Webinars for those who work from home and regular sessions on seasonal illnesses can help.
The total number of working days lost due to stress, depression or anxiety was 11.3m in 2013-14, according to recent statistics from the Health and Safety Executive.
In our “always-on” world, it is perhaps unsurprising that we are seeing a move towards greater employer responsibility for staff wellbeing. This is only set to continue as mental health rises rapidly up the political agenda, recognised as a major issue for the UK workforce.
Embedding a wellbeing culture within a business is not only in the best interests of employees, but the company will also benefit.
However, such a culture won’t just appear. Firms need to understand that a pressurised environment means that they should consider having a range of measures in place for employees to tackle stress and health in the workplace.
At Allianz, we have created a UK network of wellbeing champions, who regularly engage with employees to help us put in place measures to overcome these difficulties and share wellbeing advice.
Understand different working environments
Businesses should also take into account the health of part time employees, or those who work from home. We find that offering bite-sized webinars (30-40 minutes) and online toolkits is a good way to ensure that they feel supported and able to access the help and advice they may need.
Flexible working hours
Understanding flexible working options and being able to offer them appropriately can really help. When the job role allows, offering flexible hours or working from home can allow employees to achieve a better work/life balance.
Seasonal health focuses
By raising awareness and educating employees, business owners can help them to monitor and notice the first signs of health decline in themselves or colleagues. For example, we run quarterly wellbeing programmes that focus on emerging risks such as diabetes and dementia in the workplace.
Giving staff the knowledge of when to seek help and support if they are unable to cope goes a long way to reduce lengthy absences. Focusing on one health theme each month is also a great way to support seasonal problems that so frequently occur, such as flu and hayfever.
We have found that working with charities and companies such as Mind and the Stress Management Society has been a really positive way to provide employee workshops on how to identify, prevent and manage stress.
Running an annual wellbeing week also allows key members of the management board to share their own tips and advice on wellbeing, highlighting how important the issue is.
Personalised support events
Businesses should consider supporting employees in their search for the right work/life balance through a variety of initiatives, including webinars, seminars and employee assistance programmes. For instance, we have a free 24/7 helpline, which offers confidential advice and support.
Alyna Jones is health, safety and wellbeing manager at Allianz Insurance.
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