Workplace Wellbeing Day 2017

Hear Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister of State for Health Promotion; Danny McCoy, CEO, Ibec and Anne Heraty, CEO, Cpl Resources plc talk about National Workplace Wellbeing Day 2017 and why companies should get involved.

What we have found

2016 - 7 in 10 likely to stay longer term with employers interested in their wellbeing

1 in 2 would consider leaving employers who don’t support wellbeing

Irish employers should encourage their staff to be healthier according to a new national survey* of employees, which shows that employee wellbeing is crucial to staff retention and productivity levels. A survey of almost 1000 employees reported that seven in ten (69%) employees are more likely to stay longer with employers who show an interest in their health and wellbeing while half would consider leaving employers who don’t. Last year hundreds of public and private sector organisations across the country participated in the Ibec supported day which aims to improve employee health by promoting better physical and nutritional wellbeing in their workplace.

The results of the Behaviour & Attitudes’ study highlight the important role for employers in improving their employees’ health. Three quarters of those surveyed say employers should encourage their staff to be healthier. Dr. Muireann Cullen, Nutrition & Health Foundation, says that employers are already responding. “Our study shows that about half of employers are trying to facilitate healthier lifestyles for their employees. More employees have access today to health and wellbeing initiatives within the workplace than they did in 2014².”

Commenting on the results, Small Firms Association Director, Patricia Callan said “Over 4 million days are lost in Ireland due to absenteeism by small businesses alone³. As this research shows, employers of all sizes and from all sectors are doing a lot already. But employers should do more to promote these initiatives and encourage staff to get involved.”

Four out of five employees point to a positive link between their health and wellbeing and their company‘s productivity. Two in five meanwhile claim that sickness and absenteeism are a barrier to productivity within their workplace.

Employee health and wellbeing programmes were also an issue for those employers intending to recruit during 2016. More than a third of employees (35%) surveyed said that a company’s workplace wellbeing programme is important when they are choosing a new employer.

Niall O’Callaghan, partner at employee benefit consultants, Mercer, stated “Our own recent research supports the fact that across all life stages and ages, employees’ personal worries about their health and wellbeing are having a dramatic effect on how they operate at work. The provision of a wellbeing programme is one of a number of ways in which employers can help to reduce this stress and worry.”

Niall O’Callaghan explained “Employers who proactively seek to provide support and resources to help staff manage their health and wellbeing will see dividends in terms of improved productivity and morale, and lower staff turnover. They will also be better placed to recruit and retain the most talented staff in a competitive labour market as the economy recovers.”

On National Workplace Wellbeing Day, employers are being asked to put a special focus on physical and nutritional wellbeing in their workplace. Hundreds of employers last year organised special events for their staff ranging from cookery demonstrations and health talks to lunchtime walks and exercise classes. Further details of how companies can get involved in this year’s event are available at http://www.fooddrinkireland.ie/Sectors/NHF/WWC.nsf/ActivityV2!OpenForm

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2015 - Ireland’s workforce wants to get healthier and they believe their employers can play a role in helping them. We asked Behaviour & Attitudes to examine how healthy Ireland’s workforce is and their nationwide research found that:
· Two thirds (65%) of employees who participated in the nationwide survey recognise their need to consume healthier food and drink
· Just 15 percent said their employers provide healthy food choices in company canteens or vending machines.
· Only one third of employees take the recommended weekly level of exercise for a healthy lifestyle
· Four in ten office bound workers say they are not physically active at all during their working day. <br>

Launching Workplace Wellbeing Day 2015, Danny McCoy, CEO, Ibec said “Employee wellbeing is a high priority for companies because of its positive impact on productivity and absenteeism. With 11 million days lost through absenteeism every year at a cost of €1.5bn*, improving employee wellbeing is in everyone’s best interest. This campaign is about employers looking at what they are doing in this area already, identifying what they’re doing well, promoting it amongst employees and sharing it with other companies. Equally importantly, is the identification of where improvements can be made, and making them too,” he said. (November 2014).

Welcoming Ireland’s first National Workplace Wellbeing Day, Kate O’Flaherty, Director, Health and Wellbeing Programme, Department of Health said it was important that employers actively supported the initiative. “The achievement of the goals set out in the Healthy Ireland Framework depends on the active participation of many sections of society. Given the significant proportion of time that the majority of people spend in their workplace, it is an obvious and critically important place to promote and encourage healthier living. In taking a partnership approach with different employers, employees and workplaces, we can share best practice and build a culture of workplace wellbeing which can have real benefits for people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.”

On the day companies are being encouraged to host special events and promotions for their staff as well as highlighting existing initiatives available to them in the workplace.

*Employee Absenteeism: A Guide to Managing Absence, 2011; Ibec