6 workplace wellbeing ideas that won’t cost your NFP a cent

There are thousands of reasons to invest time and energy in fostering greater wellbeing in your workplace.

Of course the most important reasons are focused on a genuine concern for your colleagues’ wellbeing, and also a broader commitment to creating a workplace where people truly enjoy and are fulfilled by their work.

Beyond these, there are also arguments that a healthy workplace makes economic sense for your organisation too. Some of the key research findings include:

  • For every dollar invested in workplace health and wellbeing programs, there is a return on investment of between three and six dollars.
  • Reduced performance due to mental health issues costs employers two to seven times more than absenteeism.
  • The cost of work-related injury and illness to the Australian economy is estimated to be $57.5 billion, of which employers pay over $10 billion.

So where should you start?

Whatever role you play in your organisation, there are many things you can do to encourage greater wellbeing at your NFP. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Create “Wellness Action Plans” with your team

A Wellness Action Plan (WAP) is a personalised and practical tool that moves away from the reactive management of absence due to sickness, towards supporting staff wellbeing year-round – whether they’re currently experiencing mental health problems or not.

It’s a flexible document that’s written and owned by each individual staff member as an expression of his or her own personal choices, experiences and mental health needs.

You can read our guide to drawing up a WAP with your team here.

2. Try a walking meeting

Why have a meeting sitting down when you can have it walking?

Movement through the day is of huge importance to physical and mental wellbeing. Having meetings walking instead of sitting can give you can your colleagues the opportunity to take a break from the office environment, get some fresh air and physical activity, while still maintaining productivity.

According to Rose O’Sullivan – formerly of the Young and Well CRC – who implemented walking meetings back in 2014,

Feedback from the team has been that the meetings are more relaxed, informal, good for generating ideas and problem solving, and are often more engaging. We have found that the change in environment can help team members move into a different headspace, stimulate creativity, and open up their thinking.

Read tips on how to make walking meetings work for you here.

3. Encourage pets in the office

Studies show that having a pet in the office can help increase happiness and reduce stress for staff and volunteers alike.

There may be some logistical challenges to resolve though, so have a read through these valuable tips from Animals Australia’s Natasha Reus, who works with as many as 6 dogs in the office on any one day!

4. Eat lunch together

Not taking a lunch break is bad for anyone’s health.

Studies show that people who don’t eat lunch are not only more likely to “graze” throughout the day – which leads to an increase in food consumed – but when staff eat lunch at their desks they also miss out on opportunities to interact with colleagues, share ideas, and build communities and networks of support with those around them.

On the other hand, preparing and/or eating food together can have a significant positive impact for all the same reasons!

So why not organise a regular team lunch?

5. Stand up!

The World Health Organisation says it’s the fourth-biggest killer on the planet, ahead of obesity.

It’s the humble office chair – or more broadly, the physical inactivity the office chair causes.

And while your organisation should really consider a significant investment in “standing desks” which allow staff to work either sitting or standing, while you’re waiting for the budget for those be be approved, try these totally free tips from government health and workplace safety agency Comcare:

  • Stand up at your desk every 30 minutes (set at reminder on your computer)
  • Do reading while standing at a filing cabinet
  • Drink water more frequently – and don’t keep it at your desk, walk to get a new glass each time you drink
  • Stand while talking on the phone
  • Encourage standing meetings
  • Encouraging staff to walk or cycle part of the way to work (read our tips on this here)

6. Encourage your team to go home on time

About 1.5 million Australian workers will work more than 50 hours this week. That’s not good for their own mental health, nor for your organisation’s work.

A Boston University study found that managers were unable to discern between staff who worked 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to but actually put in far less time at the office – there was no evident difference in quality or volume of work.

Read three more reasons to encourage your team to go home on time here.

That’s six! Do you have any other ideas to share? Please leave them in the comments section below.

Image: Flickr/gsj11berlin

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