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27 Jun 2022

Taking an organisational-wide approach to workplace health and wellbeing

The mental health crisis continues to grow and is having a broad impact worldwide

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Workplace health and wellbeing is a broadly discussed topic especially as we move towards a post-pandemic workplace, whether that is remote, in the office or a hybrid model. Expectations, both from an employee and employer perspective, have evolved and in many cases changed over the last couple of years.

The importance of raising awareness of health and wellbeing topics is likely to continue to grow as the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises the workplace as one of the primary settings for health promotion in the 21st Century. With most adults spending a large part of their lives at work, and the growing global health crisis, the WHO prediction makes sense:

• A total of 38.8 million work days were lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal work injuries in 2019/2020 in GB alone, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

• The global mental health crisis is predicted to cost $16tn by 2030 (World Economic Forum).

• Poor mental health is estimated to cost UK employers $45bn a year (Deloitte and Mind report).

New guidelines from NICE

In March 2022, new guidance was issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK on Mental Wellbeing at Work. The new guideline, NG212, talks about creating the right conditions for mental wellbeing at work. It aims to promote a supportive and inclusive environment, including training and support for managers, and helping people who have or are at risk of poor mental health.

NG212 talks through strategic approaches to improve workplace mental wellbeing, organisation-wide approaches and having a supportive work environment. On an individual level, it recommends approaches for those who are at high risk of poor mental health and those in high risk occupations.

The NICE guideline is designed for a broad range of non-clinical stakeholders, including employers, senior leaders and managers, HR teams, professional and employee representative organisations and members of the public.

Health and wellbeing for the longer term

Statistics and insights clearly show that the mental health crisis continues to grow and is having a broad impact worldwide. At Tictrac, we hear from organisations about a range of health and wellbeing approaches being considered or implemented. Those who are prioritising health and wellbeing for the longer term are embedding workforce health and wellbeing into their company-wide strategies, as opposed to viewing it as a one-off.

It’s better to take a holistic approach to wellbeing rather than focusing on a single aspect. A person’s mental wellbeing can be affected by many factors, including physical health, personal relationships and work life. A holistic approach allows consideration of a full range of wellbeing pillars, including mental, physical, financial, social and emotional. At Tictac we have worked with behavioural science experts for more than 10 years to develop a platform that focuses on the HEAL principles:

Healthier over healthy The definition of healthy is different to everyone, so we help people make incrementally healthier steps based on their starting point.

Effort over ability Everyone’s ability is different, so we focus on inspiring action and rewarding the effort someone puts into taking control of their wellbeing.

Action over outcomes Outcomes are key to long-term success, but focusing on simple and effective daily actions makes long-term goals less daunting.

Lifestyle over routines Long-lasting behaviour change is only possible if we help people find enjoyable activities and connections instead of giving them strict rules.

There is also the recognition that wellbeing is not a one-size-fits-all approach – instead it is helpful to empower each individual through the provision of the right tools and resources in a way that works for them.

As the mental health crisis continues to grow globally we all have a role to play in terms of finding ways to support those around us and ourselves with appropriate support, tools and programmes and safe working environments.

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