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workplace wellbeing

Employers need to be disability confident, as reporting likely to become mandatory

Employers currently voluntarily report information on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace – however the Government has consulted on making this mandatory, with the outcome due imminently.

Employers need to be ready for this change, and play their part in closing the disability employment gap within their own business, says GRiD, the industry body for group risk.  

Employers have been increasingly prioritising the health and wellbeing of their people, but this needs to go further, with more focus on supporting those with long-term health conditions and disabilities to enter and stay in the business.

The number of disabled people in employment
The Government’s manifesto commitment to increase the number of disabled people in employment by one million by 2027 has been achieved five years early: latest ONS figures show that between Q1, 2017 and Q1, 2022 the number of disabled people in employment increased by 1.3 million(1).

Overall, 4.8 million disabled people were employed in Q1 2022(1). However, in practice this means that only 54% of people with disabilities are employed, compared with 82% of people without disabilities(2). 

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson, Group Risk Development (GRiD) said: “The fact that the target to employ more people with a disability was achieved five years early could indicate it wasn’t ambitious enough. More is likely to be expected of employers, and they’ll need to deliver.”

What employers need to do
Under the Equality Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments(3) to support disabled job applicants and employees. This includes ensuring they can overcome substantial disadvantages in applying for, or doing, a job and progressing in work. 

Many adjustments are easy to implement, and may cost little or nothing. This might include making changes to working patterns, providing parking, ensuring information is accessible, modifying recruitment processes or by allowing extra time for tests and assessments.

Employees themselves can get financial support through Access to Work(4) for extra costs they have at work because of their disability or long-term health condition. This might include adapting equipment to make it easier to use or money for travel costs if they can’t use public transport, etc.

Benefits to employers
Ensuring employees are aware of available support not only helps businesses hire disabled people with the skills they need, but it also helps them retain employees who develop a long-term health condition or disability while in employment. This keeps skills and knowledge in the business, saving time and expense in recruitment. 

Vitally, this also sends a clear message to other staff, that the business takes the health and wellbeing of their workforce seriously – and this has great benefits to wider business objectives.

Moxham continued: “This will be a new area for many companies, but it comes with a huge benefit: it opens up a previously unconsidered pool of highly motivated candidates offering the talent, skills and potential that all businesses need, particularly right now in this time of high employment.”

Utilise employee benefits effectively
Employers will find a great deal of help within their employee benefits package that supports employees already in work who develop a long-term health condition or disability, and GRiD is encouraging all to investigate what’s available.

Moxham concluded: “For example, group income protection policies provide long-term sick pay, and they also include access to help from vocational rehabilitation specialists, along with advice and support on making reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act. And it’s not unusual for insurers to help with extra costs to keep someone in work on an ex gratia basis, such as providing equipment.”

Employers need to be aware of what they need to do to meet the likely changes in reporting. The government’s Disability Confident scheme(5) is a good place to start, which is designed to help employers consider how to improve how they attract, recruit and retain workers with a disability or long-term health condition.

How the disability employment gap is calculated

The disability employment gap is calculated by comparing the percentage of people with and without disabilities who are in employment. In Q1 2022, the disability employment gap was 28.2 percentage points – a decrease of 0.2 percentage points on the year, and an overall decrease of 5.6 percentage points since the same quarter in 2014.1 

1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-hits-goal-to-see-a-million-more-disabled-people-in-work#:~:text=The%20disability%20employment%20gap%20was,the%20same%20quarter%20in%202014.
2.https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/labourmarketstatusofdisabledpeoplea08
3. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/part/2/chapter/2/crossheading/adjustments-for-disabled-persons
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-guide-for-employers/access-to-work-factsheet-for-employers
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/disability-confident-campaign

Importance of health & wellbeing support for recruitment & retention singled out in research

Health and wellbeing support is a major factor in the recruitment and retention of talent – in a survey of 500 HR decision makers in the UK, 42% stated their support for the health and wellbeing of staff is a key reason people stay with the company.

In addition, 31% said health and wellbeing support is a key reason people choose to work for them, based on results of a survey undertaken by Towergate Health & Protection.

Debra Clark, head of specialist consulting, Towergate Health & Protection, said: “The research supports our anecdotal evidence of the wider reaches of health and wellbeing support, and why it is so important that employers have a clear and well-communicated strategy. The wider the health and wellbeing support offered, the better the array of talent it will attract and retain.”  

On the flipside, nearly one in five (18%) employers stated that not offering enough health and wellbeing support impacts their ability to recruit and retain people: a stark warning for all.

Health and wellbeing
Support for health in general was viewed by 42% of employers to have increased the most in importance for enhancing the recruitment and retention of talent. Twenty-six percent of employers said support for mental health had increased most in importance, and 19% said it was the overall health and wellbeing package that had grown most in terms of priorities. 

Social interaction through work (11%), communication of support offered (9%), support for financial health (9%), and an environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy (8%), were also identified as increasing in importance. So the support offered needs to be wide and holistic.

Implementing a strong health and wellbeing programme

According to the survey results, and evidence seen by Towergate Health & Protection across its client base, implementing a strong health and wellbeing programme is vital in the recruitment and retention of talent. Moreover, the programme must be widely communicated to employees and easily accessed and managed by employees and employers alike if it is really going to make a difference. 

The four pillars of health and wellbeing
A strong programme must support all four pillars of health and wellbeing – emotional, physical, financial, and social health – to add the most value to recruitment and retention. The research shows that all four are not only important in keep existing employees healthy, and to retain their loyalty, but also to attract new employees. 

Clark added: “Employees’ needs and demands have shifted dramatically since before the pandemic struck. We have all had a realignment of priorities, and employers need to match these if they are to attract and retain the best staff, which is only going to become more important.”

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:

86% of employers think employees require more support for health and wellbeing since the pandemic


Of the four pillars of health and wellbeing – mental, physical, social, and financial health – mental health has been placed as the top issue for concern from employers and also the area where employees would most like more support, with 40% of employers saying they are more concerned about the mental health of staff since the pandemic.  

That’s according to the results from Towergate Health & Protection’s research into the changes in health and wellbeing support needed by employees since the pandemic.

Increasing concerns 

Employers are also now more concerned about all areas of health and wellbeing:

  • 22% are more concerned about the physical health of employees, with difficulty getting to see GPs, pressures on the NHS, and delays in being diagnosed and treated for serious conditions. 
  • 17% are more concerned for the financial health of employees since the pandemic. 
  • 13% are more concerned about social health including, for instance, increased isolation.

Changing expectations
Over half (53%) of employers say their employees would like more mental health support since the pandemic. Forty-one percent feel that social support is needed more than previously. Over a third (36%) believe their staff now want more support for their financial health, and another third (36%) also think employees want more help with their physical health since the pandemic. 

Overall, this means that 86% of employers believe employee expectations have changed and that they require more support for their health and wellbeing since the pandemic. 

Larger corporates Vs SMEs
The impact of the pandemic on mental health effect appears to have been felt more by employees in larger companies. Nearly half (49%) of employers in companies with 250+ staff said they are more concerned about the mental health of staff since the pandemic. This compares to 37% of SMEs. 

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of large corporates said employees would like more mental health support than previously, compared to less than half (46%) of SMEs. 

Re-evaluating 
Brett Hill, head of distribution for Towergate Health & Protection, said: “Employers need to re-evaluate their healthand wellbeing support in the wake of Covid. Working practices have changed and so have attitudes and expectations. It is important for any health and wellbeing programme to recognise the changing needs of employees and to be adaptable as we adjust to life post-pandemic.”  

Surveying needs
A good way to re-evaluate and reposition health and wellbeing is to start by asking employees what they want. This may be through a simple survey or a more complex mix of ideas forums, research, and focus groups. Being aware that requirements may have changed is an important first step.   

Making help available
While mental health has been highlighted as the biggest issue, the research shows that increased support is required across all four of the pillars of health and wellbeing. Employers need to ensure that employees have access to the support that will most benefit them and meet with their individual requirements.   A benefits platform can also assist here where employees can access all benefits in one place. 

Mental health support can be available in many forms, from talking with colleagues and managers, to offering access to specialist independent counselling. 

Health and fitness benefits have advanced greatly recently. There are now a great many apps, reward schemes and groups to help encourage staff to have a healthy lifestyle, including starting and maintaining fitness regimes. The pandemic has seen a rise in the use of virtual GPs and online consultations, and these can make appointments easier to arrange and quicker to attend. 

It is social lives that have perhaps changed the most throughout the pandemic. It is important for employers to look at new ways to allow employees to socialise together, especially if a move has been made to hybrid working. 

Financial health must not be forgotten. Financial concerns can cause a great deal of stress, leading itself to physical, mental and social ill health. Benefits that help people manage their finances, and that offer a direct financial benefit can be a great support to employees.

Hill concluded: ‘There have been a lot of challenges for businesses and their workforces to deal with during the pandemic, and these have affected all areas of health and wellbeing. Now is a good time for employers to look at solutions available for them to help their staff.’

73% of employees will choose next employer based on health and wellbeing support

A survey of UK employers and employees has shown that while just over half (56%) of employers admit they regularly check in with all employees to enquire about their health and wellbeing and 55% provide laptops, 73% of employees are ready to choose their next employer based on physical, health and wellbeing support and flexible technology provision.

The Future of Work survey by Ergotron, a global company designing and manufacturing ergonomic solutions to improve workspaces and interaction with technology, revealed that despite 88% of employers seeing the importance of bringing  IT devices when working in different rooms, almost a quarter (23%) of employers disagreed that the provision of the right ergonomic work conditions and support in employees’ health and overall well-being would be a strong asset in talent acquisition.

This rose to 43% in organisations with 250-500 employees, and a staggering 64% of HR industry respondents. However, the finance and tech sectors most appreciate the significance of these factors, with 80% of those in IT/telecoms and 75% of those in finance agreeing the importance.

However, employers appear to have the ambition to make a success of remote working, appreciating the importance of an agile working environment. 73% think it’s important for workers to be able to switch between sitting and standing to support their physical needs while at work (87% of businesses with 250-500 employees) and over half (52%) of workers consider it important.

Due to the need to collaborate with remote teams, and to work from home, the office or other locations, flexibility of technology, and portability of devices, has become critical too. 77% of employees and 88% of employers agreed on the importance of being able to bring their IT devices with them when working in different rooms. Yet only 55% of employers claim they are supplying a laptop to workers for home, office or third space.

Results of the survey showed a clear disparity in terms of equipment employees deem essential  and what employers provide. Despite 89% of workers and 89% of employers citing a laptop as important, only 65% of all employees claim to have been provided one and 55% of employers admit to providing one. 75% of workers and 81% of employers concurred on the importance of an ergonomic chair, yet again, only 19% of workers claimed employers had supplied them with one.

With an increasing amount of technology applications required for typical work roles, 65% of employers said it’s important to have a large screen monitor (between 30 – 49 inches) but less than a third (28%) of employees have been supplied one and 30% of employers admitted they had provided one. 15% of workers claimed employers had not provided any equipment at all – including a laptop, ergonomic chair, large monitor, or a subsidy for equipment. While 30% of employers claim to offer a subsidy to workers to buy their own equipment, only 17% of employees claim they have been offered this.

Richard Guy, Country Sales Manager UK & Ireland at Ergotron, said: “We’re now in the third year of a new workstyle for most organisations, and business leaders should by now have assessed their workspaces and at least be in planning to deliver for workers’ needs – their organisation’s biggest asset. The importance of the need for adaptable workstyles has grown hugely to build safe, healthy, productive, and collaborative working environments – and workers’ needs sit well above what their employers are currently providing. Most alarming is the lack of attention to workers’ comfort and wellbeing while at work. In addressing this and other dedicated resources for a remote or hybrid workstyle, employers will provide supportive working environments which attract and retain staff, which is the making of a business. Given the business need for digital agility, deferring remote working provision will hold organisations back regardless of size or sector.”

Wellbeing in the Workplace: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Stress has become one of the great public health challenges of our time, but it still isn’t being taken as seriously as physical health concerns. April sees the return of Stress Awareness Month, now in its 30th year, to help increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, around 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Whether work-related or personal, stress can place demands on both the physical and mental health of employees with symptoms influencing their behaviour, relationships with colleagues and performance.

Stress is often a leading cause of work absences and 2019 alone saw over 602,000 cases of work-related stress and anxiety in the UK. Stress affects everyone, and it’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s a human response to the stressors and strains of modern life. But what causes it and how can we spot it within the workplace?

Causes

Stress in the workplace isn’t always caused by one singular event or incident, it can often be a culmination of day-to-day stressors that build up over time into a more sustained period of stress. Some key stressors include;

  • excessive workload and/or unrealistic deadlines 
  • poor work/life balance
  • difficulties maintaining relationships with colleagues
  • lack of control over how to complete a job 
  • lack of support and information to complete tasks
  • being unclear of job role and responsibilities

It is worth noting that stress affects everyone differently, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to solving the issue. Individual factors such as skills, experience, age, disability, tolerance and personality may all have an impact on someone’s ability to deal with stressors.  

Symptoms 

Stress isn’t always easy to diagnose due to its wide-ranging impact on both physical and mental health which means it can be expressed in a variety of ways. Physically, long-term stress can increase the likelihood of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, immunosuppression, insomnia, headaches and much more which left untreated or managed can cause complications later in life. 

Mentally, a simple sign of stress is ‘Brain Fog’ which is often described as a cloudy or muddled feeling, it is mainly characterised by confusion, forgetfulness, and a lack of focus and mental clarity. However, some key symptom indicators in the workplace could be identified by;

  • Performance at Work;
    • Declining performance
    • Unexpected errors
    • Loss of motivation or commitment
    • Memory lapses
    • Lack of interaction 
    • Arriving late / leaving early 
  • Behaviour Changes
    • Irritable/moodiness
    • Over-reactionary
    • Argumentative/temperamental
    • Noticeable mood swings 
    • Overly critical 
    • Clashes with colleagues

The Knock-On Effect

Alongside the individual effects, stress and mental ill health is responsible for 72 million working days lost every year, costing over £40bn to the economy, highlighting the importance of employers taking stock of the impact that work, demands, deadlines, support (or lack thereof), and much more has on an individual. 

To help support you and your colleagues, hero has a range of engaging and thought-provoking packages available to identify and understand stressors, and work to help prevent stress in the future:

Mental Resilience Programme

  • Webinar 30mins + Q&A (£600)
  • Digital Workshop – <90mins (£800)
  • Physical Activity Webinar – 20 mins (£150)
  • Full Package (£1,495 + VAT)

Sessions can include; Introduction to Wellbeing, Mental Health Awareness, Positive Mindset, Better Sleep, Understanding Stress, Winter Wellbeing, Brain Health, Power of the Breath, Positive Psychology, Food & Mood, Movement for Mood, Mindfulness, Managing Anxiety, Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, Post-Pandemic Resilience, Seasonal Affective Disorder

With access to hero’s award-winning whole-person health wellbeing platform, Navigator, your team will gain access to evidence-based, research-led solutions and resources. For more information please get in touch with hero.

How to support new employees’ holistic health this National Careers Week

By Cheryl McKown, Apprenticeship and Graduate Senior Manager for Bupa Global & UK

A tumultuous 24 months has led many people to think carefully about their careers and many are now looking for a change in career or a new role that will be fulfilling and rewarding. 

New starters benefit businesses, as they bring fresh perspectives and up to date industry insights, and successful placements can lead to productive, long-term working relationships. So how can businesses ensure that they are fully supporting their new recruits to stay happy, healthy and motivated?

Create supportive networks
Helping your new starter to grow into your team starts with getting to know them. It’s important to embrace what makes them different and in doing this, you’ll create an environment where everyone is encouraged to be themselves. 

Think about ways you can help new people bond and collaborate with others at their level – for example, you could create a buddy or mentor system, connecting new starters with those who have a little more experience, as well as providing access to dedicated online forums and channels.

Employees who feel that their organisation takes an active interest in their wellbeing are more likely to stay motivated, engaged and loyal. Think about arranging informal get-togethers, either virtually or in person to help them to feel part of the team from the off.

Encourage a good work-life balance
Particularly at first, some people may find a new role challenging and time consuming as they get to know the ins and outs of the business.

Instil good time management skills by working together with your new starter to plan how they’ll manage their time. In getting to know them, you’ll get an idea of how they use their free time and what a good work-life balance looks like for them. 

Work-life balance is really important in protecting against things like burn out, anxiety and stress, so make sure your people are also building in time let off steam and recharge.

Some people love yoga, others prefer to hit the gym and some might find cooking or crafts help them relax. Getting enough sleep is also crucial.

Embrace diversity
As well as celebrating individualism, embracing those from different demographics and with different cognitive styles helps to open the floor to ideas from all employees at all levels. This can harness insightful views from a range of backgrounds, leading to a wider understanding of what your business offers and can provide, from a diverse mindset.

If your new starter is from a background that’s not yet well represented across the rest of your organisation, think about how you can specifically support them so that they feel comfortable and included. 

At Bupa Global & UK, we launched the ‘Be You at Bupa’ commitment to reiterate that everyone in our business – from all backgrounds – can feel comfortable bringing their whole self to work every day. By celebrating and supporting people’s differences, we aim to promote collaboration, encouraging everyone to feel comfortable working here.

Feedback is key
Taking the time to check in with your new starter can go a long way to helping them feel listened to and appreciated, which can foster better wellbeing and company loyalty. Additionally, an open-door approach can help people to feel psychologically safe approaching you with any queries or concerns about their learning.

A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ goes a long way to boosting employees’ feeling of worth. Feeling properly rewarded for workplace efforts helps to boost mental wellbeing and decrease stress.

Regular appraisals or one-to-one sessions give you and your employee the chance to speak freely, helping you to gauge what they are enjoying and make any adjustments to help them enjoy their role more. As well as listening to them, these check-ins provide the chance to provide any constructive feedback, too.

Promote good all-round health
If you introduce your new starter to a workplace culture that places value on the benefits of being honest and open about both mental and physical help, they’re more likely to follow suit and feel confident to put their health first if they ever need to.

Promoting a positive culture like this will encourage your new team member – as well as the rest of your team – to bring their full self to work. Finding out what makes your people tick can help you to understand them better, spot any signs that they need further support, and generate an inclusive team spirit with increased productivity.

You can help to further support your employees by ensuring that they’ve got access to employee wellbeing services, like Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), GP appointments or health assessments.

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.

How can happy employees make for more productive workers?

The well-being of employees is crucial. Improper care for staff can impact their performance and can have harmful effects within a company. The Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) conducted research in 2020 demonstrating that reduced labour activity can occur as a result of high stress. Case studies also showed that workplace wellness programmes can result in increased productivity.

So, producing strategies can benefit both the employees and businesses by ensuring that their needs are met. Here, we’ll explore some of the ways that businesses can safeguard their staff.

Implementing safety measures

There are many risks in workplaces, especially relating to physical safety. Between 2017-2018, it was reported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that 1.4 million people suffered from work-related illnesses in the UK. As a result, the economy suffered a loss of £15 billion.

High quality working conditions are important to ensure the safety of employees, this includes regular monitoring of equipment. Damage to tools can reduce worker efficiency and could even risk injuring the employee. So it’s important that equipment checks are carried out on a routine basis.

Statistics from the HSE have revealed that between 2018-2021 the number of non-fatal injuries within the construction industry was an average of 61,000 each year. There were also 39 fatal injuries in 2020-2021. With the benefit of protecting staff, the business also can ensure that the site is allowing room for productivity so work is being completed with no issues.

Without physical safety checks there could be many dangerous situations – particularly in industries like construction. These circumstances can impact their health, so they may have to be absent from work. Not only would this affect the business, but it also could have harmful effects on the worker, causing stress from time off work. In 2020, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) discovered through case studies that 97% of construction industry professionals had reported high levels of stress. When the employee is eventually fit to work again an injury might have a lasting effect on work and lead to reduced productivity levels.

Recognising essential amenities

Several physical needs can have an impact on our mental state, which is why onsite toilet hire for e.g. construction workers is necessary. Providing employees with this reduces the likelihood of distraction and ensures that staff are comfortable and completing work to a high standard.

Water supply can be insufficient at times. Whether this be for hydration or cleanliness, this is essential to ensure that workers’ well-being is maintained. Especially in summer, dehydration among workers can lead to reduced productivity or illness. Making sure that employees are being cared for with suitable amenities ensures that they stay healthy in the workplace.

Acknowledging mental health issues

The physical well-being of workers is not the only area to consider, it is important to maintain their mental well-being too.

Monitoring workload can be a simple way to ensure that your employees’ mental well-being is not being negatively affected. Concerns over disciplinary action may cause individuals to hide their issues with work, which could lead to mental health issues. Working whilst ill and absent workers are two issues that annually cost the UK £73 billion. Improving staff well-being can reduce this by creating a comfortable working environment for employees to devote themselves to the company.

Simply encouraging workers to openly discuss their mental health can improve well-being significantly. Although some employees may feel anxious at the thought of revealing their issues, promoting awareness in the workplace can create a safer environment. This transparency can lead to open discussions to provide solutions and improved well-being.

Research by Forbes shows that employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. Feeling the benefits of a caring employer has a clear positive impact on productivity levels. The construction industry is known for lack of support for the workers, so applying support strategies may set an important example.

In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of the need to improve the well-being of workers. However, there is always room for improvement, which in turn can positively impact both employees and the business. By implementing simple strategies to care for staff, companies could see an improvement in their business’ productivity.

Wellbeing in the Workplace: Time to start counting sheep!

Sleep. It’s something we spend a third of our life doing, but why is it important for workplace wellbeing? As technology has advanced and attention spans have dwindled, combined with the 24/7 “always on” culture in today’s modern society, sleep has never before been pushed so far down the pecking order in terms of importance.

Sleep is crucial for the core functionality and efficiency of the human body and without enough of it, it can cause serious and lasting health complications. It’s important that employers realise the impact that work, demands, deadlines, support (or lack thereof), and much more has on an individual’s sleep, and that more can always be done to sufficiently support their colleagues.

Physical Complications

Put simply, a lack of sleep can have an extremely negative effect on the body. Physically, poor sleep health can also put the body at a higher risk of serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. Not to mention that sleeping less can lead to weight gain due to reduced levels of leptin (the chemical that makes you feel full) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone). Poor sleep also has a detrimental effect on the immune system, putting the body at greater risk of infections, bugs and common viruses.

Mentally, a lack of sleep can cause the brain to fog, making it difficult to concentrate and make decisions, making work and completing simple tasks harder and taking longer to complete. The risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road also increases. It can also cause employees to feel fatigued, short tempered, and irritable. Chronic sleep debt may also lead to long-term mood disorders like clinical depression and generalised anxiety disorder in adults.

Employee Performance

Therefore, whether the workforce within your business is manual, physical or office-based, a lack of sleep can could present itself in different ways, however, it is likely to be more noticeable at work while the brain is under more strain to perform, some key indicators could be:

  • Decreased communication 
  • Performance deterioration
  • Poor concentration
  • Increased caffeine intake
  • Greater risk-taking behaviour
  • Increased number of errors
  • Poor mood and/or appropriate behaviour
  • Poor cognitive assimilation and memory
  • Increased sickness/absences 

Knock-On Effects

The health complications associated with poor sleep health can lead to a significant impact on business performance too. According to RAND Europe, 200,000 working days are lost each year due to sleep-related absences, costing the economy around £40bn each year – equivalent to 1.86% of GDP.

With access to hero’s award-winning wellbeing platform, Navigator, your team will gain access to evidence-based, research-led solutions, including advice from sleep experts and a wealth of resources, to help provide a positive impact on staff. For more information please get in touch with hero.

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