Seven steps to improved wellbeing at work

Workplace wellbeing can often feel hard to achieve, but it’s vital to understand how daily life choices contribute towards promoting positive wellbeing – both at work, and during your home life.

If you’re an employee looking for ways to enhance your own wellbeing at work, then take a look through our guide to improved wellbeing.

Here, we set out 7 key steps to helping to make you feel more content at work, leading to a happier, healthier and more relaxed version of you!

  1. Create boundaries

The first step towards improved wellbeing at work comes from intentionally setting out clear boundaries between your working and home life. It can be easier said than done, but putting the effort into switching off at the end of the day is key.

If you’re back working in the office, use your commuting time to decompress – don’t keep checking ‘one last email’, otherwise your work/home life boundaries will become increasingly blurred. If you’re struggling to switch off from work due to still working from home, why not recreate your commute? Use your usual commute time to physically step away from your work equipment and practise something to help you decompress – pack away your work equipment, and go for a walk, practise meditation, or read a book.

  1. Get into a routine

As boundaries are an essential part of maintaining a healthy work/life balance to improve workplace wellbeing, so too is a routine. You don’t have to plot out each day hour by hour, but establish regular working practises will help you get through your day and a little organisation will help you feel prepared to tackle work.

It could be as simple as starting, or ending, each day with writing a list of key actions to address, planning in your regular computer breaks (if you use a computer) and ensuring you take your lunch break at the same time each day – instead of getting bogged down in tasks. Working from home and the proximity of being able to just ‘wake up and log on’ also makes it even more tempting to hit the snooze button a few more times in the morning, but waking up at a set time each day is essentially to routine management.

  1. Be flexible

Being flexible with work isn’t just for employers to take note of, employees also need to afford themselves flexibility wherever possible too. Ensure you’re making the most of any flexible working policies available to you when needed, and pay attention to your working body clock. Responding to your energy levels throughout the day is key to a more fulfilling and productive day.

Find yourself full of energy first thing in the morning? Make sure you’re tackling your hardest tasks during this time. Usually have an energy slump mid-afternoon? Then take 15 minutes away from your desk, whether in the office or at home, to get in a little movement and have a coffee break.

  1. Get active

As you look to improve your wellbeing at work, mental wellbeing can often be a focus – but the physical is just as important as the mental. You don’t have to be a marathon runner or gym bunny, if you’re able to simply move in some uplifted way it can help improve your physical health and boost your overall wellbeing. The important thing is to set a base level of physical activity that suits you – it could be a morning 5k to get you moving first thing, a 15 minutes walking break to get your steps in up and down the office, or a gentle yoga session before bedtime to wind down, just as long as it gets your blood circulation going and contributes towards producing much-needed endorphins.

  1. Be healthy and hydrate

Just as physical fitness and movement contributes to wellbeing, so too does diet and hydration. Making healthier food choices and having a more balanced diet ensures your body is getting the right nutrients, many of which contribute towards boosted mood. And that’s not to say eating a packet of crisps is the end of the world, but swapping your afternoon chocolate bar for a banana some days is a small step that can help set you on the right track.

Similarly, water is essential in a balanced diet. From a glass of water helping to get your metabolism started in the morning, to keeping your body temperature regulated and flushing out toxins, water contributes towards boosting your wellbeing in a plethora of ways.

  1. Aim for 8 hours

The final element in the ‘trinity’ of wellbeing contributing factors (after physical activity and healthy diet), is making sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. We all know how a poor night’s sleep affects our mood, attention to detail, and judgement amongst other factors, so getting a good night’s sleep and removing these negative mental impacts will help prepare you for your working day far better.

It’s a simple concept, but one which is far too often neglected during busy working weeks – and overlooked as a truly important factor in achieving overall wellbeing. Instead of working late to finish a task, having a knock-on effect on your routine and bedtime, it can be far more prudent to finish relatively on time and start afresh the next day. Writing down a list of things and/or thoughts to remember the following day can help you leave any causes of concern out of mind temporarily, to pick back up the next day.

  1. Don’t compare yourself with others

Finally, it’s vital in all of your efforts to improve your wellbeing at work that you do not compare your efforts with the efforts of others. Wellbeing is entirely individualised, and what you may place importance on – perhaps physical fitness and getting enough sleep – will often be entirely different to the priorities of others.

Removing any comparison to others will allow you to focus on your individual goals, intentions, and journey to achieving greater wellbeing at work. To see how we recommend our employers better support wellbeing at work, check out Birchwood Park’s Wellbeing Handbook

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