Health and Well-being in the Workplace
Why it pays to invest in employees' health and well-being
Facts and resources for small businesses
Poor employee health and wellbeing in the workplace is a factor that is recognised as contruibuting significantly to sickness, lower poor productivity and high staff turnover levels. These costs to business are not just prevalent in large organisations; they can affect any size of company. And while absenteeism due to ill health is down in the UK, if this is due to a culture of people working when they're unwell, or taking annual leave to cover their days, then productivity will eventually suffer.
We've taken information, resources and guidance from ACAS, the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and other professional bodies to give you an overview of how the health and wellbeing of staff can affect productivity and the workplace.
What's Causing It?
Look at these top stressors for Brits and see how many you recognise in your own or your staff's daily lives at work.
What can you do in your business?
The CIPD has identified seven inter-related 'domains' of employee well-being, guided by the principle that employee well-being is not down to just one thing.
There’s no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to designing a health and well-being strategy since one organisation is different to another, but there are underlying elements that all employers can implement, in some shape or form, to support people’s health and well-being, and keep performance at optimum levels.
You might want to consider some of the following ideas for a health and wellbeing policy for your business:
Physical health - meaures to support staff if and when they become unwell, ensuring they feel able to take the necessary time out ,or have adjustments made so they can continue to work productively. Opportunities to vary the physical way a job is carried out (sitting, standing, regular comfort breaks).
Physical safety - Safe working practices that are monitored and enforced, safe equipment, personal safety training.
Mental health - stress management, risk assessments, training managers in conflict resolution and how to have difficult conversations.
2. Good work
Working environment - Ergonomically designed working areas, open and inclusive culture, exposure to natural light.
Good line management - Effective people management policies, training for line managers, sickness absence management.
Work demands - Consider job design and job roles, workload, working hours and measures to improve job satisfaction and work-life balance.
Autonomy - People thrive on being trusted and working in an open and honest environment. Consider how you can give staff more control over their own work, the ability to innovate and contribute ideas on how to do things better/differently, including processes to raise concerns safely and, possibly, anonymously.
Change management - Measures to communicate with employees so they are sufficiently informed on your Comapny's direction. This might involve giving talented individuals informal leadership roles to nurture 2-way communication that are unrelated to line management structures.
Pay and reward - Fair and transparent remuneration practices, non-financial recognition.
Leadership - Values-based leadership, clear Company mission and objectives, transparent health and well-being strategy, measures that build trust.
Ethical standards - Dignity at work, socially responsible business practices, community investment, volunteering opportunities or time off.
Diversity - Diversity and inclusion, valuing difference, cultural engagement, appropriate training for employees and managers so everyone understand the law and their obligations.
Employee voice - processes that enable good communication, consultation, genuine dialogue and involvement in decision making
Positive relationships - Heavily influenced by the leadership values and style of the business owner. Nurture teamworking, healthy relationships with peers and managers, dignity and respect.
5. Personal growth
Career development - Mentoring, coaching, performance management, performance development plans, skills utilisation, succession planning.
Emotional - Support staff to achieve positive relationships, provide personal resilience and financial well-being training.
Lifelong learning - Performance development plans, access to training, mid-career reviews, technical and vocational learning, challenging work.
Creativity - Open and collaborative culture, environment in which employees can recommend new ideas or improvements.
6. Good lifestyle choices
Physical activity -Walking clubs, lunchtime yoga, charity walks, access to outdoor or green space.
Healthy eating -Recipe clubs, healthy menu choices in the canteen.
7. Financial well-being
Fair pay and benefit policies - Pay rates above the statutory National Minimum/Living Wage or at the London Living Wage, flexible benefits scheme.
Retirement planning - Phased retirement such as a three- or four-day week, pre-retirement courses for people approaching retirement.
Employee financial support - Employee assistance programme offering debt counselling, signposting to external sources of free advice (for example, Citizens Advice), access to independent financial advisers.
Acas has produced a very useful guide to recognising health and wellbeing issues in your workplace and strategies to tackle these, recognising that for many of us this will be outside of our experience or comfort zone. You can download it here http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/8/n/Health-work-and-wellbeing-accessible-version.pdf
Likewise the FSB (Federation for Small Businesses) has produced this helpful guide https://www.fsb.org.uk/docs/default-source/fsb-org-uk/well-being-and-small-business---how-you-can-help.pdf,