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What is Health and Wellbeing at Work?
July 13, 2017
In its simplest form, health and wellbeing at work is the application of a set plan or strategy laid out by a business to keep its workforce motivated, happy and most of all present at work so that they can continue to remain productive and make a significant contribution to the overall success of the company.
Unfortunately most organisations invest very little time or money in their health and wellbeing strategy, and this leads to low morale and poor attendance from their members of staff.
Health and wellbeing at work are now viewed by many larger organisations as being crucial to the success of a business and its principles can be applied to a varied range of industries and trades, primarily to drive productivity from staff and help to reduce sickness absence rates. Businesses now understand that in order to be successful and achieve their financial targets, they must look to invest in ensuring a happy and healthy workforce.
Building health and wellbeing at work into the pattern of everyday business can be a challenge, but implemented in the right way with a balanced and considered strategy, it can pay huge dividends later down the line.
Many organisations across the world took note of the World Health Organisation's 'Healthy Workplace Model' (released in 2010) and used this as their starting point, jumping straight in to try and create a positive attitude and enthusiasm amongst staff. Whilst this was a good initial move, there was often a lack of structure surrounding these principles and it was sometimes questionable whether the majority of changes were actually what the workforce wanted in the first place.
It is therefore vital that a layer of planning is implemented early for any changes to have a positive impact, as a lack of evaluation or analysis can mean a reduction in investment for the concept of health and wellbeing at work going forwards. One of the biggest benefits of adding this level of planning can be the engagement and participation from the workforce themselves, who are keen to sample any changes and voice their own opinions if they don't see eye to eye.
Since the turn of the millennium, health and wellbeing at work has become an important strategic objective for almost all larger organisations these days. There have been some high-profile struggles with maintaining a strong health and wellbeing at work strategy, the most notable being the wealthiest company in the world - Apple. After a string of shocking incidents including suicides and riots at their iPhone and iPad factories in China during 2013, Apple have since pledged that the health and wellbeing of their staff members has been 'significantly reviewed', and quotes on their website now read 'a safe and healthy workplace is a requirement, not an option' and 'it's not enough to set high standards. We must work every day to make sure they're upheld'.
This goes to show that while money is important in driving change and supporting the needs of a workforce, even the super-rich businesses can get it wrong.
For small or medium-sized businesses, a strategy that lacks longevity or significance can lead to low workforce morale and high employee turnover. This eventually has an impact on the financial figures and will ultimately start to drain profits, as the business may have to act to deal with absent staff by increasing the workload on others, thereby reducing productivity, or hiring more employees.
What can I do to help my business?
Here at Wellbeing People, we recognise that it can be difficult to develop and implement your own personalised strategy for the health and wellbeing of your workforce. We have created Engaged Prevention - a system of 8 key steps that will provide your organisation with an effective, measurable wellbeing strategy.
The main principle behind this system is the ambition to help an individual realise that they are responsible for their own health, and that understanding what healthy living can do leads to an improved quality of life. From a company perspective, this will lead to greater productivity and higher workforce morale.
The steps of Engaged Prevention include brand, communicate, engage, empower, refer, intervention, support and outcome. In its simplest form, the health and wellbeing of an individual can be greatly improved by just drinking more water while at work, or making sure they choose a packet of nuts or a slice of fruit instead of a chocolate bar.
Health and wellbeing at work is hugely important for both the employees and the employer. Having a positive, healthy workforce can be the difference between a business that is just ticking over, and a business turning huge profits whilst growing year on year.