The National Health Service watchdog NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has published guidance urging managers to help improve the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff.
NICE says healthier workplaces will not only benefit staff, but also increase the productivity of businesses. Each year more than a million working people in the UK experience a work-related illness. This leads to around 27 million lost working days costing the UK economy an estimated £13.4 billion.
Recommendations within the NICE document include encouraging staff to incorporate exercise into their working days, by taking the stairs, walking to the office or going for a jog at lunch. The guidance also tells managers to carry out ‘posture’ reviews to ensure employees are not at risk of back ache or repetitive strain injuries caused by typing.
NICE says the toll on employees could be significantly reduced by managers taking simple steps to create a ‘positive environment’. Other recommendations for managers include letting staff be ‘flexible’ with their hours and allowing them to have a proper work-life balance. Bosses are also told not to ignore other workers’ suggestions and that they mustn’t feel ‘threatened’ by junior colleagues who are very good.
It has long been clear to Healthy Performance that health-promoting workplaces are obviously good for millions of employees and therefore, for taxpayers. The NICE guidance is particularly welcome as it highlights the need for all employers – public and private – to raise health and wellbeing standards nationally.
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