Creating healthier workplaces

Healthy workplaces support staff to lead healthy lifestyles so they can maintain both physical and mental wellbeing.  

In earlier blogs, we have spoken about flexible working which helps staff get a better work life balance. However, we must ensure staff are supported in the workplace in order that they can provide the best possible care and support to our service users.

Some initiatives to aid this can be:

Ensuing all staff take their breaks – Breaks are not a luxury but an important means of preventing fatigue-related incidents. A missed break is a safety issue. Ensure staff are able to take their rest breaks and where staff sit at a desk or laptop for long periods, explicitly encourage regular breaks from the computer.

Encouraging healthy eating. Eating a balanced diet is important for the health and social care workforce, especially for those who work shifts. Ensure staff have easy access to healthy eating options at work. Perhaps consider a machine that offers healthy snacks. Many employers offer meals at work either free or at a low cost which are healthy and nutritious.

Ensuring staff drink enough- Dehydration leads to reduced cognition, which can impact on decision making. Dehydration in care staff is a safety issue. Help staff to stay hydrated during a shift by ensuring water stations are available or bottles of water are available to staff.

Gym memberships – Consider offering free or subsidised gym membership.

Consider fun competitions that support healthy behaviour such as losing weight or reducing/eliminating alcohol, or cigarette consumption can be welcomed ways to promote a healthy start to the New Year.

Offer training on topics such as nutrition, stress management, mental health and general wellbeing. In a nursing home, perhaps a nurse can d this or consider a staff health champion with additional training.

While physical activity is not a ‘quick fix’ for a healthy lifestyle, living an active life has a number of additional health benefits and must be taken into consideration in the workplace. Encourage healthy commutes by providing showering and changing facilities, bike storage or ‘cycle to work’ schemes.

 Make sure that workstations are comfortable and well set-up. All staff who work at computer must have a Display Screen risk assessment carried out.

Ensure all staff are up to date with their training such as Safer People handing and medication to ensure they can deliver safe and effective care and support.

Staff who work from home

Lead a positive work-from-home campaign. Acknowledge the additional challenges that may come from new working environments, both in terms of social, physical and mental health. Provide a safe and accessible forum for employees to communicate their needs and concerns about changes in their work or workplace. Ensure employees feel connected and supported in remote working environments. Encourage informal team check-ins and confidential mental health checks. Where possible actively encourage employees to work flexibly and take regular screen breaks. Run virtual ergonomic checks on employee workstations to help them use their at-home work set-up safely. Where possible provide suitable ergonomic equipment.