations prevent burnout, stress-related illnesses, and other conditions that hinder optimal productivity.

  1. Enhanced Employee Engagement and Satisfaction:

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Organisations that prioritise employee wellness create a positive work culture that fosters engagement and satisfaction. Employees feel valued when their wellbeing is acknowledged and supported, resulting in increased loyalty and retention. Furthermore, a healthy work environment encourages teamwork, collaboration, and open communication, fostering an atmosphere of trust and positivity.

Quiet quitting or presenteeism refers to individuals being physically present but not fully engaged, so by nurturing employee wellbeing, and fostering trust, and collaboration, this can be avoided, and organisations prevent burnout, stress-related illnesses and other conditions that hinder optimal productivity.

  1. Positive Work Culture:

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By prioritising employee wellness, you can also create a positive work culture that fosters engagement and satisfaction. From employee feedback we know they feel valued when their wellbeing is acknowledged and supported, resulting in increased loyalty and retention. Furthermore, a healthy work environment encourages teamwork, collaboration and open communication – all of which support happiness and fulfilment at work.

  1. Cost Savings:

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Investing in the mental and physical health of your workforce also makes financial sense as it can lead to substantial cost savings. Not only are employees more productive, but by promoting and supporting wellbeing, companies can reduce healthcare costs, minimise recruitment and training expenses, which all lead to an improved bottom line in the long run.

  1. Attracting [And Retaining] Top Talent:

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A company’s biggest advocates should be its employees.   If your employees feel like their wellbeing matters and that they are not just a ‘number’, then they are more likely to remain with you. A workplace that prioritises employee wellbeing sets itself apart, strengthening its employer brand and ability to attract top talent. A company that genuinely cares about its employees’ mental and physical health becomes an employer of choice for potential candidates who seek a nurturing and supportive work environment. A positive reputation in this regard can also enhance customer perception and trust.

  1. Creating a Supportive Environment

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With serious illness on the rise, and an ageing population, organisations need to be able to support employees who find themselves or their nearest and dearest having to deal with serious or critical illness. It’s important to be able to offer practical help and support, time to listen and financial reassurance. Policies need to reflect this.

In summary, a comprehensive approach to wellbeing that addresses both physical and mental health not only benefits individual employees but also contributes to a more productive, engaged, and supportive work environment.

Organisations that recognise and invest in both employee mental and physical health reap numerous benefits. By prioritising a healthier workforce, businesses witness improved performance, reduced absenteeism, increased engagement, and enhanced employee satisfaction.

Moreover, the financial advantages, boosted reputation, and strategic recruitment position can guarantee long-term success. It is vital organisations understand the importance of fostering a culture that supports employees’ all round mental and physical wellbeing, ultimately creating a win-win scenario for both employees and the employer.

If you liked this blog then you might also like to read the importance of workplace engagement

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Picture of Catriona Dick

Catriona Dick

Head of Human Resources