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Five New Years resolutions for employers

So what New Year’s resolutions can employers make to help staff achieve a healthier lifestyle?

Beate O’Neil, Head of Wellness Consulting at PSHPC, one of the largest health and protection advisers in the UK, has devised five compelling suggestions for your consideration:

1. Start proactively managing employee absence

&middot         Ensure there is an up-to-date sickness policy that incorporates your absence management process. Make sure it includes instructions on when and how employees should inform their line manager of absence, the frequency and method of ongoing contact between employee and line manager/HR, what employee benefits and other support mechanisms are in place to support the absent employee.

&middot         Ensure line managers are appropriately trained on the absence management process and feel supported by HR to proactively manage both short and long term absence.

&middot         Develop trigger points to recognise absence cases that may benefit from an Occupational Health referral, e.g. repeat episodes within a defined time period, workplace accidents, stress-related and MSK etc.

&middot         Decide whether you use your own Occupational Health provider or the Government’s new Fit for Work service and get the ball rolling.

2. Sign up to at least one of the Department of Health, Public Health Responsibility Dealswhich aim to “tap into the potential for businesses and other influential organisations to make a significant contribution to improving public health”. There are numerous deals under the following sub-headings (Health at work, physical activity, food and alcohol etc.) or local Workplace Wellbeing Charters.

3. Tackle mental health. Mental Health is still a major problem for UK employers and it is estimated that it costs UK employers &pound30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence.  Employers should, therefore, do more to approach the stigma around it and ensure steps are taken to address and assist employees with a mental health condition.  Think about:

&middot           Raising awareness and confronting stigma around mental health.

&middot           Encouraging an open and honest culture where employees feel they can raise

      concerns about mental health through line managers, HR, Wellness champions etc.

&middot           Offering and promoting employer-funded services such as Employee Assistance.

      Programmes (EAP), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Counselling etc.

&middot           Ensuring early and appropriate medical help for anyone with a stress-related


&middot           Encouraging flexible work arrangements.

&middot           Ensuring management attitudes and behaviour reflect those of your company.

4. Review and update your health and wellness company policies and procedures. Numerous companies have not updated their policies for years. They see it as time consuming and can’t measure its value. The start of 2015 is the right time to review what is in place for flexible working, sickness absence and stress, for the benefit of both your business and your employees and agree a long term strategy (3-5 years) on how the company should promote health and wellness .

5. Make & lsquo;Wellness at Work’ your mantra . Promoting wellness days, health screenings, walking challenges, fitness challenges, healthy eating etc. will all contribute to raising employee awareness and knowledge about their health and wellbeing. It could lead to a more productive business for you too.


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