Occupational Safety and Health Forum Occupational Safety and Health Forum Occupational Safety and Health Forum Occupational Safety and Health Forum Occupational Safety and Health Forum

Posts Tagged :

employee wellbeing

WEBINAR REWIND: Burnout Behind the Scenes – Health & Safety Practitioners Under Pressure

Don’t worry if you missed last week’s insightful RiskPal webinar addressing the hidden signs of burnout – you can rewatch the entire session on-demand!

The pandemic started as a whirlwind before evolving into a long-drawn-out storm. For many companies, Health & Safety practitioners became the first point of contact for the provision of advice, risk assessments and response, dramatically increasing their workload and stress. The two-year pandemic elevated the importance of Health and Safety to the forefront of business resilience and staff health. Ironically, this has meant that Health & Safety people have been under enormous emotional and physical pressure to keep their businesses going, often at the cost of their own wellbeing.

The webinar features IOSH President Louise Hosking, Ruth Denyer (Co-President of IIRSM), and Michael Byrne (Group Head of Health & Safety at News UK), reflecting on the experiences of the sector and identify unresolved issues. Most importantly it focuses on realistic solutions organisations have adopted to manage burnout amongst Health & Safety practitioners.

For more information, visit www.riskpal.com, or email info@riskpal.com.

You can watch the entire session again below:

Adopting a Culture of Movement: Supporting Employees to Keep Active and Healthy

As many workplaces have gradually switched to a flexible working scheme, alternating between working in the office and at home, there is no hiding that employees may currently be struggling to receive support for their physical health and keep active. 

The NHS suggests that adults should be aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week. In fact, prolonged inactiveness accounts for about 70,000 deaths per year in Britain alone. 

What’s more, research shows that the rate of unexpected, illness-related absenteeism is more substantial in workers who are less physically active. Small tweaks in habits can have a massive impact on people’s productivity, absence rates, and overall health. 

With some insights from Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, we take a look at how employers can prioritise employee wellbeing and encourage their staff members to be more active both outside and inside the workplace...

Setting up a culture of movement

Workplace culture can have a significant effect on employee wellbeing and behaviour. A manager or leader who promotes the importance of physical health will truly encourage their workers to exercise more during the day.

One way of embedding activity into the workplace culture is to include physical health support as a key feature of your wellbeing plan and strategy. Here are some policies you may want to consider:

  • Offer discounted rates for equipment and gym access
  • Schemes to encourage employees to cycle to work
  • Educational fitness classes or exercise sessions that are free of charge
  • Reserving time slots for exercise and physical activity during people’s shifts
  • Standing desks and flexible workspaces

Of course, every organisation will take a different approach based on its needs and possibilities, but always make sure to ask your employees how you can help to keep them active while at work.

Share your exercise policies with your team and invite them to take advantage of the various options. To keep track of the effectiveness of your physical activity programme, make note of people’s engagement and evaluate the long-term impact it’s having on the business.

How to encourage your employees to move more and feel empowered!

To ensure you are incorporating physical activity into the working day, it is crucial to enable your people to prioritise it. One idea could be to send out monthly wellbeing emails with resources, links to online workouts and general exercise tips.

Also, make allowances for managers to discuss physical wellbeing, as well as mental health, personal targets, and performance, during one-to-one meetings with team members. Ultimately, employees will feel empowered to make physical activity a priority if their managers are too.

As for in-office facilities, business owners can actively support their workers’ physical health by creating a designated area for exercise and activities within the workplace. Whether it’s converting a quiet corner or a compact meeting room, an active space with mats, resistance bands and dumbbells can become a huge asset to the office. In fact, it will certainly encourage and help employees enjoy some exercising at work.

If you don’t have enough space for an active space, consider offering your employees discounted memberships for popular chain gyms. This will help your team stay fit and healthy whatever their schedule.

Seven great resources to help get you started

  1. NHS physical activity guidelines – Exercise advice for people aged 19 to 64.
  • Helpful Move More at Work guidance – Feel free to download these resources as a PDF and print out some useful workplace posters. You will also find some 10-minute workplace exercise videos.
  • Health and lifestyle screenings – Confidential one-to-one health screenings for employees with an experienced coach.

Call for employers to offer menopause support to staff

Employers are being urged to develop more inclusive and supportive workplace cultures and managerial styles to help menopausal women feel comfortable discussing their symptoms and requesting support.

The call is among a series of recommendations from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) in response to a UK Government inquiry into menopause and the workplace which it is making public ahead of World Menopause Day, which took place on October 18th.

The inquiry was launched after a survey found that three in five menopausal women were negatively affected at work by their symptoms, with nearly 900,000 women in the UK leaving their jobs over an undefined amount of time because of it.

While there are examples of good practice in some workplaces, IOSH believes a concerted effort is required to support women to ensure they not only remain in their jobs but are able to flourish.

The institution, which represents more than 47,000 health and safety professionals around the world, recommends a number of measures, which include:

  • Considering whether existing policies and procedures cater for the psychosocial needs of menopause-related issues, for example whether they can introduce flexible working patterns
  • Ensuring risk assessments consider specific risks to menopausal women and identify reasonable adjustments for individuals
  • Developing awareness, training and education strategies that raise understanding of the menopause and associated symptoms, their impact on work and potential solutions
  • Following the advice of health and safety professionals based on the outcomes of age – and gender – sensitive health risk assessments, including potential changes in functional capacities
  • Developing more inclusive and supportive workplace cultures and managerial styles that make women feel comfortable disclosing symptoms or requesting adjustments to support them with symptoms.

Dr Karen Michell, an occupational health specialist at IOSH, said: “Menopause can and often does have physical, mental and emotional effects on women and their ability to cope with work. Yet very few workplaces and managers are knowledgeable on how to address work-related menopause issues and the preventive role that occupational health and safety can play.

“This is concerning. As with other health issues, women, and in particular women of ethnic minorities, should feel comfortable being able to discuss their symptoms with line managers and other colleagues and be able to request additional support which helps them in their roles.

“We encourage employers to approach menopause in the workplace with a more holistic view that puts the spotlight on providing effective management practices, practical support and the adoption of a workplace culture of an open nature for those experiencing symptoms rather than solely focusing on superficial initiatives, such as the development of a specific policy on menopause.”

HSE releases tools to help employers manage stress in the workplace

Stress management is a big factor in health and safety which has knock-on effects for psychological wellbeing and accident prevention – so the HSE has released a series of new tools and resources to help employers manage stress in the workplace. 

The tools include online resources and new risk assessments that are intended to help employers spot signs of worker ill-mental health and develop strategies for dealing with them.

The HSE says the toll of psychological ill-health on an organisation can be really damaging, with risks including increased suicide rates and accidents due to psychological issues. These all have the ability to seriously impact health and safety.

The HSE is urging employers to review the stress-causing factors within their workplace that employees could be subjected to. With stress and depression accounting for 51% of all work-related ill health, the issue is a big problem for companies, their workforce and their efficiency, the body says.

The HSE Executive also released 6 key factors that need to be looked at when it comes to managing stress in the workplace. 

  1. Demands: workload and the work environment
  2. Control: how much control the individual has over their work
  3. Support: how much support and encouragement resources are available 
  4. Relationships: does the working environment encourage good behaviours? 
  5. Role: whether they understand their role within the organisation
  6. Change: how to change large or small is communicated

The HSE Executive’s Head of Stress and Mental Health Policy said: “It’s well known that stress can make you ill. We know that work-related stress depression and anxiety has increased in recent years, and the last year has presented new challenges that have never been faced before, and which may affect the workplaces of the UK for some time to come.

“Good communication is vital as stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect another. If you don’t understand the problem or its extent, tackling it will be more difficult. Factors like skills and experience, age or disability may all affect whether an employee can cope. People feel stress when they can’t cope with the pressures or demands put on them, either in work or other outside issues. Start talking to your colleagues about any issues now – the earlier a problem is tackled the less impact it will have.”