Oct 04, 2017

Hi ho, hi ho it's off to work we go!

Whether it's a Monday to Friday 9-4 or a Tuesday to Thursday 12-3, everyone is in search of a perfect job that works for them and their circumstances.  This may mean juggling a manic family life, balancing two hectic jobs or working around a demanding health issue.  Whatever your circumstances, people are generally keen to work.  Largely because it pays the bills, but also because of the positive feelings of self-pride and job satisfaction. 

With National Work Life Week well underway from the 2nd-6th October, employers and employees are being encouraged to promote well-being at work and talk about the importance of work-life balance for everyone.  With 11 million working mothers and fathers in the UK, there is a growing demand on employers to offer flexible working.  Especially as research proves that flexibility pays for itself time and time again in terms of employee engagement, motivation and loyalty. 

Excessive working hours, on the other hand, lead to reductions in productivity and staff morale.  So much so that one in ten people are ready to resign without another job to go to, simply because their work life balance (or lack of) is a source of stress that they need to remove from their lives.

Equally as stressful can be the pressure of managing a demanding job, with the day-to-day logistics of a health concern.  This can mean people needing extra time off for appointments or adaptations being made at work to suit individual requirements.  And as people get older, common health issues can also include heart disease and diabetes.

So how are businesses adapting to this evolving culture of workplace flexibility?  It would appear there is much more of an emphasis on employee well-being and the responsibility of employers to promote a happy, healthy workforce.  Businesses are realising the rewards of putting their employees first and the significant benefits to productivity if people can work their jobs around the other priorities in their lives.

One of the significant changes is the move from encouraging people to do overtime and push themselves to the limit to complete a project on time to businesses actively promoting time away.  This may be time away from their desk during the working day, time away from the office to work remotely or time away entirely to take a decent, well-earned holiday.  Stepping away in whatever format allows people to re-energize and keep high stress levels at arm’s length. 

Promoting time away is a good thing and an important step for employers.  In particular, it can work to reassure those with health issues, such as diabetes, that regular breaks during the day for snacks or testing are completely acceptable.  Similarly, flexible working hours place less emphasis on the 9-5 routine and more emphasis on completing your work at a time to suit you.  This again is a huge benefit to those trying to factor hospital appointments and regular check-ups into their average day.

Further supporting the health of their workforce, many businesses are now offering programmes of employee health checks.  These are a great addition to a health and well-being agenda and are often seen as a positive perk by employees.  Health checks are carried out on-site and are short, confidential consultations with a trained healthcare professional.  They generally involve a questionnaire as well as a combination of tests. Their success is in identifying conditions such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

Whether you have either of these conditions or you are generally keen to maintain a healthy lifestyle, being able to eat a healthy diet, even at work, is often a must.  Increasingly, workplace canteens are becoming well-being areas where employees can switch-off, relax and interact with friends and colleagues at a time to suit them.  Combined with an offering of healthy, energy-boosting foods, organisations are really starting to show a genuine care for the well-being of their teams.

Another feel-good-factor for employees is encouragement within the workplace to regularly take part in physical activity.  Staff ill-health has worrying repercussions for a business as a result of less productivity, absenteeism and early retirement.  However, physical activity has shown to reduce levels of stress and anxiety as well as conditions such as back pain.  It also works to keep conditions such as heart disease, obesity, stroke and type 2 diabetes at bay.

Workplaces should actively promote schemes encouraging people to walk or cycle to work and use the stairs instead of the lift once there.  Adoption of flexible working patterns will allow people to take a longer lunch break or finish early to take part in sporting activities or team events.  And a corporate membership with local leisure services or promotion of local sporting events can encourage employees to join in and feel good about themselves.

All in all, a strong positive mindset from employers in relation to the health and well-being of their staff can only bring benefits in the long-term.  People spend the majority of their waking day at work, so it is important that they feel fit, healthy, motivated and valued. 

If you feel you may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and would like to know a little more about the signs and symptoms, then register for a free account at www.equalibras.co.uk today where you can also view hints and tips on energy-boosting recipes and exercise routines…great for at home or in the workplace.

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