We all recognise the importance of happy and healthy employees, especially if your employers are demanding the highest levels of accuracy and cognitive functioning. Due to this, the government has introduced the Health, Work and Wellbeing initiative here in the United Kingdom. The programme involves working closely with a host of companies, ensuring not only the emotional wellbeing of employees, but also the improved productivity which comes with the absence of stress, or illness.
Stress is arguably the biggest contributor to general sickness, and by extension absence from work. Stress is an evolutionary physiological feature in the right circumstances, but in the office it can lead to headaches, anxiety attacks and a weakened immune system. None of these are conducive to a hard day’s work, and over longer periods of time you also risk developing clinical depression, sleep problems or skin conditions. With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that a recent CIPD survey found 60% of companies attempting to combat stress in their employees. Whether this is through seated massages, healthier foods or counselling services, the benefit will be clear.
While some of us are reluctant to take the day off if we are ill, this can be just as detrimental to our employers. With the decreased mental capability that comes with any illness, it can be all too easy to forget important tasks, or make mistakes. Government statistics suggest that businesses will lose up to £600 per year per employee through absences, and with these surprisingly high figures in mind, the Health, Work and Wellbeing initiative also seems to provide long-term financial benefit.
So, what exactly does the initiative encourage, and how? The main aim of the programme is to improve employee morale, leaving them to work productively during office hours and relax in their free time. This will also contribute towards decreasing the number of absences from illness or stress, and minimising financial losses.
The initiative aims to achieve this by offering guidance on how to best stay fit and healthy, as good diet and regular exercise are essential to a good state of mind. Through the initiative, employers may also offer counselling and assistance services to employees, or organise activities to improve employee morale. One such activity is workplace massage, which research has shown can significantly improve mental and physical wellbeing. A seated massage can also be one of the most effective methods of stress management at work, alleviating the worries which can leave us feeling run down.
Finally, companies are integrating staff surveys, training and flexible working options, all in the hope of reducing those factors which can cause stress or illness – and ensuring their employees are both healthy and happy.
Is your employer part of the Health, Work and Wellbeing initiative? How do you like to deal with the stresses of work? Have you ever received an on-site massage at work, and did it help?