What can you do as a manager to encourage wellbeing in the workplace?

April 6, 20210 CommentLeadership

As a manager, your role requires you to oversee not just the productivity and output of your team, but their wellbeing too. Different company cultures will prioritise wellbeing to varying degrees, but that shouldn’t stop you from ensuring your team is getting the best chance at working a job that is both fulfilling and rewarding for them. Your role as a manager is unique in that making wellbeing an important part of work culture is not as simple as mandating certain requirements from your staff; rather, it is something achieved through the way in which you shape your workplace and lead by example. Fostering an environment where wellbeing is valued is something you can absolutely do to boost company morale and efficiency at the same time.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is to get on the same level as your team; be careful not to preach what you yourself won’t practice! Lead by example by participating in company wellbeing programs and normalise using these resources in the workplace. Some great examples of small things you can do include leaving work on time, taking a full lunch break and not being on emails after 6pm. Even if it’s not always realistic for you, find a way to avoid putting the same expectations on your staff – for instance, if you need to send an email after 6pm, schedule it so that it arrives in their inbox once they’re on the clock again. If your team is able to see you taking part in company wellbeing initiatives as well, this will allow them to feel more comfortable also engaging with the programs. Your participation acts as a sort of co-sign that it’s acceptable to prioritise wellbeing in a work environment – so whether there’s a new walking club being formed or it’s time to get flu shots, be one of the first to sign up.

Although it seems rather simple, simply showing gratitude in the workplace can contribute enormously to a positive mental shift and morale boost among your coworkers. Overworked employees suffer increased stress levels and lower productivity, so it’s always in your best interest to keep spirits up in the office to combat this. You can certainly do this by embracing flexible working practices or incorporating fun activities into the workday, but also by just expressing more gratitude throughout your daily interactions. It encourages others to do the same, helping individuals feel more appreciated and confident in their work. Set yourself a goal every day to ‘be first’. Be the first to say hello to each employee in the morning, first to say goodbye in the evening. Be a manager who actively leads in making the environment a positive one.

How can you use your position of power for good, outside of just influence? It may not occur to you straight away, but access to better wellbeing options and healthier choices for your staff can always be improved. Just how straightforward is it for a team member to sign up to a company wellbeing newsletter – is everyone clear on and aware of how to do so? Could you facilitate a 5-minute wellbeing activity in all or your team meetings? By using your position to make wellbeing practices and habits easier and more accessible (and ensuring you communicate this to the team as well!), even the smallest actions you take can have a meaningful impact on the habits of your coworkers.

Managers have the power to initiate and create change in the workplace, and it goes hand in hand with their responsibility to look after their team and ensure they are tracking successfully. As the gatekeepers for a lot of workplace culture, habits and tasks, they can utilise their authority to allocate time and resources effectively to prioritise wellbeing. It’s simply a matter of becoming aware of your capacity to enact change, and thinking about how you can best do so to make wellbeing a focus in your unique workplace.

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