Healthy Employees Equates To A Happy Business, But Where To Start? By Rosaria Barreto

Whether you are a SME or large and well established business a healthy and happy workforce will not only improve productivity but also impact the success of future business growth. It is hard to know what to do and where to start when building a wellbeing strategy, so here is some guidance from Rosaria Barreto founder of Vitality Hub and Mature Movers which specialises in tackling social isolation and the prevention and management of chronic disease.

Rosaria is a health and wellbeing influencer and qualified exercise scientist and personal trainer and will be sharing her top tips and considerations when deciding on a workforce wellbeing plan and why your business should have one. 

We all know that a healthy mind & body is good for us but how good is it really? Exceptionally good! Fantastic even, in all aspects of life. 

Today’s focus is on 2 aspects of health: physical health and mental health. Let’s take obesity for example, 1 in every 4 adults are obese in the UK (NHS, 2019). Obesity also increases the risk of other serious diseases such as hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, Osteoarthritis and many more health complications.

Did you also know that 1 in 4 adults will also suffer with mental health disorder at a point in their life? Take that in, it is likely that 1/4 of your employees could be obese and/or suffering with their mental health so how will this affect your workplace?

Evidence demonstrates that ill-health in the workplace can:

  • Reduce employee engagement which can reduce profitability by 21%
  • Increased errors in judgement which can affect workplace safety, confidentiality, and waste time 
  • Reduced productivity
  • Result in increased financial costs 

So, there it is, the presence of unwell employees and I do not mean employees that have the common cold or the bug, but those with chronic health complications can significantly negatively impact the workplace. 

There is a lot that can be done to help better employees health and wellbeing. It is important to mention that not one wellbeing strategy will work for everybody and every business and that creating a person-centred wellbeing initiative that considers the specific needs of your employees is vital for any change to occur. 

Top Tips for creating a healthy and happy workplace:

  1. A study found that 96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention, so create a wellbeing programme that consider feelings and emotional needs. 
  2. Include sustainable strategies, do not think a quick fix is going to help, invest time and energy in promoting behaviour changes. 
  3. A holistic approach to creating a wellbeing culture will have extraordinary effects on employee happiness and in turn, productivity. A business wellbeing strategy is much more than just providing free fruit and a discounted gym membership. All elements of employee wellbeing must be considered.
  4. Have you ever contemplated a shorter working week? Supposedly the average Brit works for 8 hours a day but only spends 3 hours working. Shorter working weeks can offer extra time for people to self-care, improved work life balance, better sleep and there is strong evidence to suggest that it offers increased quality of work. It also addresses the huge problem of overworking and in fact research shows that 57% of sick days were due to work related pressures. 
  5. Flexi-work anyone? every person is different, the way their body and mind works are different. Some people work better at 8am in the morning others 9pm at night. Let people choose their own optimal working hours (within reason). 

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. So, businesses need to create an environment where people are educated and encouraged to make better lifestyle choices and ultimately offer wellbeing opportunities that have long lasting impacts. 

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