Why better health means better business

By Jamie Hill - 10 April 2021

BusinessExpert VoicesFeatures

When we talk about wellbeing at work, what do we really mean and does it really make businesses more profitable? If it does, how do we know? Rosie Runciman shares academic research collated by TeamDoctor to answer these questions.

We have become used to reading about the increased focus on wellbeing in the workplace over the past year. The pandemic, and its repercussions, will have a significant impact on the nation’s mental health for a long time to come.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has done some excellent research on the correlation between those companies with strong health and wellness programmes and their stock market performance in comparison with those with weak programmes.  As a result, it has been suggested that the investment community should scrutinise wellbeing metrics when they assess a company’s value.   

It is not straightforward to measure wellness in financial terms, but a growing body of research strongly indicates that integrated approaches to employee wellbeing lead to better outcomes. Although correlation is not the same as causation, the results of effective wellbeing can be seen in a company’s data – through increased productivity, lower absenteeism and improved retention rates. 

There is no formula for equating a smiling employee with a monetary value, but the productivity data will provide that information further down the line.

Similarly, those companies which focus heavily on general employee health, not just mental health, are able to prevent or reduce instances of obesity, heart disease, respiratory problems through effective interventions, will see results show through over a much longer period of time.  This is because the organisation is measuring negative outcomes so, for example, the onset of a chronic condition through better self-management is delayed for at least 10 years. It doesn’t mean the health policy isn’t working because it takes longer to show through on the balance sheet.    

 Dr Nicholaas Pronk is Adjunct Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He maintains that an integrated approach is essential for maximum outcomes, tying together a number of factors that affect employees including emotional, social, mental, physical, financial and intellectual health. He explains that:

“The different dimensions come together, and, all of a sudden, worker health and wellbeing starts to show up as a main driver as to why employees want to work for the company.”

He adds that to achieve real benefits, this sort of integrated approach needs to be embedded into the “very DNA of the company” and aligned to its core goals.

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, President of the CIPD highlights, in our TeamDoctor course on Looking After Your Mental Health at Work, that senior management, from Board level down, has to place wellbeing at the heart of its activities for a strategy to be really successful. If senior executives are skeptical, he prompts them to look at the data. He adds that for any company, health and wellbeing are not ‘nice to haves’ but are essential for long-term success.  

We don’t have to look very far back in history to see the financial benefits of this approach. In the nineteenth century, chocolate companies like Fry’s, Cadbury and Rowntree were pioneers of social enterprise, promoting health and wellbeing for all their employees and creating long-lasting financial success for their organisations in the process.     

In 2021, the health and wellbeing challenges are different, but remain considerable.

People who sleep badly often think that is their lot in life and that it won’t improve, but there are many interventions, often quick and easy, which can make a huge difference to how you sleep. How you sleep will, in turn, make a huge difference to how you perform at work and in every other area of life.

The same principle applies to your mental health and your diet so…..don’t resign yourself to poor health in any of these spheres. There is, in many cases, action you can take to improve things.

Register for the webinars or watch them again ‘on demand’ via https://growthhub.swlep.co.uk/news-events/webinars 

 

 

Part 2

The Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub is delighted to welcome back Rosie and some of the leading experts who work with TeamDoctor. TeamDoctor is dedicated to improving health outcomes in the workplace and provides a range of videos and courses assisting businesses with this ever-important issue.  When asked about the work of TeamDoctor, Dr Charles Alessi, Senior Advisor Public Health England commented "The quality of the films are, in my experience, unmatched anywhere in the world.”

This is your chance, therefore, to receive world-class information free of charge as it is delivered with funding from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The webinars being delivered over the next three months will see Rosie talking with leading experts from each field, giving suggestions on how to effectively address each issue in order to improve business outcomes:

Wellbeing: How better sleep can mean better business

Wellbeing: How better nutrition can mean better business 

Wellbeing: How to ensure the new normal means better business 

Rosie will be talking to:

Professor Jason Ellis, Professor of Sleep Science and Director of the Northumbria Sleep Research Laboratory. An Expert in Behavioural Sleep Medicine and a Practicing Health Psychologist, he works with the NHS, advises the Government and provides national guidelines around management of sleep problems. In addition he is author of a best seller on insomnia, and can also be seen on TV helping people with sleep issues so you will be in good hands.

Anne Turner is principal lecturer in food and nutrition at Manchester Metropolitan University and also had many years working at one of the UK’s largest providers of workplace food, improving the nutritional value of what was served to enhance health and workplace performance. She has fascinating insights into food and productivity which she will share.

Emily Hutchinson, leading occupational psychologist, and listed as one of the country’s top ten by the Independent newspaper, will join us for the third webinar to help us through the transition out of the pandemic, with all the adjustments we have to make as we come to terms with a new pattern for our working lives.  

If you or your team struggle with any of these issues, there will be lots of information in each webinar which will help. It is a great opportunity to ask all those questions which have been worrying you and you haven’t found the answers for. Just come along to the webinar and put those questions anonymously. 

 

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