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Corporate Wellbeing Employee Wellbeing Best Practices

Wellbeing washing: Why box-ticking is never enough 

‘Wellbeing washing’ is a term used to describe when companies or individuals give the impression that they care about health & wellbeing, but they don’t actually take meaningful actions to support them. 

All talk, no action 

Picture this: you’ve just hired a speaker for Mental Health Awareness Week, appointed Mental Health First Aiders for the workplace, and your CEO sent an email about why taking breaks is important. 

Box = ticked. Right?  


Unless you wanted to tick the ‘wellbeing washing’ box, of course.  

That email about taking breaks from your CEO is meaningless unless you’re reducing your employees’ workloads so it’s feasible for them to take breaks.  

Appointing Mental Health First Aiders won’t do any good if they’re not trained and don’t have the time to support employees.  

And guess what? That speaker you hired to talk about mental health? Although well intentioned, it won’t help everyone in your office because not everyone is struggling with poor mental health. 

Wellbeing washing perpetuates a false sense of support and can leave employees feeling unheard and unsupported in their personal and professional lives. 

The simple truth: if you want a thriving, healthy, and happy workforce, you need to prioritize employee wellbeing.  

But, if you’re reading this, chances are, you probably want to do and be better. 

So, here are 10 acts of wellbeing washing you’ll want to avoid if you want to sincerely invest in your employees’ wellbeing: 

  1. Appointing mental health first aiders without providing proper training and support.
  2. Organizing occasional wellbeing events without investing in long-term health and wellbeing of employees. 
  3. Sharing resources for mental health awareness days, but not actively addressing the underlying factors that contribute to poor mental health. 
  4. Offering superficial wellness benefits like gym memberships and healthy snacks, without addressing deeper issues like poor work-life balance. 
  5. Conducting one-off surveys without following up or taking meaningful action. 
  6. Promoting a “culture of wellbeing” without providing resources or policies that support your employees’ wellbeing, such as flexible working hours. 
  7. Displaying motivational wellbeing posters without building a psychosocially safe culture. 
  8. Make public statements about diversity and inclusion but failing to ensure your recruitment and retention policies are unbiased. 
  9. Using wellbeing initiatives to increase brand reputation without genuinely investing in your employees’ wellbeing. 
  10. Promoting awareness days like “Blue Monday” or “World Mental Health Day” but doing nothing to combat poor mental health amongst employees. 

It’s time for organizations to step up and prioritize employee mental health, genuinely.  

By embracing change, investing in long-term initiatives, and listening to employee feedback, companies can foster an atmosphere of true support and ensure the wellbeing of their most valuable asset – their people. 

Together, we can build healthier workplaces that prioritize the mental health and wellbeing of every employee.