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30 . Glasgow Business March/April 2013

A HEALTHY WORKING LIFE has been defined as one that

continuously provides working-age people with the opportunity, ability, support and encouragement to work in ways and in an environment that allows them to sustain and improve their health and wellbeing. Steve Bell, Strategic Director of the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives.



Wellbeing at Work needn’t cost the Earth. Small changes implemented by employers and managers can promote mental wellbeing in your workplace, with significant positive effects. These include an increase in productivity, lower rates of absenteeism and a quicker return to work after illness, fewer injuries in the workplace, and improvements in communications, morale and working atmosphere.

Here are our top tips to promote “Wellbeing in the Workplace”

Understand stress v pressure: Some employees thrive on pressure, but when the individual becomes unable to cope with that pressure, it becomes stress. This is where an employee is no longer in personal control and feels there is no way of regaining it. It’s essential to understand the difference.

Write it down: As a responsible organisation, you should have a written policy addressing stress in the workplace, advising how an individual can manage stress and detailing your responsibilities as their employer. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, you must take measures to control the risks associated within the workplace.

Take the initiative: Why not perform a “stress risk assessment”? Find out who is stressed, and in which areas of the organisation. This could be a questionnaire asking a sample of staff for their views on stress and how it is handled.

Identify the causes: Among the common causes of stress are excessive workload, an individual’s lack of control over their work, poor relationship with management, a poor work/life balance and the emphasis on fault-finding rather than encouragement.


eeping your employees enthusiastic and productive is the key to having a successful business. Supporting health promotion and safety not only

shows your employees you care about their wellbeing, it can send out a powerful message to your customers as well. For many years, measures taken by employers

to improve workplace health were categorised as perks. But nowadays, employee health is seen as a hard, economic factor of production that’s taken much more seriously by employers and governments. Tere’s plenty of

evidence that workplace health and wellbeing is being taken seriously. Businesses are under pressure from three directions to address the

not all doom and gloom. A growing number of employers are actively introducing measures aimed at promoting health and wellbeing. Managing your employees’ health rather

than their sickness as part of a wider wellbeing programme is bringing real benefits to organisations – by reducing turnover, and increasing the productivity and engagement of their employees. Glasgow Chamber of Commerce is one

“It’s great to be

wellbeing agenda: » From themselves, as increasing costs and sickness and absence risk damaging their

employer that has taken the wellness route for its members, offering them private medical insurance with AXA PPP Healthcare, and a health plan with Westfield Health. Another is the Glasgow

recognised for the support we offer our staff to keep active”

productivity, growth and brand » Employees asking for help to improve their

wellbeing » Government legislation aimed at helping get more of the working population back and active in the workplace. Many health problems we face are the result

of poor diets, obesity, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. Some can be explained by growing levels of family breakdown, workplace stress and debt and their links to depressive illness. But it’s


Cassiltoun Housing Association in Castlemilk values the physical and mental wellbeing of its employees and is keen to promote healthy lifestyles for them. A real benefit for the association is that the healthy messages it promotes can also be seen by its customers – local tenants. Cassiltoun offers tai chi sessions and

relaxation exercises to its staff and is working towards its silver Healthy Working Lives award after gaining a bronze award in 2012.

Climbing Centre, which occupies a former church in Ibrox and has just been awarded a Simplyhealth Healthy Workplace Award for its commitment to its 50 staff. Centre Manager Rob

Wats said: “As a company running a sporting venue, it’s great to be recognised for the support we offer our staff to keep active, both at our climbing wall and through our cycling to work facilities.” Te Scotish Government set up the

Scotish Centre for Healthy Working Lives to support employers and employees who want to develop their own wellbeing programmes. Advisers provide free, confidential workplace visits and advice on occupational health, safety and wellbeing. Find out more at:

The association operates a workplace

alcohol and drugs policy, and runs awareness workshops for employees to educate them on sensible drinking. Its managers get training to help them support staff who are experiencing any problems. Clair Malpas, Regeneration Manager, said:

“Cassiltoun is a very supportive organisation that makes everyone who works here feel positive about themselves.” There are currently 17 permanent staff and

five temporary workers under its employment programmes for young people and older people returning to the job market. All are treated as equal members of staff.

Helping your employees stay fit and well is essential for a successful business


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