You might think that when finances are tight for businesses, staff well being initiatives would be the among the first things to be axed to save money. However, research suggests that this isn't necessarily true.
A recent survey has shown that businesses feel that investment in staff well being is still worth it, despite, and in some cases because of, the recession. In fact, more than half believe it is 'more important' in the current financial climate. These were the findings of research undertaken by the Institute for Employment Studies.
The snapshot research which surveyed 50 employers showed that the issue of well being at work is high on the long-term agendas of a range of companies.
Responses collected from employers in both the public and private sectors suggested that businesses recognise the importance of continuing to focus on staff well being in the downturn, through providing training, improving communication at all levels and through the creation or implementation of solid underlying HR policies.
Claire Tyers, Associate Director leading the Work, Health and Well being research team at the Institute for Employment Studies, commented: "Employers appear to have accepted that improving well being has positive implications for staff efficiency and, ultimately, the profitability of their business.
"Therefore there is no reason to lose focus on the issue during the recession - in fact the reverse is true - it becomes more important than ever to keep people at work and working at their best when they are there."
Investing in staff well being
Having healthy staff will actually save you money in the long run. There are a number of cost-efficient ways you can invest in staff well being:
Allow flexible working. Staff allowed to work flexibly often report feeling less stressed.
Subsidise fresh fruit or other healthy eating initiatives at work.
Offer a flexible benefits package including medical insurance. Research has shown that private healthcare insurance is the second most important benefit to staff, after a pension.
Organise office sport teams or a sponsored walk for charity.
Improve communication at work and make sure staff know they can speak to someone in confidence if they have any problems.
Make sure staff are well trained so that they feel confident and happy in their work.
Investing in staff well being means investing in your business. Cutting back on it when finances are tight could end up being nothing but a false economy.