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Exercise helps staff deal with stress, says Thomsons Online Benefits MD

Helping staff to stay fit can help when they are faced with stressful situations and even aid customer experience, according to Thomsons Online Benefits managing director Chris Bruce.

Bruce told HR magazine Thomsons takes the health and wellbeing of its staff seriously and he "passionately believes" employers should be helping workers to improve their health.

"We ask a lot from our staff so it's only right we give something back," he said. "Employees who regularly exercise are better at dealing with stressful situations and also feel energised. If you do this well customers can feel that energy in their interactions with your staff."

Thomsons held a company-wide event last week in which employees were challenged to travel from Oxford to London in a variety of ways. These included kayaking and using 'Boris bikes'. The event also raised £100,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Bruce believes such events can have a hugely positive impact on employee morale and wellbeing.

"It's great for cross-company camaraderie and people taking pride in the place they work," he said. "Also I've had a lot of staff come up to me and say they're going to continue to exercise more after training for this event. So it can have a long-term benefit for your workforce."

Food for thought

Research by Convini Food Solutions suggests employees are dissatisfied with the provision of food and drink in their workplace.

The Food for Thought report reveals that 21% of office workers describe the food provided by their employers as "extremely poor". Furthermore, 27% say there are no food provisions at all where they work.

Subsequently 47% of office workers admit they skip lunch one a week – with 63% of these saying it increased their irritability and affected productivity in the afternoons.

Convini managing director Chistopher Pederson said the research demonstrates the role that food and drink plays in "increasing wellbeing in the workplace".

"By failing to address catering provisions adequately, organisations are missing an opportunity not only to improve employee wellbeing, but also energise staff, boost productivity and reduce sick leave," he said.