The 4 pillars you need to build a workplace wellbeing strategy
In recent years, workplace wellbeing has evolved from focusing primarily on providing company perks like gym memberships or free snacks to implementing strategies aimed at supporting the ‘whole person’.
With many HR leaders struggling to support the evolving wellbeing needs of their workforce, a useful guide for wellbeing programmes are the four key pillars of wellbeing namely: mental, physical, social and financial wellbeing.
Why the four pillars are important
Supporting employees to build and adopt healthy habits for lasting behaviour change requires a multi-pronged approach. This is because challenges in one area of wellbeing can often affect another.
For example, financial stress is associated with increased prevalence of mental health disorders.
Also, there is a 30% lower risk of depression for adults who exercise daily, according to the Mental Health Foundation, showing that physical wellness and mental health are inextricably linked.
To drive real impact, wellbeing strategies therefore need to factor in all four pillars of mental, physical, social and financial wellbeing.
1. Mental wellbeing
The World Health Organization describes mental health as “a state of wellbeing in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
As there can still be stigma attached to discussing mental health, it is important to reduce the barriers preventing employees from accessing support. Doing so can, in fact, provide great return on investment: for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, employers could get back £5.30 in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover, according to Deloitte’s 2022 UK Mental Health Report.
One way to achieve this is through digital iCBT (digital cognitive behavioural therapy), a virtual, self-guided, practical, structured, short-term form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
This clinically proven method uses mental exercises that challenge unhelpful beliefs and, in turn, teach effective behaviours for dealing with anxiety, depression, or other emotional or mental health challenges.
Ways to support your employees with their mental wellbeing:
● Create a culture where people feel safe and able to talk about mental health
● Partner with wellbeing organisations that take a holistic approach to wellbeing and
address topics surrounding mental health such as CBT or mindfulness
● Give your employees the tools to self-educate and learn coping strategies
2. Physical wellbeing
This pillar looks at physical activity, nutrition, sleep and the overall habits that support a healthy lifestyle.
As mentioned, mental health and physical wellness are interconnected, in fact 15 mins of vigorous activity or 60 mins of walking is known to reduce the risk of major depression by 28%.
Looking after one’s physical wellbeing can in turn support employees with their ability to focus, be productive and lower instances of presenteeism or leave due to ill health.
Ways to support your employees with their physical wellbeing:
● Provide educational resources that address key related topics such as physical activity, sleep, nutrition or navigating anxiety
● Offer tools that focus on building positive habits
● Consider promoting a range of activities to cater to different preferences, such as walking challenges, virtual exercise classes, meditation or access to the gym
3. Social wellbeing
Social wellbeing looks at the ability to build and maintain positive relationships within communities, as well as having a sense of belonging.
With hybrid work becoming a more prominent way of working, this pillar requires initiatives to create an environment where employees can build strong networks within work and outside of work.
Ways to support your employees with their social wellbeing:
● Create opportunities for teams to connect in fun ways, whether they work in the office or remotely, such as creating group step challenges
● Build in social activities in the working week, whether through team socials or virtual coffee chats
● Work with your leaders to create an environment that supports work life balance
4. Financial wellbeing
Financial wellbeing is often seen as a sensitive topic, yet financial worries have a direct impact on all pillars of wellbeing.
And with talk of an upcoming recession, the workplace continues to play an important role in helping employees navigate the difficulties ahead.
Ways to support your employees with their financial wellbeing:
● Help reduce the stigma surrounding financial health by normalising these conversations
● Provide access to tools that help employees better understand their relationship with
money eg: triggers, habits, coping mechanisms, knowledge gaps
● Work with your suppliers to educate employees on how to maximise their
Designing your workplace wellbeing strategy around these four pillars will empower your employees to be more self aware and better equipped to proactively look after their wellbeing.
In partnership with Tictrac
We're an employee wellbeing platform dedicated to helping employees live healthier lives.