A 2018 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) study found employers lost over 30 million working days due to absences from work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries in 2017/18.
With this in mind, more employers are recognising the effects of investing in the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff. As well as recognising the effects, they’re also investing in the wellbeing of their employees.
While a majority of the focus is on their staff’s mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing is just as important.
In this piece, we’ll explore the importance of investing in the physical wellbeing of your employees. We’ll also highlight its connection to mental wellbeing and how the two can work hand-in-hand.
The importance of physical wellbeing
Are your employees sick often? Are there a lot of unexplained absences? When they’re at work are their energy levels low or do they have a short attention span?
If your answer to one or more of these questions is “Yes!”, then you’ll need to promote physical health and wellbeing amongst your employees.
As well as improving productivity, other benefits of promoting physical wellbeing include:
· Reduction in absences due to sickness.
· Boosts in concentration and motivation.
· Increases in energy levels.
· Growth in engagement and overall morale.
The link between physical and mental wellbeing
Just like ill mental health can have adverse effects on the physical wellbeing of an individual, unhealthy physical health can also have detrimental effects on mental health.
Physical injuries can influence how we think, how we feel and what we do. Which means thoughts and feelings can also affect our bodies and how we feel physically. A study by Mentalhealth.org found depression is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
In some cases, it can even increase the risk of developing a mental health problem.
Tips for promoting physical wellbeing in the workplace
The good thing about investing in the physical health of your staff is that it doesn’t have to break the bank.
There are many cost-effective methods for promoting physical wellbeing. From encouraging employees to step away from their desks regularly to offering fresh fruits—there are many possibilities.
Consider the following tips for encouraging positive changes:
Regular breaks: As well as it being a rest period for the brain, it can also serve as one for the body. Stepping away from the desk gives employees a chance to unwind and reset their bodies. In order to prevent musculoskeletal problems, encourage employees to go on short walks or to have their lunch outside or in other allocated areas.
Snacking: It’s not uncommon for employees to snack. A lot of the time, these are unhealthy and have high levels of sugar and salt. As an alternative, many businesses are investing in healthy snacks and fruit boxes for their workforce. As well as contributing to the overall wellbeing of your staff, it also contributes to an increase in productivity.
Travel to work: As with any business, no doubt your workforce is travelling from various destinations to get to the office. To alleviate the stress of commuting and to encourage physical wellbeing, consider a cycle to work scheme. Cycling is thought of as the least stressful way to commute to work. The government introduced this scheme to inspire environmental friendliness as well as to encourage people to make better health choices. As an added incentive, you can also look to installing bike racks and showers for their comfort.
Work/life balance: Finally, creating a company culture that encourages your workers to have a healthy balance between their work and personal lives goes a long way to improving both physical and mental health. You can ensure your organisation encourages this by educating staff on the importance of a healthy balance between their work and social lives. Employees that know their organisation cares about them are more likely to be loyal and to spend longer in the company.
To wrap up
In conclusion, the undeniable link between mental and physical health is one that requires stimulation on both ends.
While counselling and other stress management efforts are required for the mental wellbeing of your staff, you should also remember their physical health
This article was written on behalf of Snacks and Co by David Price CEO of Health Assured
David Price is CEO of Health Assured: the UK’s leading health and wellbeing provider. He advises employers daily on how to encourage and develop a healthy workplace, whilst outlining best practice guidance on how to combat and control workplace stress. David also speaks regularly to the media on mental health issues with his commentary profiled in The Telegraph and The Guardian, he is also a regular contributor to Financial Adviser from the Financial Times.