Employers are aware that employees perform at a higher standard when staff are healthy, motivated, and focused (Mind, 2022). There have been several research papers that consistently outline that when employees feel they are valued within the workplace and supported by management they tend to have higher well-being levels, be more committed to the organisation’s goals and performance also improves.

The relationship between staff well-being and motivation and business performance is often known as ‘employee engagement.’ FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee engagement and wellbeing outperform the rest of the FTSE 100 by 10 per cent. This highlights that companies who take an initiative-taking approach to wellbeing and employee health reap the benefits through enhanced morale, loyalty, commitment, innovation, productivity, and profitability.

There are several initiatives that companies can adopt to help improve employee health and wellbeing, these include flexible working, and giving employees opportunities to engage with the business and the working environment.

Leverage Smart Shift Work To Improve Workforce Health

The research gathered revealed that shift work was a large factor associated with poor health, sleep, fatigue problems, and low satisfaction with working hours. Ihlström et al’s (2017) qualitative study on different shift schedules examined stress, health, and psychosocial aspects among bus drivers. The results conveyed those individual differences were important, and that shift work allowed some drivers the flexibility to work around home life whereas for others shift work was antisocial, and in turn, these drivers reported associated stress, poor health, and negative psychosocial work conditions. The findings from this study suggest that allowing employees to choose working hours and having the flexibility in choosing as and when they work can reduce work-related stress and therefore improve overall health and wellbeing (Kröll and Nüesch, 2017). In turn, leading to a reduction in the number of sick days taken.

Employee Engagement Leads To Improved Workforce Health

Secondly, Vance, 2006) study identities that if you provide employees with opportunities to engage with workplace problems, solve situations and give employees opportunities to participate in workplace improvements it had a positive effect on their wellbeing. De Hert (2020) conducted a study of healthcare professionals, which included doctors and nurse practitioners, which found that those who were invited to participate in a structured process of identifying and addressing problems in their workplace exhibited decreased rates of burnout and increased job satisfaction. Employees who had opportunities to problem solve together and work within a team were less likely to resign.

Environment an Essential Key to Workforce Health

The working environment also plays a substantial part in employees’ physical and mental well-being. Working environments which include excessive noise levels, limited space, temperature, and poor lighting were found to have a significant effect on employee wellbeing (Aloini et al, 2021). Edem et al’s (2017) study conducted on health care workers relating to working conditions, 65% of participants stated that poor environmental conditions have a direct impact on their performance, productivity, and health. With this being said, it is important to consult with your workforce on how to improve their working environment and take action to ensure it is suitable for their needs.
As the implementation of the above components starts, it is paramount that businesses keep in mind the difference between what it takes to launch a short-term initiative and to sustain long-term change in employee health and well-being. Using occupational health services to help implement change can also be a benefit for the business. Occupational health services aim to promote and maintain the health and well-being of employees in businesses, intending to ensure a positive relationship between an employee’s work and health and wellbeing.

Written by:

Alice Milsom, SCPHN

Occupational Health Nurse Manager

Article References:

  • Aloini, D., Colladon, A.F., Gloor, P., Guerrazzi, E. and Stefanini, A. (2021) Enhancing operations management through smart sensors: measuring and improving well-being, interaction and performance of logistics workers. The TQM Journal. – https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/TQM-06-2021-0195/full/html
  • De Hert S. (2020). Burnout in Healthcare Workers: Prevalence, Impact and Preventative Strategies. Local and regional anesthesia, 13, 171–183. https://doi.org/10.2147/LRA.S240564 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7604257/
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  • Kröll, C, and Nüesch, S. (2019) The effects of flexible work practices on employee attitudes: evidence from a large-scale panel study in Germany, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30:9, 1505-1525, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2017.1289548 – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09585192.2017.1289548
  • Mind.org.uk. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/4662/resource3_howtopromotewellbeingfinal.pdf> [Accessed 19 May 2022]. https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/5762/mind_taw_a4_report_july18_final_webv2.pdf
  • Ihlström, Jonas & Kecklund, Göran & Anund, Anna. (2017). Split-shift work in relation to stress, health and psychosocial work factors among bus drivers. Work (Reading, Mass.). 56. 10.3233/WOR-172520. – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315789931_Split-shift_work_in_relation_to_stress_health_and_psychosocial_work_factors_among_bus_drivers
    Vance, R.J., 2006. Employee engagement and commitment. SHRM foundation, 1, p.53.