More and more organisations are realising that their biggest asset is their workers and therefore the importance of promoting employee wellbeing together with an understanding that it is better to prevent a problem before it occurs.
Employee wellbeing has become a key issue as organisations face the costs and potential impact of high absence levels, employee ill-health (especially dealing with long term illness), muscular skeletal injuries, mental health issues and obesity. In addition the workforce is aging and there is a need for individuals to continue working productively beyond the normal retirement age and therefore a necessity to recognise the diverse needs of staff.
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Happy, healthy and motivated workforce supports:
- Reduced absenteeism
- Increased productivity and increased effectiveness
- Happier content staff giving rise to better recruitment retention
- Good reputation as an employer and service delivered to customers
There are many issues relating to workplace wellbeing:
- Repetitive Strain Injury
- Back pain
- Bullying/harassment (by colleagues or customers)
- Impact of working environment including light, noise, heat or contact with hazardous substances
- Light, noise, & heat
- Accident or injury
- Long term illness
There are occasions when our home life has an impact on our work. For example, people may be struggling with debt; they could have a family member who is disabled or unwell; dealing with divorce or even an event such as flood or fire.
As an Employer what can you do?
- Ensure that your staff have received full training for their jobs including health and safety issues
- Review your sickness and absence policies in line with best practice and make reasonable adjustments where necessary
- Train your managers to be better at dealing with employee sickness absence and to support them when returning to work
- Ensure that you have a safe environment for your staff to work in
- Positively promote healthy living
- Try to invest in the health and wellbeing of your staff (such as occupational health support or employee assistance programmes)
The workplace is a great setting to promote wellbeing initiatives to help prevent:
- Drug & alcohol abuse
Click to visit the Government Business Link website. This site offers guidance on many wellbeing and occupational health problems together with Guide downloads from HSE
There are strong links between good health and work. Being out of work can lower self esteem and confidence. Your health can have a direct impact on how well you do your job. If you are feeling happy and healthy you will inevitably do your job to a better standard than if you are feeling stressed or unwell.
If you are happy at work you are not so likely to take work problems home with you and therefore you will have a better work home balance.
And of course a good attendance record will be something a new employer always asks about.
Returning to Work
It is not only your employer who is responsible for your wellbeing at work - we all have a role to play.
- If your employer offers any health services make the most of them
- Speak to your employer about managing any work-related problems or changing your working patterns
- Work with your employer to improve attendance
Benefits of working:
Taking time off work is not always the best way to speed up your recovery. There can sometimes be long term consequences of being absent from work for a long time.
- Being in work is good for our health.
- Being out of work is bad for physical and mental health.
- The longer we are out of work, the harder it can be to get back.
- Returning to work improves health and can aid recovery from health problems.
- The health benefits of work outweigh the health risks.
Employment advice services have been introduced in some GP surgeries to help people manage financial difficulties including debt problems. Debt counselling or advice from Citizens Advice Bureau can help.
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