By Victoria Anderson, Director, Better Humans Technology
Occupational health plays an important role in any organisation. If an employee has a work-related problem which is preventing them from doing their job effectively, occupational health is there to help. It acts on the behalf of the employer to assist the worker to recover from injury, restoring them to full function in a working capacity. It is job focused and once the person becomes well enough to work, not necessarily better, the help stops.
However, the big question is, does occupational health do enough to look after the long-term health and wellbeing of employees? The honest answer is no.
It’s our belief that organisations should be proactively helping their employees stay healthy, acting on their behalf (injured or not), viewing them as individuals not workers. Our thinking is more companies need to continually place the person and their welfare first. This will help to unlock potential in all aspects of their lives, not just at work. If organisations encourage employees to create small long-term life style changes which goes beyond the limit of their job and company, it will ultimately have a huge effect on business performance.
Why is continual health and wellbeing so vital?
1 – Healthier, happier employees:
- More Productive
- More Resilient
- More Focused
- Suitable for all fitness levels
2 – Lower Absenteeism:
- Reduce risk of health issues
- Faster recovery from injury
- Improved posture
- Specialist Physio support – at work and home
3 – Higher engagement and retention rate:
- Company specific rewards and benefits
- Digital service accessible anywhere
- Team challenges to inspire engagement
4 – Better company performance:
- Improved financial performance
- Improved individual and team results
- Customisable data reports
We know at the top of every director’s priority list is to find new ways to unlock their company’s business potential. A good start is to ensure the people who make your company tick are looked after, both in mind and in body. Yes, business health is important, but it cannot be placed in front of actual human health.
Every millisecond our body and brain pass data back and forth to keep the highly complex human machine working. We have millions of sensors in our bodies which constantly feedback data to our brain such as temperature, pressure, muscle tension, hunger, pain etc. Our brain interprets the data and sends signals to our body allowing us to respond to these messages and keep us functioning as best it can.
Over time these signals don’t always reach the precise location, like an online map with GPS co-ordinates that are slightly out of sync – you get to the right street but miss the turning at the first attempt! Plus, if your body is slightly out of line, or you have poor posture, it takes even more brain power to keep you upright and requires more effort to move. Worse still, it can be harmful causing uneven wear-and tear leading to injury.
We believe employers need to do more to look after the actual human health of employees, and by doing so will release their potential before they get injured or stressed. An analogy we often use is working with aches and pains, combined with too much stress, is like having too many apps open on your phone, your battery wears down much faster.
REACH Your Potential
Our REACH programme is an example of how employers can take a proactive approach to help ensure their employees stay fit and healthy. REACH is a unique blend of tests and digital training using the latest developments in neuroscience, motor imagery, visualisation and brain training. If followed the programme is proven to create healthier, happier and more productive employees; lower absenteeism; improve engagement and retention rates; and ultimately enhance the performance of the company overall.
If an employer invests in helping employees improve their health, not only will it improve productivity and morale, but it can also flag up hot spots which can be used for future planning. This is not something a company does simply to tick a box, they will get tangible benefits from it in the short-term and long-term. It’s our belief that prevention is better than a cure, so learning about your company and its employees, and what creates a healthier workforce, is a huge strategic benefit.