Time to rethink how business supports employee wellness

It is well known that happy and healthy employees create a positive atmosphere within an organisation, improving productivity and driving profits in the process.

So investing in the wellbeing of your workforce is something that should be seriously considered.

But what health and wellbeing programmes should you invest in and how can you be assured they work?

Employee benefits

There are many employee benefits you can offer, from gym memberships and 24-hour helplines, to sleep pods. But which ones give you the best value for money and deliver the best outcomes? Well, let’s take a look at those three examples.

Gym membership

The link between exercise, healthy living and improved performance has been researched intensively – and it works.

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They talk about those endorphins swimming around your body, making you happier and more motivated. But what if you give this to all your employees but only 50% actually use it?

You have to be motivated to go to the gym in the first place, right? What if you’ve managed to drag yourself out of bed and just about made it to work on time, managed to look relatively interested in meetings but really your just counting down the hours till you can go home?

 Are you then really going to go the gym because your employer suggests you do? Not likely.

You are more likely to get the people who are in a good place mentally using that membership. And then, how do you measure the impact of this on employee wellbeing?

You can measure how many people use their membership – sure – but does that tell you they are improving their wellbeing? Nope.

I can go to the gym, do a couple of lengths in the pool and then go home and eat an entire chocolate cake. My attendance at the gym is not a reliable measure of my well-being.

What about a 24-hour helpline?

That is a very useful resource to have. Staff get free and confidential advice and support when they need it from trained counsellors.

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From advice on managing low thoughts to advice on debt management, it gives employees a safety net they can fall back on.

However, it is a resource for people who may be struggling with, or need support for, their mental health. It is a reactive approach as opposed to a proactive one and likely to have only been referred once they have incurred some absence from work.

What if you could offer proactive support so that employees are looking after their mental health all the time and preventing it from deteriorating? Prevention is better than cure as they say.

Can it be done? Absolutely….keep reading to find out how.

So what about sleep pods?

Employees have had an intense morning and use the sleep pod to reenergise themselves for the afternoon.

Having a nap during the day lowers your blood pressure, increases the oxygen in your blood through deeper breathing and gives your brain that rest it needs.

As human our brains can only maintain so much high intensity for so long before we start to lose productivity.

However, it makes sense that napping during the day does end up stealing from our sleep at night. Is this bad? Yes. Because the crucial sleep our brains need is the deep restorative sleep we only get during the night.

Napping during the day replaces some of the deep restorative sleep with a light nap in an environment which is usually unconducive for sleep.

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If you nap during the day with less restorative sleep at night you can end up more tired at work, which is of course the opposite outcome of what you want.

So what does work?

Instead of offering a one size fits all solution (gym memberships for all) you need a bespoke and tailored approach. After all we know there is one set treatment for a broken leg, for example, but there is simply no such treatment for managing stress as we are so uniquely different.

Instead of providing reactive support (24 hour helpline and counselling) you need a proactive approach which encourages staff to look after their mental health all the time, maintaining it and improving it. Why settle for managing to cope when you could enable your employees to thrive?!

And instead of sleep pods, which can meddle with our sleep cycles, you can implement protected time for relaxation and mindfulness which produce the exact same results without messing with our sleep.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a healthcare profession similar to that of a nurse or a psychologist working in the NHS and other health and social care settings. The difference between OT and medical professionals (nurse/doctor) is the focus is not on medication but on engaging in activity (social prescribing) to prevent poor mental health.

Intrinsic Occupational Therapy provide evidence-based assessments and treatment plans which are tailored to the individual and work together to improve a person’s mental health and overall performance at work. It is bespoke and focuses on helping employees to thrive.

BUT is it measurable?

Absolutely. Occupational therapy is a health care profession so is based on best practice and measurable outcomes.

Intrinsic Occupational Therapy offers every employee an assessment of their current mental health, showing areas for improvement and having an intervention plan produced. These assessments are completed after six and 12 months of treatment to show the individual their progress.

These are confidential but the employing business gets anonymised summary reports showing the improved health and wellbeing of their staff. 

So why invest in Intrinsic Occupational Therapy?

The benefits to employees include increased job satisfaction and improved wellbeing, but what about the benefits to your business?

Using Intrinsic Occupational Therapy in your business means:

  • Reduced lost revenue from sickness.
  • Increased productivity with the opportunity to make a return on your investment.
  • Improved reputation as employer looking after your staff
  • Increased recruitment and retention of staff (and reduced cost from staff turnover)
  • Ability to attract top talent (if you have a proven programme for employee wellbeing that could land you that talent you want over your competitor).
  • Meeting the Governments standards around health and wellbeing at work and being the ‘gold standard’ example for your industry.

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