Whose responsibility is it to promote and maintain workplace well-being?

  • Well-being
  • By Aleks Szymanski
  • Published on March 22

It’s well-known that employee well-being matters and is key to productivity and job satisfaction. After all, nobody wants a job that makes them feel stressed, unhappy, or ill at ease. But exactly who is ultimately responsible for an employee’s mental health and wellness?

Employers: Setting the tone

Employers play a vital role in promoting workplace well-being by creating a positive and supportive work environment. By implementing policies that prioritize staff well-being - such as flexible work schedules and wellness programs - employers can grow a culture of health and wellness throughout the entire organization.

Management: Leading by example

Managers have a direct influence on the well-being of their team members. By demonstrating empathy, providing support, and promoting work-life balance, they can contribute significantly to maintaining a healthy and positive work environment.

For instance, managers should meet regularly with employees to discuss any issues they may be experiencing. It is important to be approachable, available, and open with team members, with a management style that suits the needs of each individual. 

Staying in contact with everyone and simply checking how they’re feeling will do wonders for their state of mind. Little things such as asking how work is going, if they need support, or checking if they have the right set-up if they work from home, will all contribute to greater levels of well-being.

Employees: Embracing self-care

Employees also have a responsibility to look after their well-being at work, as well as creating an environment in which they and their colleagues can succeed together. There are a few things individuals can do to stay calm and improve their well-being. 

Simply taking a few short, quality breaks during the day to disconnect from work, refuel, and recharge works wonders. The brain needs to take a break every 90 to 120 minutes to function at its best, so employees should stay away from social media and their to-do lists, and get away from their desks, possibly going for a short walk to refresh themselves.

In addition, reaching out to, and checking in with colleagues is recommended, as this helps build and strengthen relationships in the workplace. Humans are social creatures, and offering social support, alongside a feeling of connection, further improves mental well-being while reducing stress and anxiety.

Finally, hobbies outside of work should be encouraged. Creative activities such as writing and painting, or anything from reading, keeping fit, and gardening will help disconnect from work and further foster better individual well-being. 

Human resources: Offering additional support

Human resources (HR) departments also make a valuable contribution in terms of promoting workplace well-being. It is their responsibility to implement policies and programs that support employees’ mental and physical health, as well as set up safe spaces where people can seek advice. These resources all add to a culture of care and empathy within an organization.

Furthermore, HR can develop wellness programs incorporating everything from mental health initiatives and stress management workshops, to physical fitness activities and support with work-life balance. Employees should be encouraged to participate and prioritize their well-being.

By fostering a supportive work culture, HR professionals can help promote empathy, understanding, and open communication among staff. Similarly, they should be encouraging and training managers to provide assistance and flexibility to employees, while monitoring workloads to prevent burnout.

Promoting and maintaining workplace well-being is a collective effort. It requires the collaboration of employers, managers, employees, and HR professionals working together as a team. By recognizing the importance of well-being in the workplace and taking proactive steps to support it, organizations can create a positive and healthy work environment that benefits everyone involved.