In any organisation, in any sector, people are undoubtedly your most important asset. Promoting wellbeing is about looking after that most important asset. It is an important part of managing the health of your employees and reducing the health-related risks for the organisation.
There is often understandably a focus on absence from work. Sickness absence and the effect of poor health on those at work, with the resultant effect on performance potentially costly for any organisation and for a small company can be especially disruptive to the business. In addition managing sickness absence is in itself costly and often challenging.
For those employees with health problems providing reasonable adjustments within the workplace is key to minimise the impact on the organisation of such health issues and complies with legislation such as the Equality Act.
Work itself should not give rise to health issues. A suitable program of health promotion and wellbeing checks can detect issues at an early stage and health surveillance can minimise the risks associated with particular types of work and reduces risk to both the organisation and the individual.
In many organisations the emphasis has extended from just considering safety to managing and promoting health by undertaking these activities.
Ideally we really need to move further forward than just regarding health as an absence of disease and look at improving employee wellbeing as a whole.
Wellbeing is the concept that everyone realises their own potential and can work productively and fruitfully with the resilience to cope with normal pressures and stresses.
Evidence from a variety of Companies with a wellbeing programme indicates that absence is decreased by up to 40%, employee turnover by up to 25% and employees in good health are up to 20% more productive. Studies looking at wellbeing and the effect on absenteeism and presenteeism saw a return on investment of between 2 and 9 times.
To protect the organisation’s most important asset is not so much an expense as an opportunity for investment.
So, how to foster improved wellbeing? Ensuring employees are fit for their role from the outset at recruitment will ensure that their work is safe, within their capacity and not likely to worsen an existing condition. Making adjustments to the work where needed, for example in line with the obligations in the Equality Act.
Promoting healthy behaviours and providing health guidance can really support the employee in their own health. Fostering a respectful workplace where employee stress is minimised and recognised and it is OK to ask for help.
Overall helping protect and maintain, and indeed enhance the health and well-being of employees results in not only a considerable benefit to the individuals but a vitally important benefit to the organisation as a whole.
Dr Tony Mawson
Consultant Occupational Physician
Director, Organisational HealthCare