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Investing in workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense

Why should owners of SMEs be concerned about employee wellbeing? As an owner of an SME, what have employee assistance programs (EAP) and employee engagement (EE) to do with me?” EE helps productivity, good staff stay longer and are more loyal, they go the extra mile.

The top 3 reasons for sickness absence in the UK in 2016 according to Office for National Statistics were:

1. Minor illnesses (e.g.coughs and colds) 34 million days lost (24.8%).

2. Musculoskeletal problems (MSD) (including back pain, neck and upper limb problems) at 30.8 million days (22.4%).

3. ‘Other’ conditions, mental health issues (including stress, depression, anxiety and serious conditions) 15.8 million days lost (11.5%).

Here are some free or low cost tips to help you start to address these issues with your staff and help you and them feel better:

• Flexible lunch times - time to exercise.

• Team events like a sponsored walks or volunteering.

• Healthy lunch groups or ‘Lunch n’ Learns,’ where representatives from local health services and other relevant organisations discuss priority concerns of staff.

• Monthly “number of steps in a day” or “walk to London” competition” or other fun physical activity event; table tennis or badminton.

• Exploration of local partnerships with other SMEs, to co-fund more larger interventions, such as joint assessments of officeplace ergonomics, health MOTs, holistic health treatments, workshops and on-site screenings.

What about the bottom line? A 2008 report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) showed a return on investment for every £1 spent on workplace wellbeing, the organisations in the study recovered £4.17 in increased productivity and reducing sickness absence.* It's a win-win!

Samantha Culshaw-Robinson and her business partner Kat (Chu) Martindale work together in the Work Well Practice  running workshops and holistic treatments empowering workers to take ownership of their own health, allowing companies to grow their own Work Well health plan.

* Building the case for wellness 4 th February 2008 – A report by PWC.