Welcome to the second edition of Talking Health, Thinking Safety – a monthly initiative undertaken by Prime Mover, Eaton and R&R Corporate Health to promote health and safety issues to the people and organisations in the commercial road transport industry.
In the first edition you were asked to consider measuring your waist and setting yourself the goal of maintaining or decreasing your girth over the course of 2013. The more research that is done into 'tummy fat', the more we realise how dangerous it is to long-term health and incidence of back pain. Take a moment, look down at your mid riff and if you see a bulge, look yourself in the eye and make a pact to eat better and exercise more.
This edition explores the fact that company success relies on creating a vibrant culture that provides staff with opportunities to chase optimum performance. Individual performance, however, is complex due to the fact that we are all so different, stressed by different things and have such unique personal histories. The one factor that is the same for all, though, is the need for staff to be engaged and feel well.
The following is a host of initiatives for you to consider to boost performance, improve adherence to site safety and positively alter the culture at your workplace.
Wellness Boards can be placed in high traffic areas and lunchrooms to increase visibility of key wellness and health messages. Information such as newsletters, healthy food recipes, mental health information (including how to use your Employee Assistance Program) and any health and safety mantras can be read by all. It may only be a passing glance, one word that an individual keeps seeing, that leads to positive lifestyle or professional change. Wellness boards cost nothing but are worth their weight in gold.
WorkSafe provides all businesses the opportunity for interested staff to undertake a 'free' health check at work. This is an amazing initiative and one that is not only saving lives but can definitely result in improved staff performance.
Providing all staff with a water bottle is also a cost effective and worthwhile investment. The formula is simple: if staff have a water bottle they'll drink more water, if they don't they’ll often succumb to soft drinks and so called energy drinks that do nothing other than increase fatigue and make them sick.
One of the major reasons that people are not exercising is a lack of time. It is therefore important that business owners and team leaders look at ways to inject fitness into the workplace. A great way to do this is to set up a company 'walking challenge'. Purchase a pedometer for all staff and set different team and individual challenges. Regular walking is proven to increase endurance, improve general health and assist in weight loss. Now that's got to equate to improved staff performance.
Site canteens are paramount in the pursuit of staff productivity. Depending on the quality of food offered, they are either a positive source of energy or an insidious combatant to company success. In the coming weeks spend time in your canteen or even in cafes adjacent to your workplace and ascertain whether there is an abundance of healthy options or whether it is a sea of fried, fatty, sugary foods and fluids. In the case of a site canteen an opportunity exists to increase the amount of healthy, energy boosting options, while slowly decreasing the fried stuff. Start by having one day a month being a day of purely healthy foods and build from there.
Put out an expression of interest across your site or business and start a wellness and health committee. You’d have teams assigned to safety so why not do the same with health? Staff will come from everywhere to be a part of driving health into their business.
These are just some initiatives that you can employ at your workplace to increase awareness, improve motivation and create momentum towards a culture that believes in health as much as it does in safety. Waste no time - set the health wheels in motion.
Between now and next month, good luck and good health.
Written by Matthew Beechey, Director of R&R Corporate Health and acclaimed industry health and wellbeing expert.