Why is workplace wellbeing important?
August 15, 2023
The undeniable benefits of wellbeing in the workplace
Wellbeing at work matters, now more than ever.
Recruitment challenges are being felt in almost every sector and keeping great people is essential to business continuity. Prospective (and current) employees are looking at more than just pay rates to decide where they want to work.
There’s a growing appreciation for the importance of wellbeing in the workplace. Companies that value and invest in workplace wellbeing are known as good places to work, and that’s where people want to be.
They’re also places where great things happen. The positive results of workplace wellbeing flow from the people on the ground to the bottom line of the finance spreadsheets, with increased productivity, creativity, customer satisfaction and sales.
Building a culture of wellbeing
Workplace wellbeing is about more than simply looking after the health and wellness of individual employees. It’s about organisational culture – the environment and practices within a workplace that shape each day in a way that is fulfilling and motivating, or stressful and discouraging.
Creating and maintaining wellbeing in the workplace requires more than a one-off wellness event, yoga at lunchtime, or healthy eating support for staff. It comes from wellbeing-focused practices and values at every level of an organisation – really understanding what wellbeing is, and how to support it in the workplace.
The features of a positive work environment and culture are best described by the Mental Health Foundation (2018):
- positive emotional climate – cultivating and expressing positive emotions
- education and awareness – educating employees on mental health and wellbeing
- effective communication – communication based on trust, respect and civility
- not tolerating bullying or harassment
- collaborative teamwork – working well together to share knowledge and achieve goals
- diversity and inclusion – engaging the strengths of a diverse workforce.
Other factors that influence a culture of wellbeing include positive workplace relationships, autonomy and trust, making the workplace psychologically safe, and ensuring employees have a sense of purpose in their work.
Organisations that invest in workplace wellbeing report higher productivity and sales, more creativity, and higher customer satisfaction. Staff have higher morale and low stress levels, and recruiting and retaining great people is a lot easier.
Workplace wellbeing – the legal requirements
Alongside the benefits of wellbeing in the workplace, organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand have a legal responsibility to manage risks to wellbeing and mental health, just as they do for any other workplace health and safety risk.
Wellbeing is now an area of focus for governance, as well as an operational requirement. This includes:
- not tolerating discrimination, harassment or bullying
- taking steps to reduce work stress that may lead to mental health harm
- making adjustments to support people who are experiencing mental distress.
The following legislation covers aspects of workplace wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand.
- The Health and Safety at Work Act (2015)
- Human Rights Act (1993)
- Employment Relations Act (2000)
- Privacy Act (2020)
- Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act (2018)
- Accident Compensation Act (2001).
On all fronts, it’s clear the positive impact of creating and maintaining workplace wellbeing brings a range of benefits to everyone. From individual employees to the workforce as a whole, governance requirements and the wider sector, workplace wellbeing works.
Learn more with Leading Wellbeing at Work
Blueprint for Learning’s Leading Wellbeing at Work workshop helps leaders and managers to create healthy workplace cultures and support sustainable teams in a robust way while ensuring they support their own wellbeing.