Health and Vitality in the Workplace
As an employer, you can raise awareness among your employees about how they can work and live healthily. In the end, they are responsible for doing something with it. You do, however, have more influence on it than you might think. After all, we spend a lot of our time at work.
Attention to the health of your employees is particularly important these days. Sickness absence has risen again in recent years, sustainable employability is becoming increasingly important due to the ageing of the population, and employee retention is of great value given the shortage on the labour market. A company that shows that it sets great store by the health of its employees works towards a positive employer image.
Not only is it in the interest of employer and employee to contribute to employee health, it is even required by law. Employers must ensure that the work does not adversely affect health and must allow employees to have their health checked periodically.
There are two main statutory instruments that provide insight into the possible risks of absence:
- Risk Assessment
- And the Preventative Medical Examination (PME) or Periodic Occupational Health Examination (POHE).
With the resulting insights, you and your employees can take targeted measures to promote health and prevent absence. You can read more about the risk assessment and PME further on in this article. We offer two differtent PME's. PME Vitality and PME Personal.
With the National Prevention Agreement, the government shows that promoting a healthy lifestyle is high on the agenda. The emphasis is on combating smoking, obesity and problematic alcohol consumption. You can also read more about these topics further on in this article.
Am I allowed to interfere with the health of my employees?
Your employees are ultimately responsible for ensuring that they actually live a healthy life. And of course there are limits to 'interference'. You must not only comply with occupational health and safety legislation, but also with privacy regulations. Since both employees and employers benefit from health and vitality, our advice is definitely to pay attention to it within the company.
This is how you work on the health of your employees
Working proactively on the health of your employees is therefore important and benefits all parties. But how do you go about it in practice? Roughly speaking, you can start with three pillars:
- The work is not harmful to the employee's health.
- You pay attention to improving the mental and physical health of your employees.
- During working hours, employees can make healthy choices (for example, they can alternately work in a sitting and standing position and/or have a healthy lunch) and there is room for relaxation (for example, there is time for a walk).
Below we look in more detail at the ways in which you can actually help improve the health of your employees: the risk assessment, the PME, promoting a healthy lifestyle (also at the company), reducing stress, promoting sleep and preventing physical complaints among your employees. The vitality and health expert is an important partner for this.
Keeping the risk assessment up to date
In order to find out whether the work carried out at your company can be harmful to the health of your employees, you carry out a Risk Assessment and Evaluation (RAE, or RI&E in Dutch). This enables you to identify all work-related risks so that you can tackle them in a targeted manner. Having an up-to-date risk assessment with an action plan is a statutory obligation. As matter of fact, you can immediately be fined if you do not have a risk assessment and associated action plan.
Offering a Preventative Medical Examination (PME)
A good way to create awareness about health is the Preventative Medical Examination (PME). The PME provides employees with insight into their physical and mental health, so that any risks can be tackled in a targeted manner. The design of the PME is in line with the outcomes of the risk assessment.
Such a PME seems like a major expense, but it can bring you and your employees considerable benefits. A PME that is performed and followed up on satisfactorily leads to healthy and vital employees, less absence and, as a result, lower absence costs. You can compare the health check with an MOT. For cars, it goes without saying to check periodically whether everything is still working properly.
A PME is proof that you value the health of your employees. Employees feel valued and can work on their own vitality thanks to clear action points. In short, the PME is a great gift to your employees. We offer two differtent PME's. PME Vitality and PME Personal. Read more about the PME in practice.
Using Lifestyle Workshops
The influence of an unhealthy lifestyle on absence is becoming increasingly clear. All lifestyle factors influence the vitality and health of your employees.
You can make your employees aware of their lifestyle with our lifestyle workshops and coaching. These focus on different lifestyle themes, which are closely related to the themes of the National Prevention Agreement. Examples include stopping smoking or alcohol prevention. There are also specific workshops for shift workers. You can, for example, use the lifestyle workshop or individual coaching (tailor-made for you) in response to the results of the PME.
Taking Action Yourself
Workshops such as the ones described above can help your employees, but you can also build in incentives for a healthy lifestyle. Encourage your employees to take the stairs instead of the lift, encourage cycling to work, discourage smoking and offer healthy choices in the company restaurant. Moreover, do not only think about physical health, but also focus on mental health.
Performing Medical Examinations
It is important to check regularly whether your employees are able to meet the (heavy) demands that the work places on them, so that they do not endanger themselves and others. An examination can determine whether your employee is healthy enough for their job. Medical examinations are even compulsory for certain occupations.
An employee who experiences too much stress for too long can become ill. Illness due to stress is the number one cause of absence. If an employee is absent due to mental health problems, you will lose them for an average of 220 days. This has an enormous impact on everyone involved. And if you know that an absence day costs an average of €250, doing nothing is not an option. And you do not have to A great deal of absence can be prevented, for example by early recognition of the signs that may indicate psychological complaints, which may lead to absence. The results of the risk assessment and the PME can also be a guideline for dealing with stress within your company.
Sleep is one of our most important needs, just as important as good nutrition and exercise. Bad sleep has an impact on work. An employee with severe sleep deprivation performs just as poorly as someone who comes to work drunk. And employees who sleep badly are more prone to absence, have concentration problems, have difficulty planning and keeping track, and are more likely to make mistakes. This increases safety risks. Sleeping badly has an emotional impact. Poor sleepers are irritable, less up against the pressure of work, time or environment, more susceptible to criticism and their overall feeling of well-being deteriorates. As an employer, you can, for example, offer employees sleep training.
Preventing Physical Complaints
A good workplace helps prevent physical complaints and absence, and contributes to the health and vitality of your employees. A workplace has to 'be right' in order to work well. A pleasant workplace is different for everyone, but it must always be set up properly. Three tips for a healthy workplace:
Changing posture (walking, standing, sitting) is essential, both at home and at work. Encourage your employees to cycle to work (more often) instead of going by car or public transport. Make them aware that it is good to walk regularly throughout the day. For example, when talking on the phone, by taking the stairs instead of the lift and by emailing less and walking over more to colleagues.
2. Reconciliation of tax and taxability
A human being can be compared to a pair of scales, with the load on one side and the load capacity on the other. On these scales, the load must not exceed the load capacity. If this is the case, the difference can be solved by either decreasing the load or increasing the load capacity somewhat. The ergonomist and employment and organisation expert can help you greatly with this.
3. Pleasant working environment
Provide a pleasant working environment. Not only the adjustments and use of your furniture and/or machines is important, but also factors such as lighting, climate and noise. Work-related psychosocial stress also plays an important role. Think of excessive work pressure and inappropriate behaviour.
If there are tensions in your work environment and you are prepared to talk about it and work things out together, you can use the 'Sustainable Cooperation' intervention.
Finding a solution
Our independent staff welfare coaches offer sympathetic mediation without lawyers or legal experts, they will coach and guide those involved and so help find a solution that is satisfactory to all parties.
This is how it works
Key to the 'Sustainable Cooperation' approach is to re-establish communication and contact between employer and employee and remove obstacles to sustainable cooperation and/or reintegration. These are the concrete steps we take:
- 'Sustainable Cooperation' starts with an intake meeting and feedback setting out what has been agreed with you and the number of sessions required plus an explanation of the follow-up pathway.
- Standard elements include guidance for your employee and our recommendation to you the employer.
- If you wish, you can schedule a preliminary meeting with the staff welfare coach and one or two three-way meetings between you, your employee and the staff welfare coach.
- Ultimately, you decide whether the agreements reached are feasible and you take the final decision.
The benefits of this approach:
- Prevent absence or keep it under control thanks to expert support.
- Prevent additional costs by resolving conflicts.
- Understand how to prevent conflicts.