Healthy at home, unhealthy at work – how HR teams can mend the disconnect

The way that your workers view health and wellbeing on a personal and professional level is becoming increasingly intertwined.

This is especially true given the ever-changing nature and expectations of today’s workforce. From global teams working around the clock, to flexible and mobile workers who are ‘always on’ and ‘always connected’, the lines between work and home continue to blur. All the while, there is pressure to be more productive.

Whether it’s using their own wearable device to monitor the number of stairs they climb between meetings, or joining a conference call from the treadmill in the company gym, employees are taking the right steps towards a healthier and more active lifestyle. Why? Because it helps them to perform at their best.

Employees are prepared to quit over bad work environments

Making the workplace healthier

 Employees are responsible for taking care of themselves and looking after their health, but as an employer you can support them. For example, are you facilitating a workplace environment where employees can put their health and wellbeing first, and become more engaged as a result?

According to recent research by Fellowes, the answer is likely to be a resounding ‘no’. One in four people describe themselves as healthy at home but unhealthy at work. One in three feel they have little or no control over their health at work, and notably they consider their employer to be responsible for this. Significantly 85% believe workplace wellbeing should be made more of a priority at their company.[i]

This lack of employer accountability is as unhealthy for your business as it is for your employees. Why? Competition for the best talent is on the rise. Thus, it is more important than ever for HR to provide a work environment that is attractive to both today’s and tomorrow’s employee. Indeed, 73% of Senior Managers think employee expectations around workplace wellbeing have increased.[ii]

Further, 73%[iii] of employees agree that approaches to workplace health need to be proactively preventative and long-term, instead of quick fixes in the short-term. Did you know, for instance, that almost half (45%)[iv] believe their company should be doing more to tackle obesity issues?

 Taking steps towards greater activityBad posture can have serious physical consequences

The brutal truth is that one hour of daily gym-time is easily offset by over seven hours sat at a computer screen. Employers must challenge this sedentary workstyle to avoid bearing the brunt of an unhealthy and disengaged workforce and suffering the financial consequences.

What can HR managers do to address this?

We know that people work better and feel better when they’re active. And according to our research, 95% of Europeans believe that their desk environment is the most influential factor in their workplace wellbeing.[v] So there’s your first port of call.

It’s really just about getting your employees to think of everyday actions, such as sitting and standing, in different ways. A simple, small change in how they interact with their workstation can elicit a big change in both their health and productivity. More information can be found here.

But adapting their workstations alone is just one step to making lasting change. Encourage your staff to get moving, book meetings in another part of the office and go and talk to co-workers rather than the only communicating via email or phone. Not only does it give them a good screen break, but it encourages interaction, collaboration and creates a sense of community which boosts productivity.

Turning bad news into good

Surely there’s no excuse for complacency. Especially when there could so easily be a solution to the issues highlighted above – indeed 70% of workers think that the workplace should do more to proactively prevent health issues.

With so much of our time spent at our desks, the workplace is an ideal environment in which to form good new habits that boost health. And leading the way in this respect will result in a more productive, more engaged and ultimately more profitable workforce.

To find out how you can improve health and wellbeing at work, download our report.

Isn’t it time your HR team stood up for a healthier workplace?

[i] Loudhouse Research 2016, commissioned by Fellowes. Country specific findings unavailable.
[ii] Loudhouse Research 2016, commissioned by Fellowes. Country specific findings unavailable.
[iii] France: 70% Germany: 71% Spain: 74% Holland: 58%
[iv] France: 38% Germany: 40%; Spain: 58% Holland: 37%
[v] Loudhouse Research 2016, commissioned by Fellowes. Country specific findings unavailable.

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