Happy and healthy staff feel more fulfilled, go home feeling valued and will do a better job.
It sounds like a straight-forward statement, yet this is not the case for a lot of people. And there are knock-on effects beyond just the obvious: stress can take its toll on family and colleague relationships and injuries can limit both work and home-related activities.
An estimated 137 million working days are lost due to sickness or injury in the UK. Musculoskeletal and mental health issues are the greatest causes.
However, there are some measures employers can take today to avoid a negative spiral.
Make people feel valued
Asking people about their working day, asking for ideas, engaging people in the business, sharing successes – these will all impact how your staff members feel about working for you. Simple things like saying thank you and noticing successes are a start.
Action – listen to staff about their ideas, perhaps with a feedback or reference group. Consider the desired outcomes for the problem that you want to solve and then assess ideas against the ease and cost of putting them into practice against the benefit of doing so. Make sure you explain decisions.
Keeping people healthy
They say prevention is better than cure, and smart businesses that implement health screening for their teams are reaping the benefits of this. GP Dr Fiona Virgo, from St Edmunds Hospital in Bury St Edmunds says: “So-called ‘silent’ conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood glucose can result in unexpected serious illness, taking a person out of action for weeks or more. These conditions can be identified early with regular health screening.”
Many healthcare providers, like BMI Healthcare offer a corporate discount to companies wanting to enrol several employees. Health checks and health insurance are beneficial to employees and employers alike, as short waiting lists in private hospitals can increase the speed of return to work. In addition, the health insurer Bupa notes that 80% of people change negative lifestyle habits following information they receive during or after their health checks.
Action – investigate corporate health screening initiatives for your business.
Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility
Employers have a legal requirement to make sure that working conditions meet the required standards of health and safety, and it’s important that employees feel empowered to raise any issues or concerns that they have. No staff member should be asked to take on anything which is not up to standard or which is beyond their physical capability.
Action – ask your staff if they would feel comfortable raising a concern if they had one. The answer should be Yes! If this is not the case, consider why they would prefer to put their own health at risk rather than point out a health and safety issue. There could be underlying reasons, including having confidence in you as an employer, which you should address for a variety of reasons.
Keep things in perspective
We are all individuals. Different people address different scenarios or conditions in different ways, and what one person might find exhilarating others may find stressful. Similarly, people communicate in different ways and have different priorities in life. Take time to listen and understand your teams’ needs and put measures in place to promote mental wellbeing, such as flexible working, fitness initiatives and special time off for important occasions.
Action – ask staff for ideas that would improve their work and home life balance.
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