As proposed by the World Health Organisation, “Are we able to reimagine a world where clean air, water and food are available to all? Where economies are focused on health and well-being?
Where cities are liveable and people have control over their health and the health of the planet?”
World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on the 7th of April to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1948. It’s a day dedicated to promoting the benefits of good health and wellbeing worldwide. This year, in the face of the Covid pandemic, a polluted planet and an increasing incidence of diseases, the theme for World Health Day 2022 is ‘Our Planet, Our Health’.
As reported by WHO “In the midst of a pandemic, a polluted planet, increasing diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, on World Health Day 2022, WHO will focus global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.” COVID-19 highlighted the inequities in our world. There are weaknesses in all areas of society and the pandemic highlighted the speed with which we need to create sustainable well-being societies committed to achieving equitable health now and for future generations without breaching ecological limits. An economy fostered with wellbeing has human equality and ecological sustainability as its goals.
Responsibility and sustainability are now vital to the bottom line; therefore, productivity levels are usually under the microscope. Sickness absence impacts considerably on productivity, and one of the key statistics in this area is interesting and worrying: mental ill-health costs the UK economy more than £102 billion per annum. Covid-19 has changed the landscape of the global workforce highlighting, amongst others, the need for organisations to improve their people’s wellbeing inside and outside of work. Research has shown that 87% of employees now expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments.
Holistic Wellbeing For All
Here at VISTA HQ, we’re passionate about promoting wellbeing. Our mission is to help every organisation support the wellbeing, engagement, and happiness of their people. We believe organisations perform at their best, when their people’s total wellbeing needs are met, something which many companies struggle to do well. We promote employee wellbeing through company culture, employee personal and professional development and by uniting three key tenets of wellness (Mental, Physical and Social). Although historically as founders we’ve been very focused on leadership from the top down, we want to make sure businesses are creating sustainable environments and that everyone has the power to understand and impact their own wellbeing.
Creating a Sustainable Workforce
A sustainable workforce is a work environment that looks after its employees and cares about health and wellbeing. It offers its employees a good work/life balance and takes a flexible approach.
As employers, we need to think about the ways in which modern life may be contributing to health problems. Low nutrient foods, low activity levels, stress and burnout, lack of work-life balance, and financial pressures are all factors leading to poor health. Additionally, helping individuals to understand their wellbeing and tips to become happier is so important. Our VISTA psychologists have written a blog on happiness, go check it out!
Businesses, therefore, need to align profit with purpose. Sustainability addresses meeting the wants and needs of humans today, while also focussing on the preservation of the environment and ensuring the wellbeing of the future generation. Wellbeing is therefore intrinsically connected to an organisation’s wider sustainability strategy and purpose. So organisations need to ask themselves – How can we have healthier people and a healthier planet? How healthily are we living now? What can we do better?
Tips for bringing sustainability into the workforce
- Have a clear purpose and values that are well communicated and that colleagues believe in. Promoting the business’s wider values can help employees feel invested in the company’s purpose and in a sustainable future.
- Create a well-defined wellbeing strategy. Understand the challenges faced in your business and the wider industry. Because the job and work organisation occupy a central place in the life of most employees and consume more time and energy than almost any other life activity, organisations need to identify programmes, policies, and practices that help employees thrive.
- Promote a positive culture of wellbeing…design a healthy workplace that fits the specific context of the organisation. At VISTA we believe that employees should be empowered to provide real-time feedback on both company culture and their wellbeing. This enables responsible and sustainable businesses to listen, understand and proactively shape their culture. Employee involvement is a crucial practice in creating a healthy work environment that truly produces long-term win-win benefits for employees and organisations.
- Promoting sustainable behaviour at work can indirectly impact wellbeing. For example, encouraging sustainable travel (eg. walking and cycling) can improve health, reduce stress and decrease air pollution. See our VISTA “Walk to Work Blog”
- Understand how your business impacts the wider community. Can your business and employees help improve the wider environment and the people in it?
- Examine the workplace culture and behaviours- promote balance and encourage healthy behaviours. Consider limiting hours, encouraging down-time and understanding what flexible work arrangements your employees need.
- Create a good place to work not just mentally but also physically. How does the work environment impact your workforce? Is there access to adequate natural light, green spaces, healthy food provision and opportunities for connection and movement?
- Monitor and tackle employee stress. Research has shown that 61% of employees with high levels of stress are likely to eat unhealthily, exercise infrequently, smoke and suffer a lack of sleep. This compares with just 34 per cent of those with low-level stress.
- Even if worker wellbeing is a priority for businesses, wellbeing programmes and benefits are often geared toward remedial care rather than preventative action. At VISTA we believe in building a proactive offering to help employees thrive. Check out our stress blog to learn about the impact of stress on a workforce including health and costs for the employer!
To deal with stress, you need to get clear on what’s coming from outside, and what is coming from Providing a ‘good place to work’ and making sure that your business is focused on a sustainable workforce culture is key to attracting top talent, retaining employees and emphasising psychological safety at work. That improves the wellbeing of the entire business.
VISTA offers a personalised wellbeing experience to every individual employee allowing organisations to see real-time wellbeing metrics of their workforce, helping drive proactive wellbeing strategies and for the first time no longer relying on purely reactive measures. If you’d like to learn how VISTA can support you please get in touch.