6 ways to improve the health and wellbeing of your employees
18th July 2019
Businesses and organisations are now more aware than ever that they have a responsibility to manage and maintain the physical health and mental wellbeing of their staff.
We’ve asked Clare Hurley, Director of Key Accounts at Fusion Occupational Health, to share six ways that business owners can improve the health and wellbeing of their employees.
Keeping staff healthy and happy
We work with businesses of every size and sector across the whole of the UK and in every case, the wellbeing of their employees is of paramount importance.
There are plenty of ways that businesses can focus on keeping their staff healthy and happy but here are six strategies that we are seeing more companies embrace.
1. Flexible Working
Offering your staff flexibility in the workplace can take many forms. It might mean offering the option to work remotely or from home.
Giving employees the opportunity to adapt their working hours will allow them to balance their work and personal life more effectively.
Some businesses are even going so far as offering staff a four-day working week and seeing beneficial results.
A financial firm in New Zealand revealed the results of their four-day working week trial and not only found that it reduced stress levels and increased staff engagement but also measured a 20% rise in productivity.
2. Mental Health Days
A mental health day is when employees take sick leave to manage their mental wellbeing.
It’s a popular concept in America and recognises the fact that, while some people may appear physically well enough to work, they might need some time to focus on their mental health before it impacts on their working day.
In 2017, the employee of a software company shared the response from her CEO after she requested a mental health day and his positive comments went viral.
In the UK, the Mental Health Foundation has recommended that governments should introduce a minimum of two mental health days for every public sector worker.
It’s a simple concept that could help to improve the mental wellbeing of staff.
3. Mental Health First Aid
As well as allowing staff to recognise when their mental health needs some attention, it’s also vital that senior staff members are able to spot the signs of ill mental health among their colleagues.
Training has been shown to improve the employee experience and make staff feel more positive about coming to work.
Much like traditional first aid, mental health first aid training specifically teaches people how to help someone experiencing mental health problems.
First developed in Australia, it aims to teach people how to offer initial support until appropriate professional help is received.
If managers are more aware of the first signs of mental health issues, it could help to pre-empt any issues and reduce staff absence.
4. Lifestyle Screening
Lifestyle screening is another great way to promote good health, improve productivity, detect health problems earlier, and reduce staff absence.
It’s basically a series of simple clinical tests that help to build a picture of people’s general health.
This can include measuring:
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Blood sugar levels
Lifestyle screening can benefit both employees and the organisations they work for, highlighting long-term, underlying health issues and promoting health and wellbeing both in the workplace and at home.
5. Office Design
The relationship between office design and productivity is well documented.
However, the design and layout of your office can also help to promote wellbeing in the workplace.
There are a number of areas where this can be reflected:
- Working Environment – by giving staff the ability to control and adapt their surroundings.
- Physical Health – by offering plenty of natural light and encouraging movement.
- Mental Health – by featuring artwork and natural elements, such as plants.
- Technology – improved Wi-Fi and devices can make life easier for staff.
By focusing on a few of these aspects, businesses can offer employees a workplace that they feel proud of and enjoy working in.
6. Setting health goals
Businesses have an opportunity to actively encourage their staff to be more active and participate in activities that will improve both their physical health and mental wellbeing.
One way to do this is by giving them access to occupational health advice. This might be as simple as sharing content within the business that encourages healthy lifestyle choices. However, some organisations are taking a more hi-tech approach.
Occupational health portals and apps offer staff a platform where they can access content and in some cases interact with professionals who can offer help and advice.
This allows people to set themselves achievable health goals both in work and at home. When combined with technology like a goal-setting app, staff can manage and monitor their health goals wherever they are.
Businesses have a responsibility to ensure that their staff feel positive, healthy and mentally prepared for their working day.
By focusing on just some of the strategies mentioned above, organisations can support their employees and actively encourage the improvement of both their physical health and mental wellbeing.