How physical wellbeing improves mental wellbeing

Physical Health and Metal Health hand in hand

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 CEO 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.

5 Simple Steps to help you look after you better

5 top tips to look after yourself at work

This is nothing new, but I hope some reminders and easy ideas that can be quickly and easily introduced into your working day that will make you feel better.

  1.  Drink more water
    How many cups of tea or coffee do you have a day?
    Could you trade 1 or 2 of those cups for a glass of water?
    Water in the human body is like oil in a car, it keeps everything moving.
    The human body is made up of 60% water, but the brain its self is actually made up of about 73% water, so staying hydrated is key to helping think clearly and ensure the brain can function to the maximum capacity.
    Don’t like water? Add fruit to help flavour the water or use a water infuser bottle; try summer berries, lemon, orange or mint and strawberry.
    It’s about making a conscious effort to start with to then make it become a habit.
  2.  Leave your desk
    Who leaves their desk at lunchtime?
    3 in 5 employees eat dinner at their desk and many employees only taking 15 minutes out of their entitled break. Take a break, by sitting at your desk to eat it only encourages you to continue working ‘I’ll just finish this’ or ‘I’ll just quickly look at that’. Give yourself a break, no more al-desko it’s time for al-fresco!
  3.  Get some fresh air and/or sunshine
    A lot of workplaces and offices can be stuffy or have air conditioning which can be dry and dehydrated; try getting out to for 5 minutes fresh air, it can feel amazing even when it is wet and cold.
    Also getting out for a short 20-minute walk can help release endorphins the happy, feel-good hormone. That’s 10 minutes there and 10 minutes back from your desk or office, when you think of it like that it’s not far but it could make you feel a whole lot better.
    Also when getting out and some fresh air it gets us into the sunshine/daylight, where it allows our bodies to absorb Vitamin D which helps strengthen bones, teeth and muscles, but it is also linked to topping up our immune system.
  4. Breakfast
    The word breakfast spells out its own meaning, Break Fast to break the fasting of overnight, the first meal of the day.
    We always hear ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, but it really is.
    Earlier we mentioned about water being the oil of the body well now let’s add some fuel. Food is what gives your body the power to function and it is key to do this first thing in the morning, get your body powered up for the rest of the day.
    Do you ever notice if you skip breakfast your body starts craving sugar later in the day? It’s looking for fuel to sustain your energy.
  5.  Try to eat smarter
    Your body needs all sorts of nutrients to keep it functioning and the best way to do this is yet another cliché…Eat the Rainbow!
    By eating lots of different coloured foods it means you are getting different nutrients in your diet, therefore feeding your body lots of vitamins and minerals it needs to help it function to best of its ability.
    Also since we ‘eat with our eyes’ having colourful food on a plate makes it more attractive to eat, so try to get creative and colourful with your lunch.

4 of these tips could possibly be achieved in your lunch break; instead of eating at your desk why not go for a walk to a local shop (2 & 3), grab yourself something colourful to eat (5) and some water to drink (1). I wonder how you would feel if you start to make this your new lunchtime routine rather then staying at your desk?

20 Gadgets to Boost Productivity!

Solar charger

Stuck for what to get someone for Christmas? The helpful people at Red Bull have come up with a great list of interesting gadgets to help boost productivity.

Personally, I think the noise cancelling headphones would be the best gadget to help with my productivity, as I really struggle in noisy/busy offices to concentrate and write. I find my thoughts being interrupted and I loose where I am rereading things dozens of times. I also like the solar phone charger but I have no external windows! ☹

I also find it interesting that a few of these gadgets are about posture, hydration and stress management.

https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/workplace-office-gadgets-boost-productivity

Prevention is better than cure!

Secretary of State Matt Hancock

On November 5th the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock released a document called “Prevention is better than cure; our vision to help you live well for longer” the document covers many areas, one being The Workplace.

The document explains “The way jobs are designed makes an important difference. The features of good work include good relationships with colleagues, healthy physical conditions, job security and adequate pay, and skills training with potential for progression. This affects both our physical health (including the time spent sitting down) and our mental health (our sense of control, and levels of stress and anxiety). Advice on debt and benefits is also critical given the important link between income and health.”

With a significant amount of our week being spent at work the document also states that “The workplace is also a great setting for reaching people with messages promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyles – including on smoking, eating healthily and staying active. Many businesses are already taking action in this space, and see the benefits of higher staff morale, and lower rates of sickness absence. In the end, a healthy workforce is a more productive one. More employers should follow suit to help improve the health of their staff and of the nation.”

Labour’s shadow children’s minister Tracy Brabin speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, said: “It’s about pay and conditions and wellbeing in the workplace. If you don’t know if you’re going to work tomorrow, an apple’s not going to do it.” also saying “it failed to address bigger issues in the employment sector.”

I agree an apple isn’t going to make someone want to go to work, but as part of a bigger picture an apple could make a big difference. It’s about creating a good workplace culture; making the working environment a positive place and supporting employees mentally and physically. It’s lots of small preventative changes that need to happen; eventually leading to big change that can be sustained.

To snack or not to snack…

To snack or not to snack blog

… that is a good question.

The definition of Snack in the dictionary is ‘a small amount of food eaten between meals’, but is snacking actually good for us?

The word ‘snack’ is often automatically linked to crisps, chocolate, cakes and other high fat/high sugar items which are quick to grab and eat. In the last 3 or 4 years this has become challenged by a ‘new breed’ of snacks the ‘Healthy Snacks’.

So what are the Pros and Cons of snacking?

Pros

• Can be a great away to add in extra fruit and vegetables to your daily intake
• Can reduce the risk of overeating at meal times
• Helps sustain energy levels through out the day

Cons

• Can be used as an excuse to over eat
• Can add to daily calorie intake, which could lead to weight gain
• Classing snacks as a meal can lead to a lack of nutrients.

So to answer the question snacking can be good for you, but on balance it can also be bad for you; it’s all about making conscious decisions about what you eat and when. Snacking on anything should be accounted for in your daily calories (2,000 kcal for Women: 2,500 kcal for Men based on an average activity and lifestyle).

How a clean office can boost productivity

How a clean office can boost productivity thumbnail

This week’s blog is a fantastic guest blog from the Cleaning Services Group.

“How can a tidy desk or an absence of litter have any bearing on the quality and quantity of work you get done, I hear you ask? If you want the answer, read below to the infographic from Cleaning Services Group.

When we operate in a clean environment, our minds are much clearer than in a setting where there is litter and distractions. We are far likelier to persevere with difficult talks in a clean office than a filthy one, as our minds are sharper. Also, staff in a well-maintained office will probably be able to track down important documents without delay, rather than rummaging through piles of papers in search of just one manuscript. Furthermore, we will naturally be more motivated to do our best in a clean office, as it is demoralising to come into a cluttered, unsanitary environment every day.

Whether it’s setting aside a bit of time at the end of the week, implementing a strict ‘clean desk’ policy, or whatever other approaches work, management should actively encourage everyone in a workplace to keep it as clean as possible so that they can produce the best work possible.”

How a clean office can boost productivity

Standing vs sitting at work

Standing vs sitting at work

So you might have seen this topic floating around recently: is standing at a desk better for you than sitting?

I think the article linked from the bottom of this blog to www.healthline.com covers most pros and cons of sitting versus standing. As we all know sitting for long periods of time can have a negative impact on our health, but so can standing for a long period of time. I think finding a balance of both like everything is the way forward:
• try building movement into your day so you’re not just standing or sitting in the same position all the time, or
• think about tasks that could be done standing rather then sitting, such as phone calls, and set aside a time to do a few in a row

Whether you’re standing or sitting the most important thing is your posture; try to focus on sitting and standing up straight, and make sure your workspace is set up correctly to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries, backache, and neck strain.

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/debate-over-standing-vs-sitting-at-your-desk#1

Business leaders: who’s looking after YOU?

Business leaders: who's looking after you

Wow, I didn’t think I would need to write this blog myself, but apparently, I do as I couldn’t find any relevant blogs to link to.

As leaders of a business or a team, you can easily be forgotten by your employees/team members and by yourself. We can focus so much on looking after our employees, team members, suppliers, and customers that we forget about ourselves. But where would your customers and employees be if you aren’t there to steer the ship? Where would the business you’re working so hard to nurture be if you aren’t there? Yes, an organisation can survive in the very short term without its leaders, but ultimately every business needs effective senior management in order to thrive.

There is a lot of focus on workplace wellbeing and looking after employees, but we should not overlook the leaders when implementing these programmes. The wellbeing program should be led from the front; look after number one and lead by example (I love that phrase ‘Lead by Example’; I think it is very powerful and can achieve so much). For example, ensuring everyone else takes their holiday entitlement is great – it’s important that employees relax and recharge – but leaders also need that; sacrificing yourself once in a while is ok but continually sacrificing yourself for your team becomes damaging and unproductive. You can’t be an effective leader and decision maker if you are tired and stressed.

People talk about pressure from above, but pressure also comes from below and from within. Leaders have a whole team of people looking to them for direction and a pathway to achieve; it is the leader who is at the front carving those ways, constantly working away for others to follow. Leaders bear a heavy burden of responsibility, as they know that if they fail, the people below them will also fail.

Pressure and constantly putting others first can wear any leader down, and can lead to depression and ill health. So although taking time for yourself might seem selfish, it is actually vital for the health of your business. Ultimately it’s all about balance!

As an employer should you offer more holidays or more money?

Workplace culture

So I was scrolling through LinkedIn (as you do) when a couple of posts close to each other caught my interest. They were both about workplace culture. The one that caught my eye the most was asking ‘Do you offer more holidays or more money when writing a job advert?’ I found this and the answers given very interesting and this is where the word ‘culture’ started appearing. Many answered saying it depended on the culture of your business; people also suggested that actively encouraging employees to take holidays can be a huge benefit over offering more holidays that the employee is not able to take. It’s clear that money is no longer the sole magnet that draws new employees to a job; in these days of work-related stress and the desire for work-life balance, people want to know that a prospective employer will be caring and supportive, will acknowledge employees’ efforts, and will communicate openly with their staff.

People’s attitudes and priorities are changing towards the workplace; look at some of the biggest companies these days. Everyone thought Google was a bit crazy when they broke away from the traditional office culture and started providing bright, open spaces for working. They realised that creating a more relaxed atmosphere and allowing their employees to work more freely means that they actually work harder for the company and are more creative, therefore achieving more overall for the business. Google have built their offices and culture around the needs of their employees, as they understand that having happy employees has a massive impact on the success of their business.

Ok so we can’t all be Google but making small changes in our business to create the best culture for our employees can only be a good thing. Looking after, communicating with, and respecting your employees has been proven time and again to improve their loyalty and work ethic; as we keep saying at Snacks and Co, healthy employees make a healthy business!

Why not try introducing a few easy changes to see what will work best for your business:

1. Have a short informal meeting once a week, where the team has a break together over a coffee to talk about anything that needs bringing up. Some weeks there might not be much to talk about so let the conversation flow and get employees talking to one another. This is great for letting employees come up with solutions for their own or others issues and opening up dialogue between each other. It also shows you care about them by facilitating a break and an opportunity to grab a drink and listen.

2. Actively promote holidays, to help ensure your staff are well-rested, productive, and feel valued. Why not take it one step further by introducing a holiday inspiration board with ideas of place to go and recommendations on things to do in each location. Not all the places have to be overseas – make the main place where you live so if people have a few days off they might try doing something new or something they didn’t know existed. This will get people thinking about what they can do with their time off and open up communication between employees by asking each other about where they have been and what they have done.

3. And a really simple one, if someone has done a good job say THANK YOU and WELL DONE! Both of these go a long way to showing you respect your staff, and appreciate the work they have done.

The Top 5 Snacks for Energy

5 top snacks for energy

Here are the best 5 snacks that we’ve found for keeping you energised and focused through the day. Enjoy!

1. Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit Mix

Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids which provide energy to muscles and organs. Dried fruits are very nutrient dense, rich in antioxidants and vitamins. An ideal portion size is no more than a palm full, as they are high in natural sugars and fats; over eating this kind snack can cause weight gain, but as long as you are aware of the recommended portion size you should have no problems.

2. Apple or Banana with Nut Butter (Peanut, Almond, etc)

Apples and bananas are full of fibre, helping the body’s gastric system keep moving. Fibre also makes you feel fuller for longer. Apples and bananas are both bursting with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which help keep your body working all day long.

The nut butter is the same as eating nuts and seeds, being a great source of protein and omega 3.

3. Dark Chocolate (at least 70% Cocoa)

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants which help prevent cell damage. Dark chocolate also helps blood flow to the brain so in turn helps with cognitive function and concentration. It also contains something called phenylethylamine which encourages the brain to release endorphins which help lift our moods.

4. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is full of healthy protein which keeps you feeling fuller for longer (helping you avoid reaching for sugary snacks when you feel peckish), as well as being essential for repairing tissue in your body. It is also full of probiotics (good bacteria) which helps keep your gut healthy and able to absorb more nutrients, which in turn helps strengthen the immune system.

Try to stick to Natural Yoghurt and avoid low-fat varieties as these can be filled with sweeteners and flavourings; you are better having a small serving of full-fat yoghurt then a serving of low-fat.

5. Dark Berries and Grapes

As a general rule the darker the fruit the higher in antioxidants they are, so red grapes, blueberries, and blackberries are crammed full. They are also full of vitamins and minerals which support the immune system and contain natural sugars to give you a longer lasting more stable energy boost. Berries and grapes also have a high water content so they help keep you hydrated, which is a huge plus when it comes to energy and concentration.