Working for healthier future

Dr Mary Wren.
Dr Mary Wren.
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Have you ever thought that about how your job affects your health? Or how your employees’ health is affected by their work?

My husband was able to hear a talk by the chairman of John Lewis this week and happiness of employees matters to the company alongside growth of the business. Successful businesses look after the health and wellbeing of employees.

There is evidence that if you are valued, respected, trusted and listened to in your workplace, then you are less likely to be off sick and more likely to be productive in your work. There are other things that affect our sense of health and wellbeing too. For example: what the environment is like, how positive and encouraging people are, whether there is natural or artificial light.

Some companies do things like providing exercise classes for employees or even dancing lessons to enable some relaxation and fun in the day.

Work is a place where we can be part of a community. We can feel that we belong to a group and be part of something bigger than ourselves. In many workplaces, we know we are contributing to something really important for our community or country and that gives great satisfaction.

Sadly, there are workplaces where the opposite is true.

People do not feel valued or respected, the environment is dull and depressing and the work tedious and not satisfying.

It is understandable that people feel low, stressed and exhausted and are more likely to become unwell mentally or physically.

So what can we do? As a city I think it is great to applaud the businesses and workplaces that really appreciate and value their staff – maybe we can write letters to The Star about them and publicly thank them. If our workplace is tough, maybe it is good to think about how we can address that too.

Maybe saying thank you for the good things that happen, encouraging a colleague, bringing in cake one day or organising a drink with workmates to get to know them better.

Sometimes you can work together to lobby for change or support each other in making suggestions.

We won’t always succeed and if you need support about work Citizens’ Advice Bureau can provide help. Sometimes it is possible to do more than we expect.