Why employers should support health and wellbeing

Xenia Koumi from the City of London Corporation on why employers should better support their employees’ health and wellbeing:

There is growing recognition of a link between being happy at work and mental, as well as general, wellbeing. This is often attributed to the benefits of having a perceived “purpose” in life and also directly and indirectly to the Five Ways to Wellbeing, as outlined by Foresight and the New Economics Foundation – “connecting” with people, including colleagues and “keep learning”, whether this is in a professional or personal sense.

The nature of the work itself has a large impact on an individual’s perceptions of it. For example, aspects like sufficient autonomy, feeling trusted and empowered by their line manager and employer, and clearly understanding how their role supports the organisation’s overall goal and purpose, are important to people loving their work.

All of the above require a balanced, two-way relationship between employee and employer that is built on trust. Employees who love their work and feel that their employer cares about their wellbeing and wants them to succeed are more likely to be more productive and less likely to leave. In turn, this brings various business benefits: attracting and retaining the best skills and talent, reduced absence and sick leave, higher levels of employee engagement, increased productivity, cost savings and reputational gain.

These are some of the key considerations of the Mayor of London’s “Good Work Standard”, which is launching later this year. Closely aligned with the London Healthy Workplace Charter, the Good Work Standard aims to set the benchmark the Mayor wants every London employer to work towards and achieve. It recognises the important role employers play in the lives of the people working for them.

For businesses keen to better support their employees’ health and wellbeing – particularly while they are at work – there are a range of free resources available. Business Healthy, a programme delivered by the City of London Corporation’s Public Health team, provides free support and signposting to City employers to help them improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce.

Employees can have a key role in shaping the way their employers look at supporting their staff’s health and wellbeing by proactively engaging with their HR teams and wellbeing champions to offer insights and suggestions. Employee engagement is crucial to ensuring that the approach is the best fit for that particular employer and for employers to understand how they can ensure their staff love their work.

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