Employee health and wellness is inextricably linked with work productivity. The dilemma is that the working environment can have a potentially detrimental impact on well-being which in turn impacts job performance.
In Australia, over 90 per cent of workers’ compensation claims involving mental health conditions are linked to work-related stress. The most common causes of work-related stress are work pressure; workplace harassment or bullying; exposure to workplace or occupational violence; exposure to a traumatic event; vehicle accidents; being assaulted and sexual or racial harassment.
It is a vicious cycle when unhealthy work environments create unhealthy employees. This impacts business, so it’s important for business owners to understand the link between employee wellness and a healthy, productive and well-functioning workforce. Likewise, they should also be aware of their own stress levels and state of mental health, and how these affect their wellbeing at work, interactions with customers and staff, and their ability to run their business.
A culture of health requires compassionate, engaged and positive leadership. When absenteeism is up, people are smiling less at work and there is a general lack of motivation, it is time to look at the environment and open up the lines of communication. Check in with your staff to find out if they are struggling with anything, be it physically or emotionally.
There are psychosocial assessment tools available to companies that can help them to identify and manage issues that could affect employees’ health and mental well-being. There should be an employee wellness committee to help open the channels for employees to discuss their issues and concerns, get their hands on useful information, and access resources for improving their health and wellbeing.
Often people have concerns or questions about their physical health, fitness and emotional well-being but they don’t have the motivation to consult with the relevant professionals about it. People also incur stress and trauma without knowing where to turn for help. These issues can weigh heavily on people,
Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to point them in the right direction. So here are some ideas on creating a healthy culture in the workplace:
Paul Henshall, CEO, ActionCOACH New Zealand and Australia