According to a Deloitte study, 60% of employees in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia would consider switching jobs to improve their quality of working life (QWL)—proof that companies still have a long row to hoe to stabilize retention.
Companies are introducing more and more initiatives to improve employees’ well-being at work. Yet these initiatives are often superficial and thus not often that effective. Contrary to popular belief, implementing a workplace well-being policy is not just a matter of offering a workshop and framed certificate of attendance. Rather, it’s about investing in actions aimed at:
- improving employees’ working conditions
- developing mobility
- enhancing conviviality
- preventing psychosocial risks
- and encouraging fulfillment in their work
So, what types of action should be prioritized? And what are the best practices to follow to truly improve your teams’ well-being while at work? Follow our guide👇
1. Offering flexibility
One good way to offer your employees greater flexibility—and therefore improve their well-being at work— is to maintain a balance between their professional and personal lives. This flexibility can take on many forms. Depending on individual needs, you could, for example, consider setting up:
- a hybrid work mode enabling employees to telework from home for part of the week
- flexible working hours, or even a shift to a four-day week, favored by 61% of employees
- a work from anywhere policy allowing employees to work wherever they want—even a tiki bar on a beach in the Seychelles—for a certain number of days a year… or 100% of the time
Wondering how to prioritize your initiatives? Collect insights from your crew! Explore their thoughts on the issue and find what could help them attain work nirvana.
2. Bring recognition
Improving well-being at work also means recognizing the value of employees’ contributions. In fact, more than three-quarters of employees surveyed by Deloitte and Cadremploi believe that recognition is one of the main drivers of quality of working life.
This recognition can take the form of:
- material rewards (salary increase, bonus, gift voucher, etc.)
- a title (e.g., to formalize promotion to a managerial role), or a cleverly named medal or trophy (such as “Top Paw” for a pet supply store, with perks to boot)
- a “kudos!”, “bravo!” or “congratulations!” communicated orally or in writing by the manager, individually and/or to the whole team
- new missions
- greater autonomy
- highlighting individual successes through dedicated internal communication, such as a post on your enterprise social network or a shoutout in your internal newsletter or at a monthly meeting.
In addition to its impact on well-being at work, recognition also boosts employee commitment and productivity by 14%.¹ In short, it costs next to nothing and goes a long way!
Psychosocial risks (PSR) such as stress, fatigue, sleep disorders, and violence (harassment, insults, and threats) can carry serious consequences for employees’ physical and mental health. According to INRS, these risks can contribute to the onset of cardiovascular disease, anxiety-depressive disorders, and even burnout.
To prevent their manifestation—and thus from having an impact on teams’ well-being at work—companies need to take preventive actions:
- Identify psychosocial risk factors
- Put processes in place that explain not only how to reduce these risks, but also how to manage them once they’ve arisen
- Raise awareness among managers and employees to help them quickly identify PSR
- Measure employee workloads to avoid unequal distribution of work, and identify any recruitment needs
- Offer support to employees who need it by proposing regular one-on-one discussions and/or putting them in touch with an occupational psychologist
- Routinely dialogue with and survey employees (via barometers, surveys, or focus groups) to find out how they are doing, and whether they’re showing symptoms linked to psychosocial risks
4. Prevent musculoskeletal disorders
According to a study by the Health and Safety Executive, the office that oversees workplace safety in Great Britain, 27% of British employees suffer from musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). That should come as no surprise since many of them spend the majority of their working time seated in front of a computer. Over time, this can lead to pain and illness.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent musculoskeletal disorders and improve your employees’ health and well-being at work:
- Create comfortable, ergonomic workstations that enable employees to adopt an optimal position in front of the computer
- Make sure your employees have the same level of comfort when they’re in the office and when they’re working remotely
- Offer sit/stand desks for those who want them
- Train employees in the correct work postures to adopt, and show them how to stretch to avoid RSI
- Recommend that they take regular breaks
- Organize workout sessions at the office, or offer to finance a gym membership
5. Rethink workspace layout
The quality of the workspace also plays a key role in employees’ well-being at work. That’s why it’s important to pay particular attention to it.
For Camille Rabineau, New Workspace Consultant, “a good way to rethink offices is to offer employees a greater diversity of workspaces“, both for working individually, collaborating, but also exchanging informally. A layout that combines collaboration and conviviality, but also offers employees quiet spaces in which to work.
Several initiatives can also help make your workspace more pleasant and comfortable:
- equipment and infrastructure to facilitate communication and collaboration—both in the office and remotely (a soundproofed meeting room and/or office pods, interactive digital screens, a videoconferencing, and room reservation system)
- intelligent, modular furniture (adjustable seats and tables, or individual lamps that adjust light levels)
- office decor (such as plants, photos of your team, and anything else that reflects your business culture)
6. Promote healthy eating
Well-being at work means a healthy lifestyle and diet. Of course, there’s no question of forcing employees to eat spinach at every meal. The aim is first and foremost to make them aware of the importance of eating well, and to give them a helping hand in adopting healthy eating habits.
For example, you can:
- Set up a fully equipped kitchen with everything you need to cook and store prepared meals
- Organize a nutrition workshop to demonstrate best nutritional habits and give employees ideas for meals to bring to work at lunchtime—or to make at home when teleworking
- Deliver meal trays to employees for lunch (at home or at the workplace), allowing them to choose from several healthy options
- Offer teams personalized water bottles to encourage them to drink water regularly throughout the day
- Provide healthy snacks (fruit, granola, and yogurt)
- Launch challenges to encourage everyone to excel (like a contest for the best healthy dish or a vegetarian day)
7. Organize events that rally teams together
What better way to improve well-being at work than to organize team-building events? These events are the ideal way to bond employees and reinforce their sense of belonging to the company. We advise you to organize them regularly, and if possible, in a variety of formats.
The annual (or quarterly) seminar is probably one of the most popular business events. Generally organized over several days, it enables employees to get to know each other better through different activities, and to reflect together on one of their strategic projects.
Throughout the year, you can also organize:
- corporate parties
- fun workshops for small groups (culinary or virtual reality workshops)
- out-of-the-ordinary activities (karaoke songs, music quizzes, photo contests, escape games, treasure hunts, giant Clue board games, sports challenges)
- hybrid events that bring together a mix of office-based and remote employees
- conferences or webinars on topics of interest to your employees
8. Respect the right to disconnect
A final tip to improve your teams’ well-being at work: respect their right to disconnect.
Avoid late-night meetings, messages, and calls outside working hours (for example, firing off emails after 6pm—especially if they are preceded by the words “Urgent”…). And encourage your employees to deactivate notifications on their professional devices and tools as soon as they’ve finished their working day and during their vacations.
You should also take the time to communicate internally on this approach and to make your teams aware of best “offline” practices. Once everyone has clearly defined and agreed upon these guidelines, you can then group them together in a dedicated charter or in your internal regulations for better transparency.
Improving employees’ well-being at work involves acting on several levers at once, such as office layout, working methods, social climate and corporate cohesion, physical and mental health, and so much more! Our advice to ensure the success of your QWL approach: ask your teams for their input to better understand their needs and prioritize the initiatives to be implemented. Set an example to encourage employees to change their practices.
Want to dive deeper? Reach out to one of our experts to discover more tools and best practices for improving your teams’ well-being at work.