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From the Desk of Nichola Adams

On a Need to Know Basis: Overcoming Wellbeing Issues in the Workplace

As professionals dedicated to helping organisations create healthier work environments, it’s crucial to acknowledge that human factors encompasses far more than just the physical setup of a workstation. While optimising desk arrangements, chair selections, and mouse usage is undoubtedly important, it only scratches the surface of an individual’s daily experiences.

Consider this:

We can’t truly grasp someone’s wellbeing solely by observing their work habits. We don’t witness their dietary choices, exercise routines (or lack thereof), parenting responsibilities, leisure activities, or even how they unwind after a long day. The complexity of human life extends far beyond the confines of the office.

So, how do we bridge this gap? Is it as simple as asking? Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. According to a report on consultancy.uk, citing Willis Towers Watson’s Global Benefit Attitudes survey of 2018, “a staggering 80% of employees prefer managing their health independently. Moreover, 61% express discomfort with their employer accessing personal health data, while 35% hesitate to disclose stress or anxiety issues to their managers.”

So one thing that might help is more ‘self serve’ educational solutions provided to employees so that they can choose when, where and if they access information which will enable them to make better choices. However this will probably lead to only those who are already invested using the provision.

It’s evident that traditional approaches to workplace wellbeing fall short. We can’t rely solely on individuals to proactively share their struggles, especially when trust and confidentiality are in question.

For organisations truly committed to supporting their employees, a cultural shift is imperative. Leadership teams must help create an environment built on trust and openness. By cultivating a culture where dialogue surrounding wellbeing is encouraged and confidentiality is respected, we create a safe space for individuals to seek support without fear of judgment or repercussions.

Together, let’s redefine workplace wellbeing beyond ergonomic assessments and checklist protocols. Let’s prioritise holistic approaches that acknowledge the multifaceted nature of human experience.

What have been your experiences in terms of getting the balance right when it comes to opening up conversations around wellbeing with your teams?

Nichola Adams

Founder of Inspired Ergonomics

Nichola Adams, MSc Health Ergonomics, Tech CIEHF, ACPOHE Reg Member, is the Founder of Inspired Ergonomics.

Nichola is a specialist in back pain disorders in the workplace. Inspired Ergonomics regularly provides consultancy services to leading UK and International companies on how to reduce and prevent back pain in the workplace as well as working with rehabilitation companies.

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