Promoting physical wellbeing at work

The wellbeing of your employees is of paramount importance.

According to an article by the Irish Examiner, Ireland lost up to 11 million days last year amounting to €1.5 billion as a result of health-related absence.

In the UK, a 2018 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) study found employers lost over 30 million working days due to absences from work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries in 2017/18.

Various studies have connected the link between employee wellbeing and employee retention and engagement. When your staff are physically healthy, you’re likely to see increases in productivity and satisfaction as well as reductions in absenteeism and presenteeism.

In this piece, we’ll explore the importance of positive physical health and offer suggestions on how employers can encourage healthy living amongst their staff.

The link between physical and mental wellbeing

When an individual has ill mental health, the condition has an adverse effect on their physical health.

The same applies when the roles are reversed. Ill physical health can have an adverse effect on the mental health of an individual.

When we suffer physical injuries, it affects the way we think, feel and what we do. Which means our thoughts and feelings can also affect our bodies and how we feel physically.

According to a  study by Mentalhealth.org, depression is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. And in some cases, it can even increase the risk of developing a mental health problem.

The importance of physical wellbeing

Have you noticed an increase in sickness-related absences at work? When your staff are in the office, do they have lower energy levels? Or a shorter attention span?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you’ll need to emphasise the importance of positive physical health.

Apart from the increase in productivity, healthy physical health brings with it many other benefits including a:

  • Reduction in absences due to ill health.
  • Increase in energy levels.
  • Boost in motivation and concentration.
  • Growth in engagement and satisfaction.

How to promote positive physical health at work

When it comes to promoting positive wellbeing, the good news is that it doesn’t have to break the bank.

There are a variety of cost-effective methods to consider. From encouraging employees to step away from their desks regularly to offering fresh fruits—there are many possibilities.

Consider the following tips for encouraging positive changes:

Regular breaks: As well as it being a rest period for the brain, it can also serve as one for the body. Stepping away from the desk gives employees a chance to unwind and reset their bodies. In order to prevent musculoskeletal problems, encourage employees to go on short walks or to have their lunch outside or in other allocated areas.

Snacking: It’s not uncommon for employees to snack. A lot of the time, these are unhealthy and have high levels of sugar and salt. As an alternative, many businesses are investing in healthy snacks and fruit boxes for their workforce. As well as contributing to the overall wellbeing of your staff, it also contributes to an increase in productivity.

Travel to work: As with any business, no doubt your workforce is travelling from various destinations to get to the office. To alleviate the stress of commuting and to encourage physical wellbeing, consider a cycle to work scheme. Cycling is thought of as the least stressful way to commute to work. The government introduced this scheme to inspire environmental friendliness as well as to encourage people to make better health choices. As an added incentive, you can also consider installing bike racks and showers for their comfort.

Work/life balance: Finally, creating a company culture that encourages your workers to have a healthy balance between their work and personal lives goes a long way to improving both physical and mental health. You can ensure your organisation encourages this by educating staff on the importance of a healthy balance between their work and social lives. Employees that know their organisation cares about them are more likely to be loyal and to spend longer in the company.

To wrap up

In conclusion, the undeniable link between mental and physical health is one that requires stimulation on both ends.

While counselling and other stress management efforts are required for the mental wellbeing of your staff, you should also remember their physical health.

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