The importance of health and wellbeing at work – an HR perspective

Blog04 July 2018  :  

A guest blog by Sussex HR Hub. A workplace environment that supports employee health and wellbeing is proven to reduce stress and improve performance.

A workplace environment that supports employee health and wellbeing is proven to reduce stress and improve performance.  With most people spending the majority of their waking hours at work, providing opportunities for staff to be fit and healthy in the workplace is more important than ever.

Many employers are committed to improving the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff and achieve this in a variety of ways such as flexible approaches to work, on-site wellbeing activities and creating a supportive office space.

Evidence suggests that the daily commute is the most stressful part of the day, so businesses that have the benefit of ample parking or access to services like the Lakeside shuttle-bus, will hugely reduce the hassle and stress of just getting to work – helping employees start the day on the right foot.

Places and spaces in and around the workplace for people to relax, eat, shop and exercise are also a big plus as they provide that important opportunity to ‘get away from it’ and encourage regular breaks; something that many people have become very poor at carving out time for.

But it’s not just outdoor space and the office setting that is important. Inside the business, the company culture must encourage employees to take positive steps to look after their own health – policies and procedures alone aren’t enough and must be supported by a positive culture and real opportunities for staff to participate.

Existing attitudes towards attendance may also need review – absence through sickness is a key issue and also offers an indicator of how well an organisation is managed. A move away from traditional, top down and rigid procedures to a more flexible self-managed approach is, arguably, the way forward in today’s modern workplace.

Businesses that take their employees’ health and wellbeing seriously are not only fulfilling their legal obligations but will also attract and retain the talented people they need to make their business profitable and successful. Looking after staff also fosters loyalty and promotes a positive image to customers and potential employees.

Investing time and money in workplace health and wellbeing brings many business benefits including:

  • ability to attract and retain top talent
  • staff are physically and mentally fit
  • staff feel appreciated
  • performance and productivity increases
  • sickness absence rates decline
  • staff have opportunities to meet and chat
  • there is improved team building and morale

Health and wellbeing initiatives are not just the preserve of large organisations with big budgets.  Businesses of all types and sizes can benefit, sometimes, by just changing the mindset and promoting a new approach towards health among staff and managers.

Successful wellbeing initiatives take careful planning, so it is better to start with smaller changes and build over time. Encouraging staff to be involved by bringing ideas to the table and developing an action plan of events, activities and campaigns will help create focus, determine priorities and ensure internal commitment.

About the Author – Dianne Lambdin

Dianne has many years’ experience working as an HR and employment law specialist and held senior management roles in the private and public sectors.  She now runs her own consultancy, the Sussex HR Hub, and works with businesses, from start-ups to large corporates, bringing her own style of HR management to help them ‘get their people stuff right’.  She works with businesses on a full range of services including, mergers & acquisitions, redundancy strategy, managing change, organisational development, company culture, TUPE, recruitment and HR strategy.

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