Workplace wellbeing programs can be daunting prospects because they seem so very large before we begin.

We all know how important they are and as well-meaning as we are, we don’t want to do the wrong thing by our companies or our people, so we tend to procrastinate on them.

This is totally understandable, but the truth is they’re not that difficult to implement and, once you start, the whole process gets much simpler.

Here’s how to design your 2023 program in 5 simple steps.


By far the most important thing you can do for the wellbeing of your people is to be truly committed to it. Greater than any strategy or initiative or amount of resources you can contribute, commitment wins overall. Once you decide that the wellbeing of your staff is the most important thing, and get your leadership team thinking the same way, the rest falls into place.

You’ll make the right choices more often than not, your demeanour will show it, your policies and practices will reflect it, and your people will feel it.

Commitment first, everything else after.

Define the issues

The next step is to find out what the main wellbeing issues are amongst your workforce, and the impacts they’re having.

Every workforce has areas they can address and it’s our job to find out what they are.

Do you have a high amount of injuries? Are employees experiencing burnout?

Do you have high turnover? Poor health behaviours? High stress?

If you’re unsure, look to your HR metrics such as turnover, worker’s compensation, absenteeism, and employee evaluations. How do they compare to industry averages? Have they gotten better or worse over the past 5 years?

To find out subjective wellbeing data, ask your staff how they’re doing meaningfully and anonymously. Chances are when your people are given a conduit they know will reach you they’ll tell you exactly what they think (which can be confronting but is a good thing).

By defining the main wellbeing problems you give yourself a clear set of goals moving forward.

Discover what needs to change

Now that you know what the issues are, you can figure out what needs to change in order to address them.

The big question here is, do you need to introduce something to help enhance wellbeing, or can you take something away that’s harming it?

This is a step that’s so often missed because when we think of wellbeing we think of what we can add, not what we can take away, but it’s the latter that often has the bigger impact.

Which of your practices are causing harm?

What’s the source of most of the stress you see?

What are your people telling you they could do without?

Poor wellbeing is always one of two things. It’s either too much or too little of something.

Figure out what is causing the harm and either give more or less of it.

Figure out what would enhance wellbeing, and give more or less of that.

Thinking about wellbeing in these terms simplifies it greatly and allows anyone, even those without experience in it, to figure out what needs to change.

Focus on high-value, low-cost first

To show your people and the leadership team that this is something that’s worthwhile and will make an impact, it’s best to get some quick runs on the board.

Start with low cost, low effort initiatives that will produce a high level of impact to get the ball well and truly rolling.

Here are some examples that never fail:

  • Introduce a quick workload reporting system like the traffic light system. Every week staff report in with either red (working over capacity and need more time, more help or less work), amber (working well but can’t take on any more) or green (under capacity and need more or can help others).

  • Scrap standard meeting times in favour of actual predicted run time and have mandatory 20 minute breaks in between meetings.

  • Create regular check-ins between staff and their managers specifically about wellbeing.

  • Offer regular health consulting for staff to work on anything they need to from health behaviours to injury management and everything in between.

  • Create a curated wellbeing feed (Slack, Instagram, Google docs etc) where staff can access and contribute to health info and interact with each other.

  • Have a wellbeing room in the office where staff can go to take some time out and meditate, stretch, read or just be by themselves.

  • Create individual flex agreements between staff and their managers to ensure everyone is working within their best energy patterns and producing high quality work consistently and sustainably.

These are just a drop in the bucket of what’s possible, but the important thing is to focus on getting some quick but meaningful wins so your people know you’re serious about making a difference.

Role model from the top

Staff watch more than they listen and what’s done at the top will be emulated down the line.

This presents a great opportunity to impact wellbeing by doing nothing more than practising it yourself.

If management tells staff to take regular breaks, communicate when they’re overloaded or attend the wellbeing lunch and learn, but don’t do it themselves, the subliminal message is that this is not something that’s important.

If, on the other hand, your people see the CEO going for a lunchtime jog or meditating in the wellbeing room, not only will this be seen as acceptable, it will be seen as favourable.

You can’t make people do something voluntary by ordering them to do it.

Do first what you want your staff to do and they will follow suit.

Workplace wellbeing is an integral part of creating high-performing, sustainable workplaces and it’s far simpler to implement than we think.

By following these steps you can have a real impact on the wellbeing of your staff and create a place that they feel happy and proud to call their own, and that’s something worth working for.

For more info on this, some help in how to implement it, or literally anything else to do with workplace wellbeing, send us an email, give us a call, or book in for a chat whenever suits you and we would be happy to help.

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