Culture | Do we need new approaches to workplace wellness?

Do we need new approaches to workplace wellness?

It is widely agreed that a workplace with a positive health and well-being culture is a more productive one.

Original ideas surrounding well-being in UK workplaces revolved around stopping smoking and weight management, but in 2019 these concepts have moved on, and recent reports have focused on other key employer considerations such as supporting women through the menopause and people with mental health problems.

This month the CIPD published its annual survey exploring trends and practices in health, well-being and absence management in UK workplaces. The research has found that the rise in stress at work is linked to poor line management.

According to the report, nearly two-fifths of UK businesses (37%) have seen an increase in stress-related absence over the last year, citing heavy workloads and poor management style to blame.
It states that more than four-fifths (83%) of respondents have observed ‘presenteeism’ (going to work when ill) in their organisation and a quarter (25%) say the problem has worsened since the previous year.

Additionally, the report outlines that nearly two-thirds (63%) have observed 'leaveism' (such as using holiday leave to work) in their organisation. More than half (55%) say their organisation hasn’t taken any steps to address the issue.

The report also reveals that many managers aren’t receiving the training they need to spot and help manage these unhealthy practices among their staff.

This is a wake-up call for senior leaders, not only does this emphasise the need to continue to rethink wellness at work, but also demonstrates the need for greater investment in health and well-being training and awareness to ensure line managers are confident and competent to support staff.

It is, however, important not to take these results in isolation and to be aware that there are no quick fixes. There are other steps employers can also take to help reduce stress in the workplace. Initiatives such as flexible working, trust, better collaboration and and employee reward and recognition platforms can all contribute to a more positive and less stressful workplace environment.

Wellness is also only one integrated part of an overall approach to creating a workplace team which feels more capable and eager to perform at their best. Other small HR innovations can also make a big difference in a business or organisation. Take a look at our guide “Small HR Innovations that make a big difference” which is designed to help you to see positive results from a few small steps, including wellness and flexibility, without having to spend hours trawling the latest industry thinking or making sweeping changes.

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