The Benefits of a Healthy Workforce.

Healthy employees are good for business!

The Current state of affairs.

Everywhere you look these days in the media it seems we are heading for a stress-ridden, obese laden, junk food apocalypse. We certainly seem more stressed out as life speeds up and we play catch up. You know the familiar story, you've been at work all day and don't have the time to cook so grab a microwave meal from your local supermarket. And as for getting to the gym, well we don't have the time here to go through the list of excuses! I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, research seem's to support this notion.

Accorded to the Health Survey for England:

  • Nearly a third of people have high blood pressure

  • Nearly two-thirds of adults are obese

  • Only a quarter of adults eat the recommended 5 portions of fruit and veg a day (this has been upgraded to 10 portions a day)

You get the picture. So what does this mean for society at large? Well, aside from the personal effects, it is having a significant impact in the workplace:

  • Mental illness alone is estimated to cost the UK economy £100bn a year

  • 15.8 million days lost due to stress, depression and anxiety in 2016

What can we do?

Now we've got all the doom and gloom out the way, the question has to be what can we do? Whilst these issues are sometimes complex, there are practical things we can do to promote healthy practices as managers and business owners.

Let's have a look at what other companies are doing.......​​

  • Sweaty Betty, whose company culture centres on health and well-being actively offers all its

employee’s free fitness classes at it HQ in London. It has also started offering discounts at some top London studios for their team

  • Financial services company, Nomura, based in London, which was awarded Britain’s healthiest

company in 2014, has a fully equipped gym with 65 classes on offer each week.

  • The Bank of Ireland offers a comprehensive wellness package to their employee’s, from bike rides to mental health awareness and buddy programs.

We also get a personal insight into what companies are doing, because we get a significant amount of bookings for our mobile juice bar for health and wellbeing events. We also think a good working practice is to have healthy snacks around the office, such as fruit and nuts and even provide information cards on the health benefits of certain foods.

The Benefits.

Ok, so these health-conscious companies are putting things in place to foster a healthy work

environment, but do they actually work?

What the experts are saying.....

  • Robert McLellan, chief of occupational and environmental medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, a state's there is a "growing body of evidence" that suggests integrating health and well-being into working practice, leads to better outcomes. In one of his studies, he found that companies with strong health, safety and environmental policies were some of the best-performing companies on the Dow Jones

  • Nicolaas Pronk, vice president for health management and chief science officer at Health Partners states, “There is emerging and promising evidence on productivity outcomes associated with integrated health and safety strategy".

In my experience, when I exercise and eat right I am definitely more productive and generally have more energy. This kind of makes sense doesn't it. I also think you are less prone to illness and have more confident in your abilities. As someone who is really busy juggling the demands of a business, being fit and healthy is so important.

Summary

I think it is safe to assume that having healthy employees is probably good for business. In an age of big data, it has never been so easy to get both a picture of the problem and to find the solutions. The health and well-being drive is here to stay, as more information becomes available on what we should be doing to stay healthy. Companies are also becoming increasingly aware of this, encouraging employee's to look after their wellbeing. So if you are an employer who wants a healthier workforce it could be something to think about. Even if you are an employee, who wants to see a change, bring it up in your next team meeting, or monthly review. We can all do our bit.

Refs:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30934590

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1218

https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2016/may/17/economic-cost-of-mental-illness

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/business/britains-healthiest-company/11380502/workforce-wellbeing-importance.html

https://careers.bankofireland.com/be-at-your-best

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/labourproductivity/articles/sicknessabsenceinthelabourmarket/2016

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ecpe/the-business-benefits-of-a-healthy-workforce/

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"As a treat for our employees, we had the TruFoo team set up in our headquarters, serving a selection of delicious cold pressed juices and smoothies. Our employees loved the juices!"
 
Sonia. Event Organiser for Onfido. London