Top Ten Tips for...Improving Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
A healthy workforce is also more likely to be a happy and productive one. Every responsible employer should be thinking about how they can improve the wellbeing of their staff to ensure they feel valued and cared for. A strong health and wellbeing strategy will help you to nurture and retain your workforce as well as helping to prevent days lost to illness.
Here are our Top Ten Tips for Improving Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace:
1. Check what adjustments your colleagues need
If you are unsure how to improve your colleagues’ health and wellbeing, then getting the basics right is a good starting point. The small things really do matter. For example, have you arranged for workplace health assessments to be carried out to ensure colleagues have the right desk space, chairs and equipment to do their job? Do your colleagues have the right equipment and protective gear to stay safe?
2. Develop a menopause policy
Having a proactive approach to supporting women through the menopause is the responsible thing to do but it also makes good business sense. Creating a culture where women can talk openly about their health with their colleagues and managers, improves job satisfaction and reduces absenteeism. You should ideally already have a menopause policy in place as part of a holistic approach to employee health and wellbeing. This should include ways staff can access menopause information and support, carrying out assessments to determine what adjustments may be needed at work, and awareness training for line managers. For more information, visit www.menopausedoctor.co.uk.
3. Set up a weight loss group
Losing weight to stay fit and healthy is a big goal for many people. Having a weight loss support group, which meet regularly at work, provides the ideal incentive and encouragement for people who want to take the first step. Not everyone has the time to attend a club after work or at weekends, so a group of supportive colleagues who encourage each other at work is ideal. If your workplace is large enough, you may also be able to tempt a representative from Weight Watchers or Slimming World to host the meetings for you.
4. Introduce a cycle to work initiative
Cycling to work is a great way to stay fit and healthy while helping the environment - as it takes at least one car off the road! But it can also be a daunting prospect. Encouraging your colleagues to leave the car at home and hop on their bike is a simple way to show your employees you care about their health, but you also need to give them the tools to do it. You could consider negotiating a staff discount on bikes and equipment with your local cycle shop. You could also provide time out to tackle cycle proficiency skills. You also need to ensure you have somewhere safe to store your colleagues’ bikes.
5. Encourage staff to get their flu jab
Flu can spread like wildfire and have a detrimental impact on your workforce productivity, especially during winter. Encouraging your colleagues to get immunised will help to protect their health and wellbeing from the major, anticipated strains of flu predicted by the World Health Organisation. Depending on your workplace and the type of job you do, it can be incredibly important for staff to be immunised to help protect your customers too.
6. Encourage a good work/life balance
We spend most of our lives at work and balancing our busy work life with families, hobbies and holidays can be stressful. Many of us can feel torn between work and home, particularly now technology means we’re now more easily contactable that ever before. We expect our employees to be focused and productive while at work but encouraging them to get their work/life balance right will protect them from potentially burning out. Why not try introducing a flexible working policy?
7. Offer ways to keep fit and healthy
Good employers should encourage and inspire their employees to work hard but there should also be opportunities to take a meaningful break away from their usual place of work. Even short bursts of exercise can prove to be a good way of boosting your employees’ physical and mental health. Why not set up a lunch time walking group or short fitness classes after work?
8. Think about mindfulness
Mindfulness is a technique which can help you manage your mental health. It promotes calmness, clarity and happiness. It involves giving your full attention to how you feel and what is happening in the present moment. Taking time out at work to think about how you’re feeling can help you feel calmer and more able to deal with stress. It can also help you manage chronic, physical conditions which may be affecting your concentration and ability to cope.
9. Update your mental health policy
The Mental Health Foundation says that one in six people will experience the symptoms of a mental health problem in any given week. That alarming figure shows that a strong mental health policy should be priority for any business. You need to commit to a policy which improves and protects all your employees. This could include employing mental health champions responsible for implementing the policy.
10. Engage with your colleagues
Engaging with your colleagues about what health and wellbeing issues are important to them is vital because it will help your workforce feel valued and listened to. They will also have the best ideas about what you as a business owner or manager need to work on. For example, there’s no point introducing a cycle to work scheme or a healthy eating club if it’s not something your colleagues want. Regular staff surveys and feedback from one-to-one sessions will help you glean the information you need.
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