People are People: health & wellbeing support plans

Health and wellbeing

Every day, we deal with humanity in all its glorious diversity. A melting pot of the confident and the shy, the happy and the sad, the able and the less able. Some or all of whom will be working for you.

As businesses are nothing without their people, and those people are often crammed together in the same place at the same time, you might well have to deal with that melting pot melting down.

Thank goodness for HR departments then? Sure, but it’s not quite as simple as that.

There are as many complex human problems as there are complex humans. Everyone has their quirks, sensitivities, intolerances and issues, and some are more obvious than others. It’s easy to assume everything’s fine unless told otherwise and leaving it up to one department (or person) to handle isn’t really enough.

As a business you have to Do Something About It.

Figure it out

As with most things business related, the health and wellbeing of your people has a price tag. Investors in People estimate the total annual cost of mental ill health to UK employers is somewhere around £26bn (roughly £1,035 per employee). Include the fallout from typical office-worker ailments, such as RSI, and it’s another £14bn.

A study by Wright and Shaw found significant correlation between employee wellbeing and performance. Another study by the unrelated Wright and Bonnett showed managers with low-level wellbeing are more likely to leave their jobs. Not exactly breaking news, granted, but useful to know.

Clearly there are quantifiable costs from reduced performance leading to reduced revenue, and it’s no surprise that recruitment and training aren’t cheap. But there’s a ‘reduced value’ factor here too – consider not only losing the knowledge and reliability of an experienced manager, but also dealing with the broken interpersonal networks and collaborative working voids they leave behind.

So, managing those costs ideally means managing the situations that lead to those costs. People aren’t an exact science, though, so you’ll have to consider both cause and effect.

All being well

Like a lot of businesses, we’re looking closely at wellbeing – evaluating what we’re doing and wondering if what we’re doing is enough. In practice this means working with organisations such as Suffolk Mind and Autism & ADHD to make sure we have the support mechanisms our people need. An open dialogue with staff is essential.

To help cope when things do break down, it’s good to know small businesses like us can fall back on practical health and wellbeing support plans.

We chose Equipsme – a range of services including 24-hour GP access, dental, physio, health checks, diagnosis, treatment and stress support. Because it deals with prevention and cure, our staff get more than just same-old health insurance. And by reducing absence and its associated cost, it looks after our bottom line too.

We like it so much we now offer it to other businesses – get in touch if you’d like more info.

Iain Hatfield is CEO of digital business insurance broker PolicyBee, a Best Employers Eastern Region 2018 gold-accredited company.

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