If you think the phrase ‘health and wellbeing at work’ references an optional extra, then think again. There is a wealth of evidence that demonstrates how employees with a good sense of personal wellbeing look after their own health better, are absent less and are more productive when they are at work and likely to remain with the organisation longer.
The UK Government’s Foresight Programme states that lack of workplace wellbeing costs the UK economy roughly £26b a year in terms of sickness absence, presenteeism (being present at work but contributing little added value to the business) and labour turnover.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development’s (CIPD) annual absence management survey, the average level of absence is eight days per employee per year and it costs organisations almost £600 per employee. Added to this statistic, and of growing concern, is the huge increase in mental health conditions amongst employees in the last 10 years. Stress and other mental health conditions are now amongst the main causes of employee’s absence, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimating that stress costs businesses £3.8 billion per year.
A further wellbeing challenge is the increase in obesity amongst working age men and women. According to Department of Health research, the proportion of men who are obese rose to 33% by 2010 from 22% in 2003. The number of obese women rose from 23% to 28% in the same period.
So, how can we create healthy and happy workplace environments? One way is to achieve this is to acknowledge that wellbeing encompasses more than the avoidance of becoming physically sick. It includes physical, mental and social health. According to the CIPD well employees are physically and mentally able, willing to contribute in the workplace and likely to be more engaged at work. Improving wellbeing at work requires the linking together of a series of small measures. It requires organisations to actively assist people to maximise their physical and mental health themselves.
Wellbeing needs to be a shared responsibility between employee and employer; organisations should create an environment where employees can be healthier, through providing information and access to programmes to improve wellbeing. And to be successful, ultimately the individual also needs to take responsibility for engagement with the programmes.
Wellbeing is a subjective experience, so the most effective wellbeing programmes are those that offer variety and allow the individual to develop a package of activity that suits their needs. For some people this might be practical measures such as introducing healthy food or regular exercise, for others it may be less tangible learning techniques to feel more in control at work, or manage stress or anxiety.
On Site Massage Co has created a series of wellbeing workshops that can bring health awareness to the workplace and encourage employees to be more proactive towards managing their own health and wellbeing.
Workshops cover topics such as nutrition, mindfulness, relaxation techniques, stress management, laughter yoga and posture awareness. They can all be run in the workplace by specialist speakers and offer an interactive experience, transferring knowledge and practical advice to empower employees with the knowledge to make a difference to their own happiness and wellbeing.