Health and Wellbeing – Where Health and Safety is Pivotal
The pandemic created a new work landscape, now organisations see employee health and wellbeing as pivotal to success
The past two years have elevated the urgency to put the human element back into the workplace, placing health and wellbeing at the very heart of the corporate agenda.
Health and safety professionals are fully aware of their duties to maintain legislative compliance for employees’ health and safety, and the pandemic challenges have brought wellbeing and other issues into sharper focus. In partnership with their HR and OH colleagues, Health and Safety Managers must work together to implement changes necessary and lead the transformation from recovery to growth. The Council for Work and Health’s Dr Steve Boorman sees the task as, “Creating conditions in which staff feel protected, valued, engaged and cared for.”
However, there is a long journey ahead. In this age of uncertainty, staff are nearing tipping point, overwhelmed with immense workload and poor working practices. According to Professor of Occupational Psychology (Birkbeck, University of London), Dr Gail Kinman, “Presenteeism, burnout, PTSD and unhealthy coping strategies throughout the pandemic have put staff at risk of long-term mental ill health.”
Anyone working from home will understand the myriad of musculoskeletal issues now being faced by employees, and many long-term conditions such as obesity and cancer have been under diagnosed and under managed, not to mention the rapidly emerging effects of long Covid. These healthcare challenges need to be carefully managed, with early interventions and long-term strategies put in place. Regarding musculoskeletal issues, for example, by using an appropriate online health and safety management system, managers have the tools to ensure good practice for DSE use – whether at home or in the office – manual handling, and risk assessment.
Where there is training and upskilling to be done, this can be achieved by line managers responsible for managing both office-based and hybrid workers using data management tools to manage their employee population efficiently and ensure compliance. These tools help managers establish a culture of inclusion, trust, compassion, and flexibility, enabling them to be empathetic and understand when staff need support and to appropriately signpost them when necessary.
There is a real opportunity to transform the health and wellbeing agenda in terms of its reach, models and delivery, driven by Health and Safety Managers, along with their HR and occupational health colleagues. In the words of BACP’s (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) Workplace Division’s Nicola Neath, “Corporate success can start to be measured by the health and wellbeing of its employees.”
Have you carried out DSE assessments for employees who work from home? Contact us to find out more about the AssessNET DSE module for hybrid workers – now available in multiple languages