April is Stress Awareness Month and its annual occurrence denotes a nationwide stress epidemic. It also brings us to the recently popularised workplace wellbeing trend.
‘Wellbeing’ has become the buzzword of the modern-day office but is there more to the hype than an Instagrammable hashtag, bean bags and free green juice?
For most businesses, the idea of investing in gym equipment, meditation sessions or four-day weeks is beyond ludicrous. It’s not that they don’t see the value in wellbeing programmes or value their staff's wellbeing, it’s that there simply isn’t the budget.
But the workplace is often the precursor to many stress-related illnesses, both physical and mental. So if you’re a smaller business or simply don't have the luxury of wellbeing budget, this article puts forward some inexpensive tips for achieving wellbeing on a budget; all of which can be adapted to fit into the workplace. These include:
1. Indoor plants
Nip down to your local Homebase, easy peasy. You could even jazz up the office with some funky plant pots. Greenery and colourful leaves not only help brighten the office but your mood too. And certain plans are said to have purifying qualities that promote cleaner, fresher air.
Staying hydrated improves mental clarity, concentration and overall health. If water filters are out of the question, encouraging staff to stay hydrated with daily reminders via apps, or the provision of personal water bottles can all help boost their water intake.
3. Feng shui
Feng Shui translates literally to wind and water. Having a rejig of the office can improve lighting, ventilation and mood
4. A lick of paint
There’s a lot of the be said for the effect of colour on mood. Blue, for example, promotes tranquillity and calm.
Getting outside at lunchtime and immersing yourself in nature has been shown to have a profound impact on mood even hours later.
'Bring your pet to work' day, an office dog, or just allowing employees to bring their furry friends in regularly can massively impact the mood and dynamic of the office.
7. A good laugh
If there’s no laughter in your workplace, you already have a problem. Sometimes work can be taken too seriously, but adopting a ‘lightness of heart’ approach and embracing the office joker can do wonders for the overall mood of the office. How about sticking on some Kevin Hart at lunchtime?
Fika is the Scandinavian name given to the daily coffee break adopted by Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland (some of the happiest countries in the world). They take a break to meet with colleagues and share good coffee, pastries and cakes. Sounds good to me!
Do I need to say anymore? Get those Zs in (preferably 7-9 hours) by implementing better sleep hygiene. Reduce device use before bed, adopt a nighttime routine and a cut down on caffeine in the PM.
In the long term, healthier, happier staff will improve the bottom line. So any investment - no matter how big or small - into your staff’s wellbeing will be money and time well spent.
Feeling better in body and mind doesn’t have to involve extortionate yoga classes, hard-to-source vitamins and supplements, cripplingly-expensive spa days or long holidays in the tropics. There are simple steps we can take in our everyday lives to help us stay calm and comfortable, healthy and happy.