Top tips on creating a health and wellbeing policy

By KMC Human Resources

02 Oct 2017

We’ve all heard the saying ‘a change is as good as a rest’. A holiday usually gives both – a chance to relax and recharge batteries as well as providing a much-needed break from the daily routine.

It’s no wonder that going on holiday provides a great overall sense of wellbeing; leaving you feeling refreshed and able to take a positive view of the world around you; including your work.

But how many of us manage to keep that positive mental attitude for long once we return to work?

At this time of year, most of your employees may have taken the majority of their annual leave. Without another holiday in sight and with the night’s drawing in, many of us start to feel low over the winter months.

Many employers are recognising that stress in the workplace is not conducive to happy or productive staff and as such are looking to Health and Wellbeing Policies to avoid workplace stress taking its toll. Here are some tips on developing one for your company.

Take stock

Before you start to put any measures in place, take some time to assess the current situation. You could conduct a survey to find out how happy / under pressure staff feel so you have a good understanding from the outset.

Don’t forget to ask staff for any suggestions of areas in which the workplace could be improved or ways you could assist in improving their happiness at work.

Nutrition

The workplace can be a breeding ground for unhealthy eating. There are often treats around which have been brought in for someone’s birthday or as a ‘Friday treat’ and let’s face it, many of us will opt for a chocolate bar or coffee over a healthier alternative.

Whilst you can’t be expected to overhaul people’s food choices, you could encourage healthy choices by providing free fruit in the workplace or having cool water stations.

Exercise

The endorphin-boosting effects of exercise are well documented yet it can be difficult to fit exercise into the working day.

To overcome this, you could implement a cycle/walk/run to work scheme, offering incentives and, if possible, on-site facilities for staff to shower/change when they arrive.

You could also look at bringing external fitness instructors into your workplace for lunchtime sessions.

Another idea gaining popularity is the concept of the walking meeting. Rather than sitting round a desk, wouldn’t it be nicer for appropriate one-to-one or small group meetings to be conducted whilst on the move? Work, exercise and fresh air combined – win, win. And what about standing desks?

There is increasing evidence that standing for part of the working day, rather than sitting at a computer all day, as many of us do, can significantly increase health and wellbeing.

Work on the work environment

A dull, dingy office with little natural light is unlikely to aid stimulation during the long working day. Prevent fatigue with good lighting and stimulate brain function with bright and clean décor.

Plants are known to have a positive effect on the environment and mood so incorporate these where you can. Lone working and confined office spaces can also be problematic so consider an open-plan layout or collaborative work zones to encourage staff to talk to one another.

At the very least, encourage an ‘open door’ policy.

There’s little doubt that with a little time and attention, you can make noticeable differences to the well-being of your working environment and practices.

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