Healthy workplaces go beyond preventing illness and promote good health
Britain’s Healthiest Workplace has found that employees with flexible hours and the ability to work from home report lower absences and greater job satisfaction. They also consider themselves to be in better physical and mental health. Simply put, inflexible hours affect employee wellbeing. Employees based in the office or facing long commutes are less productive, and in poorer health.
Work can have a huge impact on our health
As Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, writes for the Financial Times, “our work environment can have a substantial impact on our health and wellbeing. In 2015, some 440,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety and about 553,000 cases of work-related muscular skeletal disorders — including back problems, repetitive strain injury to wrists and other similar ailments — were recorded in Britain. In the same period, 23.3m days were lost to workrelated ill health, with mental illness and muscular-skeletal conditions accounting for the majority of days lost.”
Employee health has a direct effect on productivity
Davies goes on to say that “employees in good health can be up to three times as productive as those in poor health.” At Honeydew, this is no news to us. Above all, employee health is at the core of productivity. We help employers daily to achieve healthy attendance at work. Therefore, it is great to see more research into these themes and more organisations putting employee wellbeing on their agenda.
It all starts with good data
Sally Davies also promotes good data collection as a key part of promoting good health through the workplace. “Collecting accurate data is a vital first step. You need to be aware of what the problems are so you can design relevant policies that benefit your team. Developing policies in combination with the workforce yields the best results. Different levels of seniority and different divisions in an organisation should feed ideas into the policies in order to support people effectively.”
Honeydew Health has been spreading the message of good data collection for years. With Engage Absence Management software at the heart of our service provision, we know that good business decisions can only be made effectively with the support of good data. Insightful data can also guide the employer to the right interventions and demonstrate the success of workplace programmes.
Not just ill health prevention
We have come a long way from just preventing injuries at work and occupational disease. Many organisations now try to proactively manage non-work-related absence as well. However, we should go beyond preventing illness and injury, and toward promoting better health. Consequently, a forward-thinking employer will help its workforce stay fitter and healthier, both at work and at home.
Britain’s Healthiest Workplace is a competition and research study run by Vitality Health Insurance. The findings are published in detail in a Financial Times report.