Workplace wellbeing – practical strategies for line managers

how can you promotes well-being in your workplace this is a brief guide for middle and senior leaders who are keen to promote staff well-being and want some pointers on how to start so the first thing is you need to understand the scope of the issue so this is about thinking how can you perhaps survey or question your existing staff to find out where the current strengths and weaknesses lie now when we go out and we start holding focus groups or we put out a staff survey we're going to get a range of things that come up some of those are going to be positive and you're going to find out that there are some great things going on that staff feel well supportive and we might think about how we can replicate that throughout the organization on the other hand you're often likely to uncover some more uncomfortable truths – and we need to be prepared to listen to those and to act on them as well so it's really important that when we enter into this questioning exercise that we realize that we're going to get in a whole range of responses and to be prepared to manage those it can be really helpful to do this sort of surveying and take a bit of a baseline of where you are and then you can make a bit of an action plan about areas that you think are requires some improvement and then you can always come back and resurvey staff periodically to see whether you seem to be making progress there or not the other thing to bear in mind is that sometimes doing this sort of exercise we will identify areas of weakness but when we take those areas of weakness and we make an active effort to kind of deal with them sometimes those are our future areas of strength so don't feel disheartened if this part of the exercise feels a little bit negative because actually you're planning for the future here and you're prepared to take action which is great okay number two in terms of positive proactive things you can do to promote the well-being of your staff thinking about their physical health is a really really simple one so I'm always encouraging people to think about the main kind of physical pillars of well-being when they're thinking about how to promote their their resilience and their mental health then my first questions always are you getting good and regular sleep do you have the opportunity to eat healthily and take a break to actually eat and also do you get the opportunity to exercise and get outside if you can and these are the things that often fall by the wayside when we're really really busy with work so it can be really helpful as an employer as a manager to have a think about how we can encourage staff to do these things so we might be thinking about how deadlines set so that we can try and prevent those kind of very very late work nights for example and we might be thinking about providing staff access to healthy snacks or making sure they get adequate opportunity to take a break at lunch time for example we might then be thinking about whether we can provide things like discounted memberships or activities or perhaps if you're a school for example you might have access to various different physical activities that staff might be able to enjoy as well so have a think about that kind of physical well-being of your staff and whether there are active things that you can do to encourage the promotion of that physical health number three is to have a think about the life work balance of your staff is that imbalance possibly not it's really common for people to get this kind of wrong and to feel quite unhappy about that and it can have a really big impact on our well-being we often feel like we're not achieving as we could or should it work but you also feel like we're not achieving as we could or should home and that can be really uncomfortable all around and cause quite a lot of sort of stress and anxious feelings and so helping staff to have a think about how we can get this balance as good as possible is really important sometimes that includes things like flexible working it might be things like having a really clear communications protocol where you suggest that perhaps emails and calls should only be made between certain times of the day the best way to have a look at this is to work with your staff have a talk to them find out what they think would be helpful because we all work differently and sometimes it's just about having the conversation allowing staff to understand that we think it's really important that you have a life outside work as well and what can we as an employer as a line manager do to support that number four is to think about what communication is like in your workplace so do you have an environment and a culture where people are able to be open and honest when they need support so that might be support with that work their work that might be support with a personal issue do you encourage help-seeking do you encourage people to address issues early on do you encourage people to share their failures as well as their successes and to work through those with colleagues where we have an open honest environment of communication it often means that people are far more able to seek support earlier on and it can prevent problems from escalating on the converse when we find that we have an environment that is closed to that kind of help seeking and support seeking then people tend to sit with their issues whether there were issues or personal issues and sometimes those issues can end up really having a massive impact on them and not be dealt with in an appropriate or swift way which can mean they escalate massively we end up kind of burning out or becoming overwhelmed etc so having an open and honest environment is really really helpful so have a think about what communication feels like in your workplace simple things like an environment where people ask how are you and they actually mean it and they expect an honest answer and they would give an honest answer if asked can make a huge difference to everyone's day-to-day working life number five is having a think about whether your workplace is one that celebrates successes now that doesn't have to be big successes so we're often pretty good at celebrating births and marriages and books being published you can tell I work in the education sector when I put book published with birth and marriage but you know and we are good at celebrating the big things but actually do you shell out about the little things do we celebrate our colleagues and each other when we make those those small steps each day which actually really make a big difference to the people that were working with so have a think about whether you could do that I've spoken to a lot of colleagues recently who've started to have shout out boards at their school so having a notice board within the staff room where they can stick post-it notes which just celebrates small achievements of colleagues or things that they found were kind or helpful and that sort of thing so basically saying thank you to someone or well done to someone over the little thing so doesn't always have to be big things so are you and your workplace good at celebrating successes and if not could you could you kind of try and engender that positive culture that poll chefs culture of celebrating the things that go well as well as obviously being supportive when things go less well I hope this steps are helpful I'd really love to hear how you get on with them and if you have any other suggestions leave a comment and let me know thank you

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