Simple changes to boost your workplace health and wellbeing

Westfield Health

This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2020 Growth Through People campaign.

Growth Through People is the Chamber’s annual campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity and grow through improved leadership and people management skills. In 2020 this involves 8 free workshops taking place between 2nd March and 27th March, culminating in a full-day Growth Through People conference on 2nd April. In addition, throughout the campaign the Chambers will be publishing thought leadership podcasts, videos and blog content such as this.

Thanks to our Headline Sponsors – Prime Accountants Group, Aston University, Curium Solutions and CIPD - all workshops are free to attend. Interested readers can find out more and register to attend Growth Through People workshops here, and the Growth Through People conference here.

Why is wellbeing in the workplace important?

We spend a lot of our time in the workplace – up to 40+ hours a week. If you aren’t taking a proactive approach towards workplace health and wellbeing, then your people are more likely to be unhealthy, unhappy, and unmotivated, and this is something that needs to be addressed.

With workplace health and wellbeing moving up the corporate agenda, more and more businesses now recognise the benefits of taking care of your most important asset – your people.

The right health and wellbeing strategy has the power to help you lower absence rates, increase productivity and improve employee engagement by showing you put your staff’s needs first. It can however be overwhelming knowing where to start on your workplace health and wellbeing journey. There are some simple steps that you can take to start to make a real difference.

Raise the profile of mental health

Mental health issues are a major cause of long-term absence in the workplace, with 1 in 4 people in the UK likely to experience a mental health issue each year. However, there is still misunderstanding and stigma around mental health. Knowing how to manage mental health is important, and training line managers is crucial as they are often best placed to spot the signs in someone who might be struggling. You could also consider introducing mental health or wellbeing days for your employees.

Encourage staff to be more active

In the UK, we sit for an average of 8.9 hours each day. Office workers are spending the majority of these hours sat at a desk, and research indicates that this poses a real health risk, irrespective of how active people are outside of work.

However, there are things you can do to keep active at work and combat sedentary behaviour. By making sure that your employees are aware of the dangers of sitting long periods of time and educating them on how they can keep moving throughout the day, you are helping to prevent illness and maintain a happy and healthy workforce.

Place more focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle

Providing free fruit for your staff is a great start, but you shouldn’t stop there. You need to educate your staff, enabling them to make healthier and sustainable lifestyle choices both inside and outside of the workplace.

You may also want to promote healthy behaviours at the office, such as simple mindfulness exercises to help combat stress and retain focus, or offer educational workshops on topics such as resilience, stress management or nutrition and exercise.

Jason King
People Business Partner
Westfield Health