Take a Proactive Approach to Workplace Wellbeing

More than just an adage, prevention rather than cure appears to be a wise approach when it comes to workplace wellbeing. WorkScore reveals why businesses need to rethink the reactive way that they address mental health issues at work and how they can take a proactive approach. 

The cost of not being proactive

Traditionally, workplaces take the ‘cure’ approach to wellbeing. Many offer their employees access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides support or a ‘cure’ to a mental health or emotional issue.  While popular as a support for employees with issues,  EAP's can be costly and under utilised with many organisations only seeing usage rates around 2 - 5 %.

Whats more, anxiety levels in the workplace continue to rise, with the ABS reporting mental health issues have been rising steadily.

So what about the 95% of employees that aren't reaching out to their EAP, and are feeling anxious, stressed or depressed?

What the stats reveal: EAP's aren’t enough

In a recent review of 14,000 employee responses, WorkScore explored the common wellbeing issues of employees who experience high anxiety and regular stress at work.  A significant factor identified is that workers aren’t sticking to the recommended guidelines for health and wellness.

 Among 14,000 employees:

  • Up to 40% get fewer than six hours of sleep a night

  • Less than 50% meet the recommended amount of exercise per day

  • Just 5% eat at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit per day

  • Up to 70% of women and 52% of men report high levels of anxiety

  • Only 40% rated themselves as feeling energised

  • Unhealthy workers take up to three times more sick leave 

Employees experience a different energy crisis

Not only should businesses be worried about high anxiety levels, but they should also pay attention to dropping energy levels among employees. WorkScore’s findings show that employees who rate their wellbeing as low take twice as much sick leave as the company average, and three times more sick leave than their healthier colleagues.  

Our findings also emphasise the importance of having high energy levels for productive workplaces. Employees who report having high energy levels also have 15% better concentration levels than those with low energy. These high energy workers also report 16% higher work engagement and 20% less stress at work.

Higher energy levels also link to better mental health. Those with higher energy levels rate themselves as 28% less depressed, 26% less anxious, and 25% more positive than those with low energy levels. With just 40% of employees rate their energy levels as high, it is clear that more can be done to energise sluggish employees.

How to take a proactive approach to wellbeing 

So what would happen if, instead of reacting to wellbeing issues at work, workplaces everywhere encouraged a focus on staying healthy? What if instead of only offering EAPs that try to fix problems, businesses provided their employees with tools and information about self-care? The answer: less anxiety, higher energy levels, and a boost in employee engagement.

 Our stats reveal critical areas for a prevention approach:

1 Sleep is key

We found that those who sleep eight or nine hours rate their sleep quality 21% better than those who sleep six hours or less. Those who get the recommended amount of sleep also enjoy 20% higher energy levels than those who slept longer and 10% more than those who slept less. 

What’s alarming is that 40% of the population don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. 

When it comes to employee health, education is vital. Support your workers with information about getting the recommended amount of sleep. Don’t let a lack of sleep sap their energy, engagement, and mental wellness.

 

2.  Exercise for energy

It’s essential to get the recommended amount of activity every week – three days. Those who do rate as less stressed, had a higher concentration level and can switch off more easily  

 But the most significant benefit of exercise is to energy levels:

  • Those who exercised three or more days a week increased their energy rating by 17%
  • Those who exercised more than 40 minutes per day increased their energy levels by 15%

 

3. Good fuel matters

Even the smallest change to the diet of your employees can make a massive impact on their wellbeing. Eating the recommended five serves of vegetables a day can lead to an energy level increase of 11% compared to only eating two serves or less.

It’s a sad fact that only 32% of employees drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day. But the benefits of such a small change to drinking habits can make a tremendous difference. Just drinking eight or more glasses of water can result in 9% more energy than only drinking less than five cups.

Other ways to improve the diet and energy levels of your employees include:

  • Taking full lunch breaks regularly

  • Reducing the intake of sugary foods to one serve per day

  • Limiting the amount of sugary drinks employees drink a day.

Instead of trying to solve wellbeing and mental health issues within the workplace, you’re better off taking the proactive approach. If you encourage exercise, quality sleep, and a smarter diet for your employees, not only will workplace stress levels reduce, but energy levels will increase. Ultimately, a proactive approach towards employee wellbeing leads to happier, healthier, and more engaged workers. 

Make WorkScore a part of your wellbeing investment.

 Want to get proactive about the wellbeing of your workers? WorkScore can help. We provide businesses with the tools to gain meaningful insights into the elements that impact employee wellbeing and, ultimately, engagement. If you’re ready to create an exceptional workplace experience, contact WorkScore on 1300 972 673 or [email protected]