Fit and healthy staff make for a fit and healthy company

This is part two of our wellbeing series. You can read our previous blog on how vital holidays are for a healthy workplace here.

As we head into summer, health and fitness come to the fore. We all start to feel more energised once the sun shines, and are more inclined to eat healthily, get out in the fresh air and do a bit more physical activity.

In the second part of a three-part series on wellbeing, this month we look at how employee health, wellbeing and engagement lead to organisational success.

“There is substantial evidence showing that employee health, well-being and engagement are important for organisational success” CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development

The Research Insight from which the above is taken states: There is substantial evidence showing that employee health, well-being and engagement are important for organisational success. If employees are in poor health and/or disengaged, there are potentially significant risks for their employer, such as: costs associated with sickness absence, presenteeism (employees present at work, but not performing because of health problems) and employee turnover, and the legal or reputational risks associated with employees taking a case to an employment tribunal or other litigation. Conversely, where an employer looks after the health and well-being of the workforce and engages employees, they can expect positive gains, including improved performance and productivity.

Holidays

We may be off work, but how many of us are, in effect, just away from our desks? The rise of smartphones and other portable devices means that even if we’re on the other side of the world, we are likely to see work-related emails and posts – and of course more likely to engage, even while we sit by the pool!

In a Harris poll of 2000 UK employees conducted for jobs review site Glassdoor last year, 51 per cent admitted to doing some work while on holiday. Of those employees who worked on holiday, 11 per cent said they were worried about getting behind with their workload; 10 per cent said were hoping for a pay rise; and even more worryingly – 6 per cent feared they would lose their job.

Creating a culture where employees either can’t or won’t switch off does nobody any favours. In the UK, workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks (28 days) paid holiday a year – a guideline intended to ensure their health and wellbeing. Workers who are always ‘on the job’ are more likely to fall prey to stress-related illness.

Employers can also risk falling foul of employment regulations, as staff who are ‘on call’ like this are not properly on holiday, and guidelines on working hours and holiday entitlements could be breached.

Productivity

According to research by Towers Watson (Fairhurst and O’Connor 2010), the happiest and most productive employees are those that enjoy both high levels of wellbeing and high levels of engagement. An employee who has a high level of engagement but whose wellbeing is not taken care of may be very productive, but is more likely to leave an organisation or simply burnout.

Those with high levels of wellbeing, but a lack of engagement, are likely to stay with the organisation for a long time, but are less likely to be committed to the company’s goals.

You may like to download and read a copy of their related strategy article: Employee Well-Being: Taking Engagement and Performance to the Next Level.

So, to keep your staff at their most productive, you need to take care of both their wellbeing and their engagement levels – and ensuring that they take ‘proper’ holidays is one way you can do this.

Three ways you can help staff take a proper break:

  • Ensure an appropriate handover to the staff who remain occurs before they go away.
  • Insist that texts or emails are only sent for very urgent matters.
  • Set up phones and emails with an out-of-office message and divert emails and calls to another member of staff for the duration of the holiday.

If you need clarity regarding holiday entitlement for your staff, or on any of the other points above, please do get in touch. Email us or phone Cecily on 07767 308 717.

Embrace HR Limited, based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, helps SMEs who do not have their own HR departments, or those who need HR support from time to time.