Bosses urged to regularly evaluate wellbeing programmes
The new Not just free fruit: wellbeing at work report by the British Safety Council warns wellbeing in many organisations is being compromised by a lack of understanding of how to implement effective programmes.
In order to remedy this situation, the report recommends giving workers the opportunity to participate in the creation and development of initiatives designed to improve their own health and wellbeing.
It also calls on bosses to make sure line managers are appropriately trained in mental health awareness and the relevant support mechanisms, so that they have the confidence to communicate with employees in a caring and sensitive manner.
The report also recommends organisations evaluate the impact of their health and wellbeing programmes on a regular basis, to ensure that they adapt and respond to the changing needs of their workers.
It follows a recent report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and investment consultancy LCP, which found 16% of employers do not always communicate what benefits are on offer and 1 in 5 (21%) say their benefits are not easily accessible.
The CIPD report also revealed around a third (29%) said they were likely to increase funding in health and wellbeing programmes, such as occupational sick pay, employee assistance programmes and flu jabs.
A survey by BUPA in 2015 found around a third (28%) of small business leaders thought their companies were too small to take employee health and wellbeing seriously.
And a third (32%) of them thought health and wellbeing was the domain of large businesses.
Comment from British Safety Council chairman, Lawrence Waterman
“Discussions about health and wellbeing permeate our daily lives, whether it’s the accessibility of good clinical care, the stresses of modern living or the importance of physical activity and good nutrition,” said British Safety Council chairman, Lawrence Waterman.
“They are supported by common beliefs: work sometimes contributes to ill health; the workplace can provide an environment where good health can be promoted; and everyone should play a role in encouraging and protecting good health and wellbeing.
“Too often, unlike the highly professional approach applied to risk assessment and risk control, wellbeing efforts have been marked by a combination of real enthusiasm and commitment married to a woeful ignorance of what will make a difference. This positivity could dissipate into incoherent programmes of free bananas and occasional ‘health weeks’, featuring Indian head massage and aromatherapy,” added Mr Waterman.
“The Wellbeing at work report represents the British Safety Council’s contribution to establishing rigorous, evidence-based workplace interventions which enhance the wellbeing of everyone involved. It calls for commitment, clear thinking and effective action, not only to make our workplaces healthy and safe, but also to make a tangible impact on improving the lives of all workers.”
Lawrence Waterman also commented on workplace fatalities earlier this year as the British Safety Council pledged to campaign more vigorously for health and safety.
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