The World Health Organisation (WHO, 1948) defines health as “more than an absence of illness – rather a feeling of physical, emotional and psychological wellness”. Applying a holistic approach to the physical and mental health of employees benefits the individual, the team and the organisation. With ever increasing demands in the workplace, it can be tempting to try to manage resources by compromising on health, and even safety. However, in the long run this will result in employees developing physical and mental ailments, which will eventually lead to prolonged absenteeism and reduced productivity and. CIPD research has shown that companies that invest in the wellbeing of their staff are ultimately more successful.
Here are some very simple suggestions to increase the ‘Feel Good’ factor at work:
This may sound almost too obvious but it is surprising how many people fall short on this basic human need. Health experts recommend that adults should drink an average of 8 glasses of water a day. Lack of sufficient water leads to dehydration, meaning that the body is unable to perform its basic functions properly – this then leads to the brain slowing down and excessive tiredness. Investing in a filtered water dispenser for the office, with both cold and warm water freely available ‘on tap’, will encourage employees to stay fully hydrated.
Whether in the staff canteen, at breaks during workshops, or in a dispenser in the corridor, make sure that that are healthy foods available. Dried fruit or nuts can fulfill a mid morning craving just as well as sweets or cakes. This will avoid a ‘sugar rush’, which can lead to pupils dilating, dizziness, lack of concentration and boisterous behaviour, and its subsequent swing to low mood and fatigue. Also, many employees would like to lose a little weight to feel more positively about themselves, and healthier nibbles can certainly support this too.
Avoid long periods of intensive working, especially if the work requires unbroken focus. Efficiency will naturally reduce after a few hours, and productivity will be considerably enhanced overall if breaks are taken as required. Those working with computers may develop eye strain, those working in caring roles may find compassion fatigue creeping in, and those working with machinery or driving vehicles could be putting themselves and others in danger.
When leaders and managers are personally committed to healthy living in the workplace and set a good example by ‘walking the talk’, others are likely to follow. By being proactive in setting the norm, by not compromising on health or working too hard, they will enable others to see that this makes a difference, and can inspire and motivate others throughout the organisation to strive for and achieve healthy living and a good work life balance.
CiC-EAP provide a number of services to promote organisational wellbeing. For more information on our workplace wellbeing services get in touch with us now, or call +44 (0)20 7376 1914.