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Beware the H&W generational divide


?Employers should stay up-to-date with changing attitudes towards health in the workplace, according to founder of Well Aware Rebecca Fairbrother

Speaking to HR magazine at a Workplace Wellness panel, Fairbrother said she had encountered a generational divide among employers regarding attitudes to health at work.

“When it comes to wellness at work we sometimes hear older employers say: ‘We didn’t need this back in our day, why do we need it now?’ But the way we work has changed drastically over the years,” she said.

She added that corporations must be educated about the benefits of implementing a wellness programme. “We need to get across that wellness isn’t just a Millennial trend; it’s better for employees, and because it’s proven to increase productivity it’s also better for businesses," she said.

"If employers start taking responsibility for their employees’ health we know that will take a huge burden off the NHS too. Everyone benefits.”

Fairbrother highlighted that increasing reliance on technology and a rise in remote working means it has become harder for workers to maintain a good work/life balance. (Up to 40% of employees check their emails at home up to five times a day, according to research from the CIPD conducted last year.)

“We need to get across that things have changed, particularly in corporate environments; we’re in a position where we’re expected to be ‘always on’ through checking our phones and emails long after office hours. That means we’re going to be far more stressed, and that taking time out can be really difficult,” she said.

Behaviour change psychologist and founder of WeightlossIQ, Heather McKee, highlighted the importance of the right sorts of food in the workplace. “Food fuels us, and it’s not surprising that many employees start to feel a slump at about 3pm if they’re not getting access to the right food. It’s not about eliminating unhealthy snacks altogether, but making sure that fruit, nuts, and other healthy options are available to keep energy levels up throughout the day,” she said.

The Workplace Wellness event was organised by Well Aware, Feedr, and Headbox to discuss the benefits of employee wellbeing.