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Liggy Webb

The Learning Architect

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Workplace wellness: A solid business investment

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Liggy Webb talks about the importance of investing in Wellness for your organisation and the benefits it can bring.

The workplace is becoming an increasingly pressurised environment with more demand than ever on employees to cope with the challenges and changes that so many are currently experiencing. Workplace wellness is about the proactive and responsible approach that organisations can take to support and look after the health of their workforce. By cultivating a working environment that promotes mental, physical and environmental health, employers can positively impact on stress, reduce absenteeism and improve the workforce energy and performance to engender a culture of people engagement and demonstrate corporate social responsibility. 
More and more organisations are recognising the positive return on investment of introducing workplace wellness programmes with a very clear set of benefits:
  • Reduce sickness and absenteeism
  • Alleviate employee stress
  • Help staff to cope with change
  • Promote better communication
  • Reduce potential conflict
  • Improve staff energy levels
  • Improve mental health
  • Improve physical well-being
  • Retain talent and reduce staff turnover
  • Improve employee engagement
  • Support managers to support their teams
  • Promote work/life balance
  • Mitigate potential litigation
  • Reduce health insurance premiums
  • Reduce carbon foot print
  • Save money on workplace overheads
  • Become an employer of choice
  • Support corporate social responsibility
Certainly in times of uncertainty, ensuring that people are happy and healthy will pay huge dividends when it comes to maximising productivity. In the past year alone, a huge government push on wellness at work coupled with the growing realisation that health has a direct correlation with happiness and reduced levels of absenteeism is resulting in a record number of organisations offering wellness schemes to their employees.
According to the Business Action on Health Campaign by Business in the Community (BITC), the number of FTSE100 companies who are actively monitoring and reporting the progress on health and wellbeing initiatives has risen significantly, with further research indicating that the introduction of a multi-component health promotion programme can result in a 10.4% improvement in work performance and an annual return on investment of £6.19 for every £1 spent. (Source: www.workingforhealth.gov.uk)
Some additional interesting information:
  • The estimated cost to employers, communities and the taxpayer of working-age ill health is around £100bn a year- this is the equivalent to the annual running cost of the NHS
  • The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) estimated that 172 million working days were lost in 2008 due to absence costing employers alone £13bn
  • Dame Carol Black's March 2008 review of the health and well-being of the working age population highlighted the fact that a healthy workforce is a happier, more productive workforce
  • In the UK, over 13 million working days are lost every year because of stress
  • Stress is believed to trigger 70% of visits to doctors and 85% of serious illnesses
  • According to MIND (The leading mental health charity in England and Wales) one in four people will be affected by mental illness during their life time
  • According to The World Health Organisation, depression is one of the leading causes of disability and by 2020 will be the second biggest global concern
  • Our increasingly sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits have led to 66% of men and over 50% of women in the UK being overweight or obese
  • According to Dame Carol Black's report, by 2050, if trends continue, 90% of men and 80% of women will be overweight or obese
  • The Government has now introduced The Challenge Fund which supports small organisations with staff from 1 - 249 employees with free funding
  • Many organisations are investing in well-being programmes for their staff and the government has provided a free downloadable tool to help track investment
A holistic approach to workplace wellness certainly helps individuals to address some of the key areas of wellness. By concentrating on the following areas some organisations have benefitted from reduction in absenteeism as well a significant reduction on the bottom line due to environmental efficiency as well as accelerated productivity. Some key enablers include:
  • Attitude: By focusing on individuals developing a positive attitude encourages a more harmonious and buoyant working environment
  • Exercise and Nutrition: Raising awareness of nutrition and the benefits of exercise – Some organisations ensure that the catering onsite provides healthy options and some allow extra time at lunch to use on site gyms. The use of pedometers at work and walking meetings has proved very popular
  • Stress Management: Helping people to understand personal stress triggers and how to manage these
  • Communicatio: Educating individuals to use assertive and positive communication skills have proven to reduce stress and eliminate expensive mistakes through miscommunication and conflict
  • Environment: As well as taking responsibility for industrial and commercial carbon footprint, significant savings can be made
  • Goal Setting: By encouraging individuals to set personal action and improvement plans engenders a culture of personal empowerment and responsibility.
The ultimate success of any organisation depends very heavily on the productivity and work performance of its human resources. A healthy and positive commitment and focus on workplace wellness is most definitely a solid business investment.
Click here for our review of Liggy's book 'Workplace Wellness'
And click here to buy it.
Liggy Webb is widely respected as a leading expert in the field of Workplace Wellness and Modern Life Skills. As a presenter, consultant for the United Nations and author she is passionate about her work and improving the quality of people's lives. For more information visit www.thelearningarchitect.com or email Liggy on liggy@thelearningarchitect.com

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Liggy Webb

Director

Read more from Liggy Webb
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