Help your employees beat the January blues

Most people agree January is a pretty miserable month. This year, Monday 20th January is Blue Monday – scientifically (or not as the case may be!) the most depressing day of 2020. But in all seriousness, business should recognise the risks associated with not managing employees health and well-being effectively. We’re sharing our thoughts about three subjects that contribute to stress in the workplace and have a negative impact on the well-being of your staff.

MINIMISE STRESS THROUGH A HEALTHY WORKPLACE CULTURE

It’s no surprise that stress is the number one cause of long-term absence. According to HSE statistics, in 2018/19 there were 0.6 million new or long-standing reported cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the UK.  In 2018/19,  12.8 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

Pressures and stresses can come from both work and home. At work there are often heavy workloads and long working hours, while at home there can be financial stresses, lifestyle pressures and general family concerns, all of which have an impact on the way people feel and act at work.

Employers should consider the mental, as well as physical, wellbeing of their employees, focusing on prevention rather than reacting to some of the possible outcomes such as high staff turnover, high absenteeism rates and the associated business costs with both of these.

The introduction of flexible working or flexi-time can help employees deal with stress by allowing them to balance their work and personal lives more effectively and reducing the need to take time off. Businesses should also ensure managers at all levels of an organisation are supportive and empathic. Awareness, encouragement and recognition are important, as feeling valued and appreciated provides a key extrinsic motivator which can have a positive impact on a person’s well-being.

Visit the HSE website for more information about dealing with workplace stress: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/

LIMIT OUT OF HOURS COMMUNICATIONS

Just about everyone is contactable all of the time these days. Often it’s hard to ignore those emails and messages when they come in, even if it can wait until Monday morning. As an employer or manager, it might be worth taking a moment to think about how sending emails out of hours might affect the recipient and put them under unnecessary pressure. If you don’t require an immediate response but just want to tick it off your ‘things to do’ list, consider setting up a time delay or create a draft to send early the next working day instead.

DISCOURAGE PRESENTEEISM

Presenteeism, where employees continue to come into work when they are unwell, can be a big issue for employers. A member of staff who is not fully fit enough to engage at work may be physically present but will not be making a proper contribution to the business, impacting not only the quality and quantity of the work they produce but affecting the overall working atmosphere, including for the people around them.

‘Presenteeism’, or people coming into work when they are ill, has more than tripled since 2010, according to the latest CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Wellbeing Survey. The survey reports that 86% of over 1,000 respondents said they had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the preceeding 12 months, compared with 72% in 2016 and just 26% in 2010. Having unhealthy people at work could create a vicious cycle, with more employees falling ill after catching a cold or illness from sick colleagues.

Presenteeism is more likely to occur there is a culture of working long hours and where the demands of the business take priority over employee wellbeing. Employers should take action to make sure that the culture of the business supports employees as recognising the importance of healthy, happy staff will lead to business performance improvement across the board.

Do something about the wellbeing of employees in your organisation…

INSPIRING provide a range of support for organisations looking to improve their Health and Wellbeing culture, including Employee Surveys, Leadership and Management Development and consultancy services to help implement BS 76000 – Valuing People standard.

Looking after employee mental health and wellbeing

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 13th to 19th May 2019, which should give UK organisations a reminder that they need to look at the problems that can arise by not managing employee mental health and wellbeing effectively.

A recent survey conducted by St John’s Ambulance found that nearly 45% of people have considered leaving their job due to mental health issues. Furthermore, two thirds of people who took part in the survey said they felt uncomfortable asking an employer for a mental health sick day and 1 in 4 felt their work is having a negative impact on their health and wellbeing.

Workplace stress is a massive problem for UK workers. According to the HSE, over 11 million days are lost at work a year because of stress at work. It is the legal duty of businesses to take action to protect employees against stress by doing a risk assessment to assess the risks in the six main causes of stress in the workplace, namely:

  1. Demands
  2. Control
  3. Support
  4. Relationships
  5. Role
  6. Change

Pressures and stresses can come from both work and home. At work there are often heavy workloads, long working hours and colleague relationship issues, while at home there can be financial stresses, lifestyle pressures and general family concerns, all of which have an impact on the way people feel and act at work.

Employers should consider the mental, as well as physical, wellbeing of their employees, focusing on prevention rather than reacting to some of the possible outcomes such as high absenteeism and staff turnover rates.

Employers can help people deal with stress by allowing them to balance their work and personal lives more effectively. Businesses should also ensure managers at all levels of an organisation are supportive and empathic. Awareness, encouragement and recognition are important, as feeling valued and appreciated provides a key extrinsic motivator which can have a positive impact on a person’s mental wellbeing.

Visit the HSE website for more information and advice about employee mental health and wellbeing and dealing with workplace stress: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/what-to-do.htm

For more information about Mental Health awareness week, visit the Mental Health Foundation website.

Measure the wellbeing of your employees

INSPIRING provide a range of support for organisations looking to improve their Health and Wellbeing culture, including Employee Wellbeing Surveys, Leadership and Management Development and consultancy services to help implement BS 76000 – Valuing People standard.

Is ‘presenteeism’ costing you more than absenteeism?

The issue of presenteeism is becoming a common problem within the workplace, where employees continue to come into work when they are unwell.

Although this may sound like a good thing to HR professionals, it is thought that presenteeism costs UK workplaces £15bn per year – compared to the £8bn absenteeism costs. This is because many employees now feel pressure to attend regardless of the state of their health, potentially impacting the health of those around them too.

The negative effects of presenteeism

The CIPD’s 2015 Absence management survey report, produced in partnership with Simplyhealth, highlights that 31% of employers have seen an increase in presenteeism in the last 12 months. It also shows that presenteeism is more likely to have increased where there is a culture of working long hours and where the demands of the business take priority over employee well-being.

This presenteeism can be a big issue for employers, and as such they should take action to make sure that the culture of the business supports staff. A member of staff who is not fully fit enough to engage at work may be physically present but will not be making a proper contribution to the business, impacting not only the quality and quantity of the work they produce but affecting the overall working atmosphere, including for the people around them.

Having unhealthy people at work creates a vicious cycle. According to research undertaken last year by Canada Life Group Insurance, 89% of UK workers have come into work while sick and 71% of employees said they have become ill after another colleague came into work when unwell.

Healthy, happy staff are more productive

Organisations must look at ways to ensure that their business supports the physical and mental well being of their employees. Supportive management is one of the most important ways to do this, and also one of the most budget-friendly. Making employees feel encouraged and valued can be a huge motivator, and help ensure that staff feel they are understood and appreciated. This can have a great impact on a person’s overall wellbeing.

Working to create flexibility within the structure of the business, such as introducing flexi-time, can also help employees to create a better balance between their work and personal lives, reducing the need to take time off.

Achieving enhanced business performance through a healthier workforce therefore requires great commitment to the cause throughout all levels of the business, focusing on preventative measures rather than reactive solutions to minimise the high cost outlays associated with staff turnover and absenteeism.

The culture of a business should revolve around an environment where all staff are able to work to their potential, with the management team working together with employees to achieve the overall business goals. Implementing structures that allow for staff to generate ideas to improve the business as a whole is another great way to create a better, healthier sense of staff involvement through all levels of the company. This can be done through employee engagement surveys and regular employee reviews, to get people more involved.

To see business performance improvement across the board, companies need to recognise the importance of healthy, happy staff.

Team up with inspiring

INSPIRING provide a range of support for organisations looking to improve their Health and Well Being culture, including Employee Surveys, Leadership and Management Development and consultancy services to help implement BS 76000 – Valuing People standard.