Public Health England and Business in the Community have published a toolkit in an effort to encourage employers to promote healthier eating and exercising to their employees. Keen to stress the business benefits, the toolkit explains that such initiatives can boost productivity, slash absence rates, and play a key role in facilitating a happy workforce.
What’s becoming increasingly clear is that the health of the nation is a ticking time bomb. According to the NHS, the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the past 20 years, and rising obesity levels continue to grab headlines. As an employer, you have the ability to make a positive impact in your staff’s lives, as well as strengthen your business for the future.
Occupational health isn’t just about ensuring your staff have comfortable chairs to sit on. It’s time to get much more proactive when it comes to our responsibilities as employers, and tap into the opportunities that exist for us to have a much more holistic impact on our staff’s lives.
The toolkit includes:
• Suggestions that healthier food and drink options should be available within the workplace, including at meetings and events
• Ideas around organising ‘family days’, so staff can get their loved ones onboard with healthier habits
• Advice for managing shift workers and remote workers – two groups of staff that will experience unique difficulties when it comes to maintaining their health and wellbeing
• Guidance for handling sensitive mental health issues in the workplace
Though the suggestions are comprehensive and provide a lot of food for thought for employers, it’s also stressed that there’s rarely a one-size-fits-all approach. Businesses are encouraged to involve their staff in any initiatives from the very earliest stages, giving them a voice and the opportunity to hone a way forward that’s really going to work for them. After all, if your staff aren’t engaged and onboard, then your efforts are going to fall on deaf ears and fail to meet their objectives.
We recognise that employers have a lot on their plates. You may well think that you simply don’t have the time to consider promoting better levels of health and wellbeing to your staff. You’ve got performance reviews to handle, back to work meetings to schedule, and a whole load of paperwork that seems to mount up on your desk on an hourly basis.
Still though, if you’re aiming to be an exemplary employer, you should definitely give some careful consideration to how you can utilise this toolkit. It could seriously improve the long-term prospects of your business.
Have you had an opportunity to review the toolkit yet? Has it changed how you think about your responsibilities as an employer? Which recommendations do you think will prove to be most useful for you as a leader, and for your employees?