Spotlight on Health and Well-being at Work

Spotlight on Health and Well-being at Work

11th November 2015

One of the latest events for health and safety at work is the Good Day at Work Conversation which took place last week at Altitude 360 in London. Good Day at Work is a free online community website that offers free support and resources to individuals and employers to help inspire wellbeing activity. There’s also the Good Day at Work Pro which is aimed at health in HR who have responsibility for the wellbeing of others. The Good Day at Work Conversation aims to professionalise health and wellbeing with input from some of the most influential leaders in the wellbeing conversation.

Recent research has discovered that more than a quarter of employees will take time off work due to stress – they often don’t know how to deal with stress and try to hide it. When surveyed, 16% of respondents claim that they are too scared to tell their employers that stress was the cause of an absence. More than two thirds of those questioned said that they feel rushed to complete tasks and feel under-appreciated at work. There is a negative stigma associated with stress, despite the fact that it’s such a common cause of illness and absence.

An effective employee wellness programme will bring some very real benefits to any company or employer, including:

  • A reduction in absenteeism (this has a direct financial effect on the company as it will save the costs of hiring temporary staff to cover absence, and save on the time spent managing and reallocating work).
  • A reduction in employee turnover (which will save money spent on recruiting and training new members of staff).
  • Increased employee engagement – commitment to work, loyalty to the employer.
  • Improved productivity – happy staff members will be more alert, able to concentrate better and work harder.
  • Improved morale in the workplace which will have a knock on effect – contented staff members will spread the happiness.
  • A reduction in ancillary expenses – potential legal costs, private healthcare costs, claims and company insurance.
  • A real demonstration of sustainable business practices.

The workplace is recognised as one of the best places for learning to take place outside the formal education system. Employers have a captive audience that they are able to educate with wellbeing messages such as healthy eating habits, cycling to work, the benefits of taking regular exercise, etc.

Promoting wellbeing in the workplace makes perfect sense – a fit and healthy team of workers will benefit business in so many ways. Every year here in the UK around 200 million workdays are lost through sickness and absence which cost the economy a massive £17 billion! Stress is now the primary reason for absence from work. Presenteeism is a new term that’s being bandied about these days – it’s used to describe employees who are too worried about their job security to take time off and present themselves for work when they are unwell or unfit. This results in underperformance, mistakes and errors that lead to accidents. Accidents in the construction industry are likely to cause injury as well as damage. Reducing stress and raising the levels of employee wellbeing is the only way to avoid this.