Are you making your staff stupid

Guest Blog by Jackie Ward from:  Towards Better Living

On reading this heading, I expect you’re thinking “What?! What on earth is she on about?”

What I’m talking about is how one’s ability to see things clearly, think clearly and to make decisions is affected by stress. In other words, when we’re stressed, we lose some of our ability to function well  we struggle to play at the top of our game and I’m sure you wouldn’t want your staff dropping the ball!

Stress is a cause of long-term absence

The DWP in their Health At Work review in November 2011, reported that stress is one of the leading causes of long-term absence and, according to a number of business surveys, is on the increase.

If you thought of your staff as machines, you’d want to keep them well oiled and working efficiently wouldn’t you? You’d be investing in regular services and maintenance. Although some of you might think it’s not up to you to look after the health of your staff, your business will suffer the consequences of a staff that’s stressed, tired, lacking energy and just plain worn-out – in perhaps more ways than you thought possible.

Stress is expensive

According to the CBI’s 2011 Absence Survey, on average employees are absent for 6.5 days per year. What does that cost you? A month’s work if you have 5 ‘average’ employees? You may be able to put a value on temporary staff as you get the bill from the agency, but can you put a value on the disappointment and dissatisfaction of your customers on hearing that their contact is unavailable, perhaps deadlines are missed? How much is the lowering of moral amongst colleagues who have to take on extra responsibility costing you? What is the cost to your reputation and the value of business lost?

However, not everyone is absent – they attend work when they are tired and stressed. What is their lack of clarity, inability to make decisions and to generally function well, costing you?

Measuring health is important for business

Like most people, I expect you measure how well your business is doing in pounds, profit and cash flow. Have you ever thought about measuring the blood pressure, weight and stress levels of the people working in it? Those assets of yours that maintain the pounds, profit and cash flow of your business – those people who keep your business functioning and providing for you, your family and theirs?

When looking at how you can get the best out of your personnel, one of the aspects which will benefit them, and therefore you, is for you to understand, appreciate and treasure their health – both physical and emotional.

As Business in the Community says “Business leaders recognise that a healthy, committed workforce is vital to business success. Many companies declare that ‘our people are our greatest asset”. Yet of chief executives, finance directors and human resource directors surveyed, 70% admitted that they were not effectively promoting health and wellbeing at work, despite rating a healthy workforce as a ‘top 5’ boardroom issue.

Perhaps the reason for that is that these executives, not being experts in health, be it mental or physical, don’t know where to start. Bear in mind though, that it’s estimated that for every £1 invested in health and wellbeing there may be up to £4 or more recovered in benefits so you may want to start somewhere!

To that end, at Towards Better Living we provide health screening in order to help you understand where you are now in terms of the health of your work-force and what the potential risks to you business might be. In other words, we help you identify where you are starting. We then present information, guides, education and coaching to help you and your staff make well-informed decisions that enable you to work and live life better.


Read more about the case for workplace wellness programmes and how other organisations are reaping the benefits here and to take action to improve the health of your organisation, contact Jackie at 

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