5 ways to make the case for a workplace wellbeing.

The New Economics Foundation describes wellbeing as the following: ‘Wellbeing can be understood as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole.’

Whilst acknowledgement of the need for workplace wellbeing has gained much ground in recent years, senior management buy-in is crucial for successful wellbeing programmes and measures to be integrated.

Why are wellbeing programmes not more commonplace or more widely adopted? A business’ most important asset is its staff, and yet in the UK less than half of businesses have any kind of formal wellness programme, and according to a recent CIPD report, only of 6% have a stand alone mental health policy.

Read on for 5 compelling arguments to help make the case for workplace wellbeing.

1  Wellbeing programmes improve financial prospects

Put simply, wellbeing pays. A 12 year study by Fortune demonstrated that organisations with a focus on wellbeing had an annual return 6.23% higher than those without. Staff who work for companies who invest in  well being are shown to go the extra mile (Moliner 2008),  exhibiting greater levels of service and subsequently returning higher customer satisfaction.  

What’s more, 78% of engaged employees would recommend their company’s products of services, against 13 per cent of the disengaged (Gallup 2003).


2  Wellbeing as the primary pursuit of mankind

Since the beginning, humanity’s primary driver has been to improve wellbeing, either on a societal or individual level. Wellbeing, in its various forms, is not a new concept - improving wellbeing is at the forefront of all good government and charitable activity. Wellbeing, put simply, is about ‘how we are doing’ as individuals, communities and as a nation.

The census of 2011 asked the nation for the first time how it was doing; asking adults personal wellbeing questions and aiming to gauge how people felt about their lives. If our nation is now acknowledging the need to look beyond its bottom line as the sole marker of prosperity, then so must the businesses that make up its economy.

As awareness grows and expectations evolve, so wellbeing will be seen to become evermore integrated throughout organisations. Earlier adopters of these approaches will reap the rewards.


3  Improving wellbeing improves the health of staff.

The health of employees is vital to a healthy organisation. Wellbeing programmes can improve the health of employees, directly reducing levels of absenteeism, presenteeism and leavism.

From a WHO report on the effects of poor mental health at work: The productivity of individuals with unsupported mental health needs may decline while at work. Mental health problems can affect work performance in terms of increase in error rates, poor decision-making, loss of motivation and commitment, tension and conflicts between colleagues.

A healthier employee tends to be more engaged, confident, creative, motivated and of course, more productive.


4  Wellbeing programmes promote stronger organisational culture

Wellbeing programmes are often designed to bring employees together to interact in new contexts and new frameworks, improving inclusion and focusing on reaching all employees. This helps people to form better relationships with their colleagues, improving organisational culture and communication.

Strengthening organisational culture increases trust. As the Great Place to Work Institute says, “our data shows that building workplace trust is the best investment your company can make.” It also leads to an increased loyalty, and thus lower levels of staff turnover.

For millennials and ‘Generation Z’ workers, who will make up over 50% of the workforce by 2020, greater importance is placed on working conditions and organisational culture. An effective wellbeing strategy will become increasingly key to attracting and retaining the brightest talent.


5  Wellbeing programmes develop resilience

Improved wellbeing develops greater individual resilience, improving ability to deal with adversity and change within an organisation.

A company will find it far easier to effectively implement change with a happier and more engaged workforce where there is a greater level of trust.

Furthermore, in supporting positive wellbeing at work, organisations raise levels of positivity and self esteem within individuals. This raises job satisfaction, with direct spill-over into private lives, which in turn improves how people feel about their work outside of their jobs.


In conclusion, implementing and maintaining wellbeing programmes as part of a well-considered overall strategy will improve a company’s financial prospects and productivity as well as improving organisational culture, resilience and both physical and mental wellbeing of staff.

On:song supports wellbeing and mental health in business through choirs and vocal workshops. Singing is proven have a multitude of benefits on an individual level, both physical and psychological, and for groups it is an incredibly powerful way to bring greater cohesion and cooperation. Group singing is also really fun, with huge intrinsic benefit to be realised whilst sharing a pleasurable experience with colleagues.

George Bell