It’s widely known that being in work is good for people’s health and well-being, and it’s increasingly being recognised that a healthy workforce is beneficial to employers too. By creating a positive, safe and healthy environment for employees, you can increase morale, improve your employees’ work-life balance and, in turn, positively impact your business. So why does health come before safety? The health of the whole workforce is vitally important to ensure that they can fulfill their duties in line with the companies policies and customer charters. If they are mentally and physically healthy, they are more likely to work safely.
Work is a big part of our lives. So, how we feel when we are at work, and what we feel about work when we are at home, really matters.
This quote is a from a senior manager of a large multi national company. They are going through another cultural change after years of having the wrong leadership team. Unfortunately for them, it can take years to improve a company’s reputation off the back of a decision that was made in 30 seconds. Add to that a ‘don’t question me’ attitude from the top, you can ruin a good business very quickly and staff morale hits the floor.
People need to feel wanted and cared for at work and that their efforts are recognised. Of course, there are some that say, we employ people to do a job and we pay them, that should be enough, shouldn’t it? If an employer believes that, then they will almost certainly not see their employees as human beings and likely treat them as machines.
I came across a employee who’s employer operated a 24/7 service. The numerous different shifts over a six week rota were ruining his health and family life. In one week, he worked over 73 hours over 7 consecutive days of 11.30 am to 9.30 pm. “I don’t like fast-food” he said, “so you’re limited what you can eat in your van, plus you only get one break scheduled at 4.30”. The effects were clearly detrimental to his physical and mental health. The company did not consider health or welfare at work when they compiled those rotas and months later he is still working them.
Stress is a significant occupational health risk. There is a clear link between poor work organisation and subsequent ill health. When pressure experienced by an individual exceeds their ability to cope with it, ill health problems can result. Work-related stress caused by excessive work demands, lack of control over work etc. is often cited as a cause of mental ill health. Areas to consider are covered in the HSE’s PDF – hsg218 Managing Stress
For now, I hope that the list below will be of help in your workplace, whether you’re an employer or employee. The links take you to expert advice from the HSE, so take a look.
- Demands – this includes issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment.
- Control – how much say the person has in the way they do their work.
- Support – this includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues.
- Relationships – this includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
- Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles.
- Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation.
Earlier this year the government launched it’s Fit for Work guidance, although very few HR professionals are aware of this support, it’s a really useful guide to occupational health.
For more help and advice on health, safety and welfare at work come along to the next Stockport Works Safer workshop or get in touch now and I will help you manage your business’ health, safety and welfare.