Why your employees' fitness really is your business

  • Occupational Health
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As the boss, you might be thinking it’s not your responsibility to look after your employees’ fitness. You’re not about to introduce a type-as-you-treadmill policy in your workplace. But did you know that poor health and absence due to sickness costs UK employers £77.5 billion every year. Yes, per year. Without healthy employees, your business will be left severely under the weather. Work vs. life: where’s the balance? Sometimes, your staff will struggle to juggle their home life at the same time as their job. There’ll be times when a deadline means an employee stays late, or when they’ve got a big presentation and they need to get in early. But it shouldn’t be a regular thing. If you notice it happening a few too many times, you should look at workloads and how the team can support each other better. A rested workforce will also be a more productive workforce. Make sure that your staff have appropriate breaks between shifts in line with the Working Time Regulations. Keeping your staff moving Maybe you’ve got some keen cyclists in your office. If you don’t already, could you offer a cycle to work scheme to help them with the cost of their bike? There’ll be gym-goers in your office. You could offer a gym subsidy or provide discounted classes for your employees. A monthly on-site yoga class might help with posture and positivity of mind… Your staff are what they eat (and drink) There’s nothing wrong with having office ‘fish and chip Fridays’. But there are definite benefits to having ‘fresh fruit Wednesdays’ as well. The NHS recommends that we drink seven glasses of water per day (cups of coffee and tea can count towards that total, too). Eating a better diet and staying hydrated has positive effects on your employees’ health and productivity. Routine employee check-ups If you’ve got staff who work in high stress or labour-intensive jobs, you might consider whether providing regular check-ups would be a good idea. That way, you can take steps to minimise the risk of harm to your employees and think about ways you could better support your staff. Employee assistance programmes (EAPs): helping you and your team Workplace wellbeing is all about championing your employees’ physical and mental health. You can’t be there 24/7 for your staff. And they wouldn’t come to you with some of the issues that can affect their general wellbeing, anyway. That’s where an EAP comes in. By investing in a good EAP, you’re giving your employees a 24/7 advice line. They can access counselling services, and talk through problems that might be causing them to suffer with stress, depression or anxiety. You won’t be able to prevent some of the problems your staff come across once they leave the workplace. But by providing a professional and confidential EAP, you’re giving them someone they can talk to, which might prevent staff absence or a dip in productivity. After all, when you look after your staff, you’re taking care of your business’s biggest investment - your people.

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