Employees are at the heart of any organisation, which is why it is important to help improve workplace health and well-being.
By engaging in workplace health promotion, companies gain benefits such as an increase in productivity rates, decreased absenteeism, enhanced job satisfaction and commitment from their employees, plus a reduction in staff turnover.
All of these benefits result in cost savings due to a higher work output and less recruitment fees, and have also been found to create better customer service and client retention due to a higher quality of work being produced.
There are many ways in which employers can introduce workplace health promotion into their organisation which are both cost effective and simple to implement.
Routine desk checks
Workstations with display screens have become one of the most common kinds of work equipment with employers obliged to undertake formal DSE risk assessments. However, an effective way to ensure employees are working comfortably and productively is also to undertake routine, informal desk checks.
Frequent desk checks is a great way to ensure that they are comfortable enough to carry out their tasks, and will also reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders which can lead to absence from work.
How to carry out a desk check:
Ensure that all office chair backs can be adjusted and that employees have them set up so that the small of their back is supported, their hips are higher than their knees, that their forearms can rest comfortably on the desk, and that their feet are firmly on the floor.
Keyboards should be placed far enough away from the employee that their wrists rest comfortably on the desk when they are not typing.
The top of the computer screen should be level with the employee’s eyes, and at approximately arm’s length away from them when they are sitting comfortably back in their chair.
These routine desk checks will also identify those employees who require more complex adjustments to their workstation who are sometimes reticent to discuss their full needs in a formal process.
Promote exercise and healthy eating
The best way to understand what employees require in order to live a healthy lifestyle is to ask each one about their needs. This way they can benefit from suggestions tailored to suit them, and they will feel respected as an individual.
Through speaking to each employee you can find out whether they might benefit from diet advice, help with an exercise regime, or simple steps that they can take to support an already healthy lifestyle. This will vary depending on the age range of your workforce too, as younger and older employees are likely to require different support.
This type of health promotion can be carried out by an independent occupational health provider rather than managers or human resources as this will encourage employees to be honest without a risk of embarrassment, and shows that the organisation is taking the promotion of a healthy workforce seriously.
Organising exercise classes, like yoga or running groups, before, during or after work is another simple way to encourage employees to live a healthy lifestyle, and it also give them an opportunity to socialise with each other which is fantastic for overall wellbeing.
Improve mental wellbeing
Ensuring that stress and mental health are taken seriously in the workplace is very important, as these are factors which employees can feel uncomfortable discussing, especially with regards to taking time off, or requiring help with their workload.
By making sure that there are people within the organisation who are trained to support those with stress or mental health issues, employees will know that they have someone they can talk to who will take them seriously and understands how best to offer guidance.
Inviting a speaker into the workplace to talk about the effects that work can have on mental health is another positive way to show employees that it is being taken seriously. Organising one-to-one sessions following the presentation would be a great way to support this too.
In addition to this, making sure that all employees aware of the signs of stress, anxiety, and other mental health related issues, can help them to spot early signs and ask for help before it escalates into something more difficult for them to manage.
Through carrying out health promotion initiatives in the workplace you can ensure that employees feel appreciated and supported, which will help to increase job satisfaction, attendance, and productivity throughout the workforce.