Managing a startup isn’t easy. Establishing a new brand is hard, and involves juggling a whole host of competing responsibilities. There are many challenges that small businesses face – particularly in the early stages – and success is never guaranteed.
To give your organisation the best chance, having a motivated and engaged team behind you is crucial. Your staff are your greatest asset, and they play a pivotal role in helping the business overcome challenges and enjoy long-term success. Because of this, creating a happy and harmonious working culture is vital. Only when your team is happy will they be able to perform to their full potential, leading to increased productivity, efficiency and innovation.
In this blog post, we’ll explore six ways startups can prioritise employee wellbeing.
Create a healthy working environment
The environment and overall atmosphere of a workplace can significantly impact engagement and productivity levels. To create an optimal space, you might:
- Improve air quality by increasing ventilation, purchasing air conditioning systems or introducing indoor plants.
- Ensure that desks and common areas have access to natural light. Install windows or create outdoor spaces for employees to go to during their breaks.
- Encourage movement and reduce prolonged sitting by placing photocopiers, printers and drinks facilities further away from workstations, or use apps to promote physical activity. You could also host walking meetings throughout the week.
- Invest in adequate lighting to avoid eye strain and discomfort.
- Purchase comfy, ergonomic chairs.
- Ensure team members with disabilities have the necessary adaptations for their workspace.
One of the major advantages of working in a startup over a corporate is the ability to be flexible and cater to individual needs. With a smaller team, you can more easily break away from the traditional 9-5 and explore other working models instead which allow team members to fit work around their personal lives more effectively. For example, you might consider letting employees complete their core hours at times of their choosing, and allowing them to decide whether to work in-office, hybrid, or remotely. All of this can help build a positive working culture in which staff feel valued and respected.
Encourage work-life balance
There’s a lot of work to do in a startup, especially in the early stages. You’ll probably have a small team juggling many different tasks, and doing their best to get everything done to a high standard. Because of this, work-life balance can be easily overlooked, leading to burnout and high attrition. To combat this, establish clear guidelines that respect your team’s time outside of work. For example, don’t expect them to be available or respond to work-related emails during their non-working hours and try to avoid booking meetings at unsociable times.
It’s also a nice idea to provide opportunities for employees to take breaks throughout the day. Encourage your team to go on short walks, or organise group fitness classes or mindfulness sessions.
Develop an employee wellbeing programme
A comprehensive wellbeing programme might include a range of initiatives, such as:
- Access to counselling services
- Regular health checks
- Stress management and mindfulness training
- Paid subscription to virtual exercise classes or a gym membership
- Education on healthy eating.
Looking after the mental and physical health of employees is a great way to build a supportive workplace culture. Job satisfaction will increase which means employees will be more engaged, motivated and productive at work.
Set an example and encourage open conversations
Prioritise your own mental and emotional wellbeing and speak openly about your struggles. This will prove to employees that the workplace is a safe space, and they might feel encouraged to open up too.
Be understanding of common stresses that occur in both work and personal life and ensure your team knows they can take mental health days without being judged. By fostering a culture of openness and understanding, your team members will feel valued and appreciated, which can only be good news for your startup in the long run.
Carry out employee surveys
By asking targeted questions about employees’ feelings and opinions, you can gather meaningful data which can help track progress and identify areas for improvement.
Sending out surveys regularly as will demonstrate your commitment to optimising the wellbeing of the workforce, and show staff that they are highly valued members of the company. Many platforms allow employees to submit answers anonymously, so you can ensure you’re receiving honest opinions.
Ultimately, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to improving employee wellbeing, and it’s important to tailor the strategies above to your startup’s needs. These strategies don’t have to be costly or elaborate; their purpose should be to support individual health and enhance work-life quality. By implementing them you can boost staff morale, reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.
Your employees are the heart of your business, and the key ingredient that can drive success of failure. Take care of their needs, and you’re sure to reap the benefits.
At GR4, we’ve plenty of opportunities within Europe’s thriving startup scene. You can search all our positions here, or get in touch with a member of our specialist team for a confidential discussion.
For more information about how GR4 can support your startup hiring process, you can download our ultimate startup recruitment guide here. It covers everything, from why startups fail, to how recruitment agencies like GR4 can help you make your startup hiring strategy a success.