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March 7, 2013

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Healthy workplaces the key to improving productivity

Employers who create healthy workplaces can reduce employee absence and boost productivity, according to a new TUC publication.

The guide, Work and well-being, aims to promote healthier working and help union safety reps identify what within their workplaces is making staff ill.

Every year around 170 million working days are lost because people are too sick to go into work – 23 million of these can be attributed to work-related ill health and 4 million result from injuries suffered at work.

The guide builds on the premise that the best way of tackling ill health is to stop workers from getting ill in the first place. It argues that the best method for improving the general well-being of a workforce is to change the way that work is organised and managed. For example, reducing workplace stress is far more useful than providing on-site massage for stressed workers.

While suggesting that organising exercise classes during lunch hours may prove popular with some employees, the report cautions that employers need to ensure workers have a proper lunch break in order to benefit. Also, any lifestyle changes must be made available in a non-judgmental manner, so that no one feels these are being forced on them.

Work and well-being suggests a number of ways that employers and unions might try to encourage a healthier attitude among employees, including:

  • Providing an on-site gym, or subsidised membership of a local fitness centre;
  • Encouraging employees to cycle to work by providing a secure storage place for bikes, introducing schemes where staff can get discounted bikes, and having workplace shower facilities;
  • Offering healthy options in the canteen, encouraging staff not to eat lunch at their desks, or providing a regular supply of free fruit; and€

    What makes us susceptible to burnout?

    In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

    We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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