Influencing health and wellness in the workplace

Here, Sophie Poole, head of graduate recruitment at Express Vending, guides us on maintaining employee health in your business.

With today’s workforce spending about 60 percent of their time at work, it is essential for companies to cater to the health needs of their employees. A healthier workforce is proven to be more productive, less stressed and have reduced illness-related absenteeism, all of which lead to improved revenue for companies.

Appealing to new and highly skilled employees is a constant challenge for every organisation, but by providing tailored health options, businesses will be able to appeal to higher employee expectations.

Capitalise on productivity through nutrition

Despite the growing trend for healthy eating across the UK the latest government statistics reveal a staggering 27 percent of adults in England are obese.

If employees are not being provided with more nutritious food options in the workplace, they could potentially experience up to a 66 percent drop in productivity, as a bad diet can have an adverse effect on an employee’s performance at work. Headaches, sluggishness and difficulty concentrating are all signs of a lack of sufficient nutrients.

Many offices’ internal catering are still full of snacks and drinks containing refined sugar, saturated fat and non-complex carbohydrates, with a lack of nourishing food options available for staff.

By offering healthy and nutritious choices in the workplace, employees will be able to refuel with the types of food and drink that aid concentration and boost energy levels during the working day. As a lack of productivity causes the UK economy around £340bn every year, this small investment in nutrition could help to reduce these losses.

Motivating your workforce through health schemes

An effective employee benefits programme will succeed in hitting key workplace health goals. However, it’s imperative employers evaluate which benefits are most important to its own employees. An effective way of doing this is to run regular staff surveys and also to make sure you educate your employees on current benefits and any new options that become available.

In terms of boosting health and wellbeing, success can often be generated through tailored eating or exercise plans under consultation with experts, encouraging smoking cessation programmes and organising regular reviews to monitor progress.

Only 45 percent of UK companies currently have a clearly defined wellbeing strategy, but according to Investors in People, 48 percent of people who do not believe their employer cares about their wellbeing have said this leads to them being less motivated. Based on these insights, providing a benefits system that encourages health and wellness in the workplace will not only boost productivity, but also promote positive employee morale.

Attracting, and keeping, skilled workers in competitive spaces

A strong employee culture of health, can act as a recruitment tool to attract and retain talent. Companies can no longer depend solely on remuneration to keep staff engaged, and being recognised as an employer that takes the wellbeing of its staff seriously, will reflect positively on the reputation of your organisation.

To drive focus onto company culture, employers need to create a sense of belonging that comes from feeling like you are part of a community at work. Shared eating places encourage interaction during downtime, whilst quiet zones can assist employees when they need to focus without distractions.

Sick days

Every year, it is thought that employee sickness days cost UK employers an average of £16 billion and each employee has an average of 2.8 days away from work due to illness. These numbers could represent a large portion of profits companies can ill afford to lose.

Multiple studies have made clear links between mental and physical conditions and it is vital for employers to not only promote physical wellbeing. They must also find ways to combat issues which impact mental health, such as stress.

Stress accounted for 37 percent of all work-related ill health cases attributed to workload pressures, commuting and lack of perceived colleague support. It is worth businesses partnering with wellbeing experts to help implement a strong wellness action plan in their company. WAPS are an easy, practical way to create steps that support the mental health of team members when they most need it.

In order to compete in the crowded jobs market, businesses must continue to proactively shape their health and wellbeing strategies to attract and retain talent. Creating a healthy work environment, strong employee benefits packages and offering a wide choice of nutritional food and drink offerings will set your business apart from competitors.

Sophie Poole is head of graduate recruitment at Express Vending.

Further reading on employee health

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