How you can improve employee health and wellbeing in 2024

Prioritising your employees' health and wellbeing is a must for 2024. This article will provide you with our best advice for supporting your employees' health and wellbeing.

min read

Making sure your employees are healthy and happy isn't just a nice-to-have - it's essential to your business' long-term success. We've seen this action: companies that support their employees' wellbeing end up with more engaged teams. Aside from the obvious point of taking care of the people who work for you, employee health and wellbeing support can lead to greater productivity, creativity, and overall a better functioning organisation. When employees feel valued and supported, they're more likely to give their all to work. So, by focusing on their wellbeing, you're not just investing in them, you're investing in the future of your company.

Our advice for employee wellbeing

Holistic wellbeing

According to Forbes, 92% of employees said it's important to them to work for an organisation that values their emotional and psychological wellbeing. More and more employees are looking for holistic approaches to improve their quality of life. Encouraging a balanced daily routine and flexible schedule that encompasses physical, mental, and emotional wellness is key to supporting employee wellbeing. In addition to this, wait times are growing longer for public health services and eligibility criteria is becoming increasingly exclusive in healthcare, particularly around fertility treatment and what's known as a 'postcode lottery' for getting access to treatments like IVF.

More people are turning to private alternatives and therefore seeing much higher costs. The end result? More people are looking to their employer for a helping hand, whether it's financial aid or flexible work support.

Reproductive health

According to The Fertility Network UK, fertility issues now affect 3.5 million individuals. That's one in six couples. From a nationwide survey that we conducted here at Fertifa, we found out that nearly eight out of ten people said that fertility support or a fertility policy was very important when they were considering a new job or employer.

Reproductive health can have a significant impact on both your people and your business. Offering reproductive health benefits at work shows that you care about all of your employees and that you want to support them through some of life's most challenging moments. From support for surrogacy to women' health issues like endometriosis or men's health challenges such as erectile dysfunction or prostate cancer, to financial support for fertility treatments and egg freezing, reproductive health benefits demonstrating an authentic commitment to improving the wellbeing of all of your employees, at what can be an incredibly difficult time.

Mental health

The Thriving at Work review revealed that the UK economy suffers losses of up to £99 billion annually due to poor mental health. Of this, £42 billion directly impacts employers through lost productivity attributed to sickness absence, presenteeism, and staff turnover. Implementing a mental health support programme is important for creating a work environment where employees feel valued, supported, and able to thrive. These programmes go beyond addressing mental health issues reactively; they proactively promote psychological safety and overall mental wellbeing among employees. By offering resources such as counselling services, workshops on stress management and resilience, and mindfulness training, companies can help employees better cope with the pressures of work and life, ultimately reducing stress levels and preventing employee burnout.

Providing access to mental health consultations and resources is a significant added benefit for employees. It demonstrates a commitment to their emotional wellbeing and sends a clear message that their mental health is a priority for the company.

By prioritising employee mental and emotional wellbeing in the workplace, companies create a culture where employees feel comfortable seeking support when needed. This creates a workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and able to thrive both personally and professionally.

If you're looking to draft a mental health and wellbeing policy, you can find our advice and a template to use here.

Physical health

Promoting physical health in the workplace might not seem like the most important area of employee wellbeing, but it's essential for enhancing employee health. Encouraging regular walk breaks, providing healthy eating options and office snacks, and promoting physical activity initiatives such as the national bike-to-work scheme can significantly improve employee health.

Your company could lead a session on mindful eating, for example. Or your company could lead a session on hormonal health and how diet can impact this, with one of the Fertifa experts.

Generally fostering a culture that prioritises healthy lifestyle choices can further support employees in maintaining their physical wellbeing. A healthy lifestyle means a good quality of life, and this means happier employees!

Workplace flexibility

Every employee's home life and circumstances will be different. Recognising the diverse needs of employees and offering workplace flexibility is really important. We've seen firsthand at Fertifa how someone going through fertility challenges will need to work around the inflexible clinic schedules, or how a parent might need to dip out at 3pm to pick up their child from school. One third of people (30%) who went through fertility treatment took time off from work, without telling their employer the real reason why.

Implementing flexible work schedules, supporting remote teams, and creating a positive work environment that values work-life balance can enhance your employees' satisfaction and productivity. Prioritising meaningful company meetings further contributes to a supportive workplace culture. Write these flexible measures into an employee policy or employee handbook. It's important for employees to be able to see that seeking assistance or using these policies is not only encouraged but explicitly outlined.

Financial wellness education

One in two adults in the UK don’t feel confident in managing their money day to day and one in three say that thinking about their financial situation makes them feel worried.

Empowering employees with financial wellness education goes beyond just providing them with information—it equips them with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed decisions about their finances. By offering workshops, seminars, or online resources on topics such as budgeting, saving, investing, and debt management, companies can help alleviate financial stress among their employees. This not only improves their overall wellbeing but also enhances their job satisfaction and productivity.

Additionally, tailoring family wellness programmes to the needs of millennial employees (who make up almost 75% of the workforce) acknowledges the unique challenges they may face, such as balancing work and family responsibilities, saving for major life events like buying a house or starting a family, and managing student loan debt. These programmes could include benefits such as flexible work arrangements, parental leave policies, childcare assistance, or financial planning services tailored to the needs of young families. After all, life satisfaction is the most important. If employees feel satisfied with their lives as a whole, that will contribute to satisfaction with work.

Company values and culture

Creating an exceptional workplace requires more than just surface-level changes. At the heart of a good company culture is the commitment to making sure every team member feels valued, respected, and supported.

Central to this ethos is empowering employees with autonomy, granting them greater control over their roles and personal aspirations. This demonstrates genuine care for their wellbeing and individual growth. One effective method is implementing tailored individual development plans, reflecting each employee's unique strengths and ambitions. Additionally, actively asking your employees for feedback through engagement surveys or employee experience surveys cultivates a culture of transparency and collaboration.

Inclusivity must be ingrained in the company's core values. By involving employees in defining these values, you can be sure that they embody the diverse perspectives and experiences within your organisation. This collaborative approach not only enhances employee buy-in but also creates a sense of ownership and belonging.

Ensuring inclusivity is woven into these values sends a clear message that diversity and respect are foundational principles within your company. You'll be left with an environment where every team member feels empowered to bring their authentic selves to work, contributing fully to the collective success of the company.

Recognition and appreciation

It's important to recognise how much employees do for your workplace. Acknowledging their efforts will help to strengthen workplace relationships and simply make employees feel good. Things like recognition programmes and little employee wellbeing gifts can make a big difference in how they feel about their work. When you create a culture where appreciation is common, it helps everyone feel valued, supported, and excited to do their best.

In short, taking care of your employees' wellbeing is key to success in 2024. When you prioritise their health, offer flexibility, and show appreciation, you build a strong foundation for your company's future growth.

If you'd like to talk more about employee wellbeing at work, or you're thinking about implementing reproductive health benefits for your company, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Fertifa team 💜