We spend the majority of our time at work these days and with retirement age increasing are becoming more and more important to make sure that you are staying healthy during the day and making the most of your free time.
Importance and Benefits
Your staff’s moral
When staff feel like they are being looked after and being made a priority in the work place it reflects in their work. They want to come in, they want to do well and they enjoy what they do which means your employees morale will be incredibly high.
It’s a legal requirement
Health and wellbeing is not just an afterthought anymore, by law employers are now responsible for health and safety management in the workplace, a few of their responsibilities are:
- To ensure that the health, safety and welfare of its employees and visitors, and to make sure that this is achieved daily
- To inform employees of any potential risks in the workplace and provide training to reduce accidents and give them any necessary protective measures
- To ensure that relevant health & safety practice posters are in a highly visible place so that people can easily see them
This is just a few of the employer’s responsibilities you can find the full legislation on the HSE website.
As we touched on slightly earlier on, happy employees are more likely to live the company brand if they are content and happy within the workplace. That means that they are more likely to put in an extra 20-30% or work late, or come in at the weekend if needed.
You’ll get fewer claims
Healthy and happy employees don’t take sick days as much as the average person who has 7.6 days off a year with pay which means the business is losing money until the worker is well enough to come back to work.
If it’s a work related injury then this can cost the company even more money as there could be compensation to pay out. So it pays itself to invest time in making sure that your company is up to date in its health and safety responsibilities.
Probably one of the main benefits is better PR for your company/brand. Employees who like where they work will talk about it to their friends and on social media creating a positive buzz and impression of the company which no amount of marketing would be able to do.
So what causes employees to take time off work? One of the main culprits which usually passes by unnoticed is stress. This can be caused by personal or work related issues a few situations or circumstances which are common are:
- Money matters
- Work deadlines
- Relationships, these can be personal or work related (perhaps some friction with another colleague)
Back pain is a common problem for office workers, as they spend the majority of their day hunched over their desks and this is the main cause of back, neck and shoulder pain.
To reduce the number of employees who suffer from this it is advisable to have a regular DSE assessment to make sure that your employees aren’t straining themselves for long periods of the day.
There is also a large variety of ergonomic office furniture and accessories available to help make sitting at a desk more comfortable.
This is probably the most common cause of employees calling in sick, other employees coming in sick!
Colds and bugs affects everyone differently and while some will soldier through and come to work which although noble is actually spreading the colds, flus and viruses throughout the whole of your office especially if you have air conditioning which uses recycled air.
Rather than one person being off a day or two you will have 3-4 employees off over a couple of weeks.
What can you do as an employer?
Provide proper training
For new employees proper training on use of equipment, fire exits and where first aid is kept is mandatory. It’s also useful to have refresher training for existing employees as well, especially if there is a change in your processes or legislation.
If you have identified employees who are showing signs of stress there are some options that you can put into action.
Several large corporations have their own phone line in which employees can talk to a trained counsellor about any issues they are trying to deal with. Make sure that your employees know that they can speak to you with any issues is also a great way of gaining trust and respect from your workforce too.
If you have influence over what is available in the canteen then introducing organic ingredients and foods which are not full of preservatives and sweeteners is a great way to ensure that your workforce are at their best.
Too much sugar in a diet can actually make people feel more hungry as it absorbs the nutrients that your body is trying to ingest.
Encouraging staff fitness is a great way to boost health and team bonding, in fact the CIPD recently wrote an article about the benefits of a work 5-a-side event for staff including: team building, decision making skills and improved fitness levels.
It is also shown that the healthier your lifestyle the less likely you are to catch the dreaded common cold or any other bugs that are about. Not only that but the increase in team building and bonding means that employees are less likely to leave which reduces costs and time in advertising, interviewing and training new recruits.
What can employees do?
As an employee, if you are not happy at work then you need to communicate this to your line manager; this could be with new processes, colleagues or stress. It is in your manager’s best interest to make sure that you are a happy and productive member of the team so do not feel like you can’t express concerns or worries that you may be having.
Follow training correctly
If you are given training to use particular equipment or safety training this has to be adhered to, both for your safety and others around you. If you are unsure of anything you have been trained on, ask. There is never a silly question when it comes to keeping safe at work.
Author Bio - Laura Holland
Social Media and Web Content Coordinator, Jan 2014 - May 2015