We spend a lot of time at work and we’re sitting at our desks a lot longer than our bodies like. This is undeniably unhealthy. Studies in the UK are now showing how back related problems are on the rise and that work related stress, anxiety and depression has risen considerably over the last few years. In the UK, within the past year, 1.2 million people were suffering from illnesses that they believed were caused or made worse by their work environment.
This paints a very bleak picture of our future working environment and yet far too many people put up with these situations instead of taking action. I have experienced working in an office environment for over 25 years and during that time I was intrigued by the amount of people that were accustomed to being emotionally and physically stressed. There was a tendency for people to just put their heads down and get on with it. But you could see over time how they were changing and it wasn’t in the wellness direction!
I’ve worked in Wellness and Wellbeing for as long as I have worked in the office environment, and for me the two work hand in hand. I think it’s important for organisations to support and invest in their employees’ wellbeing, whether it be dedicated wellness programmes or an advisor (other than someone in H.R) to whom they can talk to confidentially.
Over the past few years there has been a growing trend in companies who are actively promoting health and wellness by organising in-house training workshops. These workshops encourage employees to take responsibility for their own health. Practical tips are given to the staff to help them maintain their health and wellness not just in the workplace but in all aspect of their lives. Simple steps like this are crucial to maintain a healthy workforce in today’s fast-paced working environment.
Companies might question the benefits of implementing a wellness scheme if their employees are putting up with conditions as they are. But if people aren’t mentally or physically well then they will not be as engaged or committed to their work. It’s that simple. With healthier and happier employees comes increased productivity and performance levels, and decreased sickness levels. According to the Office of National Statistics; 131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013. And it’s not just the employees who suffer, employers also have to bear the burden of sickness absence costs. So it would seem that it’s in everyone’s interests to improve the health and well-being of the workplace. The positives far outweigh the negatives. In fact, I cannot see any negatives to a happier and healthier workplace… can you?