Wellness in the Workplace
8 Jul 2021 | Anne Marie Fogarty
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Wellness in the workplace relates to all aspects of professional life and has many characteristics. Ranging from safety at work to emotional wellness, working culture, office atmosphere, motivational drivers, healthy eating, exercise, good mental health, and much more. Employee wellness programmes include any activity that supports the well-being and overall health of its employees.
According to the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)’s Health and Wellbeing at Work Survey of 668 organisations and 2.7 million UK employees, released in April 2021 – organisations with more than 250 employees reported that employees stress-related absence rose 91% over the last year. Well, that’s not surprising given the year we encountered.
Health and Well-being at Work Survey Findings:
- Stress due to heavy workloads is still the most common cause of stress at work at 59%
- Followed by stress as a result of management style (32%)
- New work-related demands or challenges due to homeworking because of COVID-19 (31%)
- Non-work factors like relationship/family (25%)
- COVID-related anxiety/fear of contagion in the workplace (23%)
- Non-work factors/personal illness/health issues (22%)
- Poor work-life balance (20%)
- Relationships at work (20%)
The survey also showed a very high level of concern with poor mental health remaining the most common cause of long and short-term absence, followed by musculoskeletal injuries and stress. Yet, only 44% of employers have a comprehensive wellbeing strategy/program.
Who is responsible for workplace wellness?
All employers in the UK are required to have a duty of care, which means employers must do to the best of their ability and can reasonably support their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. In other words, to the least, they must make sure that the working environment is safe, protect their employees from discrimination, and conduct risk assessments in the workplace.
We are delighted and proud to recently have received the Certified™ by Great Place to Work® UK and, better still, to realise that 100% of our valued people feel safe at work. This has real meaning for us, as our people always come first, so naturally, it is a proud moment when we see the fruits of their labour recognised.
Wellness in the workplace is a goal that must be shared between employers, managers and individual employees. The employer ideally will be committed to maintaining the safety and positive mental health of their employees. Managers should be trained and engage in open conversations with their employees. The employees should be self-aware and ask for help when needed; there is no doubt that workplace wellness will bring positive wellbeing and a productive workplace overall – A vision we aspire to maintain here at ProMedical.
How can you achieve wellbeing in the workplace?
- First, the employer must have a wellbeing strategy/programme in place
- Reduce stigma by open communication
- Address and resolve the causes of workplace stress
- Provide support and adequately train front line managers.
- Employ an understanding of the impact that personal issues can have on wellbeing. We all have lives outside the 9 to 5, and good managers appreciate that.
Next, managers must build a meaningful relationship with their employees. Manage their employees with ‘people’ in mind – adopt a People-First approach to business. ProMedical is underpinned by a model that puts people first – putting people at the core of our business.
Finally, individual employees must put their own well-being as a priority, take ownership, use positive coping strategies that work for them, be mindful and understand personal stress triggers, ask for help if needed, engage with their line managers, and support colleagues.
What are some of the measures companies have implemented to increase overall organisational and employee productivity?
- Flexible work schedule including working from home
- Good work-life balance
- Incentives (cash/gift cards/paid time off/donations to employee’s chosen organisation) for smoking cessation and/or weight loss challenge
- Complimentary fitness centre membership
- Free yoga, tai-chi, Zumba, or other class, on-site or off-site
- Free massage chair or on-site massage therapist
- Free childcare cost and/or on-site childcare
- Free unlimited healthy meals/snacks (fruits, vegetables, plant-based snacks/meals, juices, water)
- Bring pets to work!
- Casual dress code
- Lower insurance costs for non-smokers or free medical insurance for family, income protection, and critical illness insurance
- Free flu vaccinations, other applicable vaccines, and health screening
- Free financial education and support and retirement planning
- Annual training, educating employees and front-line managers to help identify employees who feel unsafe or show signs of mental health issues (stress, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia) and need support – including easy access to brochures, books, online information on related subjects as well as contact information for counsellors.
We are proud to say many of the above incentives are existing perks of working at ProMedical.
Wellness is a holistic concept with many facets such as wellbeing, mental health, financial, physical, environmental, intellectual, work, and spiritual wellness.