Inspiring Success Through Employee Wellbeing Initiatives

Employee wellbeing relates to an employee’s physical, mental and emotional health both inside and outside the workplace. With more awareness...

Employee wellbeing relates to an employee’s physical, mental and emotional health both inside and outside the workplace. With more awareness around mental health and its impact on workplace happiness and productivity, companies are seeing wellbeing initiatives as more than just short-term trends. 

But what is an employee wellbeing initiative? 

Essentially, it's a strategy through which a company seeks to improve its employees' working experience and environment, usually in support of productivity, happiness, and overall morale. And for good reason. Wellbeing initiatives aren’t only beneficial for employees. Several large studies have found happier employees are more productive and focused on work.


Examples of employee wellbeing initiatives 

Employee wellbeing initiatives will vary company to company and can be facilitated either by an in-house team or outsourced to an external agency. Engaging with employees and accessing HR data is a useful first step in getting a realistic picture of the companyUK mobile network 3 has been recognised with several awards for its wellbeing initiatives. One of the first things it did was look at company data including employee feedback forms, questionnaires, and information on the number of sick days employees were taking. From this, the company then created several initiatives, which we’ll discuss later in this post.

Identifying the issues within a business is essential. 

For example, a monthly company-wide picnic isn’t going to help if employees are struggling with excessive micromanagement. Similarly, employee burnout isn’t going to be solved by free pizza on a Friday. 

Once a programme has been designed and implemented, businesses must also monitor the impact they’re having (if any), making changes where possible and recording progress.

Wellbeing initiatives can happen at an organisational level too. Creating new systems or updating current ones can ensure managers communicate more effectively or processes become more efficient. These boost not only employee happiness but also efficiency. It could mean addressing remote and flexible working policies or restructuring roles within the company. Spill has some great ideas on its website about the types of initiatives employers can adopt, ranging from softer self-care options to ideas that address productivity, communication and organisation. Here’s a selection that we think highlights how varied initiatives can be.  


  • Create honest feedback loops 

Employees often have unique insights into the business they work for, but they may need help communicating ideas or concerns with management. Allowing honest feedback makes the employee feel heard and could lead to beneficial changes within the company.  


  • Create a ‘right to disconnect policy’ 

Remember a time before the internet when you clocked off and were done? Communication tools like WhatsApp and Teams have blurred the lines between the professional and personal side of an individual’s life. Encourage employees to schedule their working hours on these apps and appear offline when not working. Make sure that the company isn’t contacting staff outside of working hours unless in emergencies.


  • Let the light in  

Natural light can have a significant impact on both productivity and mood. According to UCLA Health, artificial light is associated with poor sleep, low mood and depression. Find ways to allow natural daylight to flood the office and see if it translates into a more engaged and productive workforce. 


  • Encourage horizontal movement 

Don’t assume that people always want to move up in the company. They may prefer to move to other departments, perhaps in another role or responsibility. Some companies have a secondment policy. Others prioritise internal hires over external.  


  • Train your managers 

Managers are best placed to recognise any well-being and productivity issues as they arise, which can help prevent employee burnout and ensure that everyone in the company is working as efficiently and effectively as possible. Training managers as mental first-aiders or establishing clear communication processes between line and upper management are two examples of how employee well-being can benefit both the company and individual employees. 




Perkbox makes several suggestions too. For example, making lunch breaks mandatory. In the UK, employees are legally entitled to a 20-minute break if they work 6 hours or more, but 1 in 6 employees feel guilty when leaving their desks. There are several benefits to taking short breaks during the day.

One of the most notable was revealed by private healthcare company BUPA which reported that UK companies lose around £50 million per day in productivity by employees failing to take a lunch break. Their research concluded that this is likely due to an afternoon slump, with 48% of workers feeling their productivity drops significantly around 3 pm. Those who work through lunch are also more likely to use caffeine, chocolate, sugary snacks and sweets for energy which only comes with a short-term energy boost. Physical activity is another means of increasing employee well-being and can also boost productivity. This could be as simple as setting up walking meetings in the morning, subsidising gym membership or installing an ECO:POD, where employees can exercise on electricity-generating indoor bikes, benefitting their physical and mental health but also helping the company reduce its carbon footprint and creating free clean electricity for computers and phones.  

Other wellbeing ideas might include introducing a flexible working policy or offering remote working positions. It could be creating a break area with comfortable chairs and large tables, encouraging people to take lunch there, and having a space for collaborative meetings. Some companies arrange networking events so that people working in different departments can meet one another to help build company culture and cohesion. Employers might also want to reward hard work with praise and prizes too. 


Real-World Examples of Employee Initiatives  


Brighton-based SEO company Propellernet puts 5% of its profits into a wellness fund, which the team then draws on to spend on things that support happiness and productivity. Historically, this has included a subscription to the Headspace app, membership to Hamstead Heath Swimming Ponds, and horse-riding lessons. Staff also have access to third-party 1-2-1 coaching, opt-ins for life insurance and access to mental health first aiders. The company also offers unlimited holidays to employees.


Asana is famous for developing workplace and project management software (we use it here at Energym), so it makes sense that the company also has a robust employee wellbeing programme. Asana offers daily yoga sessions and free gym membership to its employees. They also have in-house chefs that cook nutritious meals and a company-wide ban on holding meetings on Wednesdays.


Earlier in this post, we mentioned mobile network provider 3. It has an award-winning wellbeing policy that includes head office personnel and people working in their retail stores. The company splits wellbeing into three categories – energise, connect, and balance. Through this the company offers a range of wellbeing initiatives including free flu jabs each winter. Interestingly, during a two-hour period each Wednesday, employees are encouraged to participate in other non-work-related activities. HR Magazine writes that 3's Reading office has a cycling club. Other employees used that time to set up a meditation class. Someone else is writing a book. 3 also offer a digital GP service and mental health training.  


How to ensure success when creating an employee wellbeing initiative.  

  • Identify what you hope the well-being initiative will achieve. Are there any specific areas of the business which require attention? Company and HR data will help. Check turnover, sales, staff turnover, sickness days, holiday take-ups, exit interviews, etc. You’ll also want to ask employees about their experiences and opinions – their feelings and perceptions about the company. What worries them about their job and keeps them up at night? 

  • Get key decision-makers on board with any initiatives right from the beginning. It may also be helpful to gather people from different business areas so that there’s a broader pool of experience. 

  • You’ll also need to find a way to track goals and measure progress. This will make it much easier to identify what’s working well and what needs adapting. The goals and initiatives you start off with may look very different to what happens later. Tracking milestone may also make it easier for those paying for these initiatives to see that it’s working. Asking for employee feedback helps too. Successful initiatives can also be used in PR and on social media too, showcasing the organisation as somewhere that values employee wellbeing. Equally, happier employees are also more likely to be ambassadors for the company both online and in person.


What impact can employee wellbeing initiatives have on businesses?

Several key studies have found a link between happy engaged employees and productivity. 

One study by Yale University found that happier employees were more likely to upsell to customers and generate more sales. Another study found happier salespeople can raise sales by up to 37%. This was something an Oxford University study found when it found that happier salespeople at a BT call centre had a higher sales conversion rate that their unhappy peers, despite working the same number of hours. The same study also found that happier employees were around 13% more productive overall.  

Daniel Goleman who is a Harvard Psychologist wrote a book which detailed one study that found for every 2% increase in employee happiness, revenue grew by 1%. One study by Gallup found that engaged employees accounted for a 41% lower absenteeism. If you follow our posts regularly, you might remember reading that happier employees can boost a company’s stock price. Stock prices for Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for rose 14% between 1998 and 2005, compared to just 6% for those that didn’t make the list.  

There’s a temptation among some employees to treat wellbeing as a one-off short-term fix. The type of remedy that can happen in one fell swoop – free pizza, a few beanbags in the office, or taking the team out for bowling or burritos. The reality is that employee wellbeing will be most valuable to companies that create longer-term initiatives.  

We hope you’ll find some of the information and suggestions above useful for researching or building your own employee wellbeing initiative. Find out more about supporting employee well-being and sustainability through exercise with electricity-generating indoor bikes.   



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