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Ensuring the health of employees is a big deal and HR departments are under increasing pressure to look after all areas of an employee’s health. Recent statistics show that 42% of employers target early interventions as a primary task and the benefits of doing so are becoming more commonly recognised. Intervention is about taking action as early as possible to tackle problems before they become difficult to reverse.

Providing support to employees is closely linked to business success and in order to support that, being switched on to intervention methods is pivotal. Including intervention in wellbeing strategies can help achieve business objectives and reduce absenteeism, whilst increasing productivity. Absences cost UK businesses in excess of £500 per employee every year and many businesses are implementing strategies which support employees to seek early intervention solutions. It is becoming increasingly popular to provide the tools and motivation for employees to take care of their own health with tools such as virtual GPs, EAP services, meditation and mindfulness techniques. Having a good health and wellbeing strategy is the basis of a positive, proactive, and healthy workforce. Many executives understand that employees are led by example, and instilling a wellbeing ethos from the top of the company and filtering down is the best way to engage with staff and communicate the benefits available.

A key objective for companies when implementing intervention strategies is to prove return on investment—ensuring employee offerings are right for a company and engaging with their workforce is imperative to make a positive impact.

It may come as a surprise that 39% of companies are not tracking their absence rates. Monitoring these numbers effectively can provide real insights into how to improve things within a company and help to calculate return on investment. They will provide a guide to what employees see as being most important and show in which areas employers can have the biggest impact.

Top outcomes from studies that support the need for intervention at the earliest opportunity:

  • Can reduce sick leave and lost work productivity in employees with musculoskeletal problems by more than 50%
  • Can reduce the risk of job loss and/or permanent work disability by up to 50%
  • Can reduce the risk of further mental health problems by up to 50%
  • Businesses can be 9% more productive

Being proactive with your intervention strategy can prevent short-term problems becoming long-term and can even limit the risks of some sickness absences happening at all.

Benefits like a Health Cash Plan are invaluable to a company, particularly when they want to offer treatments to employees as benefits such as an EAP service or health screening. A client of Health Shield saw their sickness rates drop from 4.5% to 0.5% in less than three years after introducing a Health Cash Plan.

Sources:

https://www.towerswatson.com/en-GB/Insights/Newsletters/Europe/UK-Corporate-and-Trustee-Briefing/2015/08/Getting-the-most-from-your-health-benefit-spend

https://www.sustainable-healthcare.com/prevention/early-intervention/early-intervention-costs-and-benefits/

https://www.healthinsurancedaily.com/health-insurance/product-area/pmi/article483940.ece

Health Shield Insights

https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/engagement/employee-outlook-reports

http://www2.cipd.co.uk/community/blogs/b/research-blog/archive/2016/11/24/measuring-what-works-workplace-wellbeing

The post Driving Success by Recognising Employee Workplace Issues appeared first on Health Cash Plans from Health Shield.

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This April was the 26th annual Stress Awareness Month, and offering a solution to employees is becoming more integral as it becomes a growing concern. People work more than 34 years in their lifetime; so suffering stress is an increasingly likely occurrence and its impact on mental health is becoming more apparent.

Employers can provide support at a time when employees need it the most, and it can be as simple as implementing a basic wellbeing strategy. Stress is not a new problem; it has been affecting workers for years, but only recently has it is become more of a focus as companies tackle their absenteeism levels and look to improve productivity.

How to identify if employees are stressed at work:

  1. Are they under increased pressure? Sometimes the demands of the job can take their toll and employees don’t know where to turn.
  2. Perhaps managers have seen a change in an employee’s behaviour?
  3. Are they taking less of an interest in their appearance and appear irritable?
  4. Do certain employees seem more withdrawn than usual?
  5. Are they working excessive hours?

‘Mental health’ and ‘stress’ are buzzwords within all HR departments. Looking after employees’ mental health is a major part of many companies’ wellbeing strategies and one way of doing so is via an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). They are one of the most common initiatives being offered by employers today. 46% of companies are planning on introducing an EAP at some point over the next 12 months, and have already identified that they are the most effective benefit for their business with regards to increasing productivity levels and reducing absence.

Offering a solution where employees can seek their own help and advice without having to speak to their manager is a step in the right direction. Don’t forget that fewer than one in ten people feel comfortable talking to a manager about any sort of mental health problem. This is where an EAP comes in. However, an EAP is just one solution.

If an employer decides that an EAP is suitable for them – what can be expected?

It is one of the top initiatives offered by employers today and provides the opportunity for staff to receive confidential help and advice from a nationwide network of counsellors at a time to suit them. Services like the one provided by Health Shield via Health Assured, cover issues such as stress, financial worries and bereavement that can all lead to deteriorating health, wellbeing and productivity. It supports employer duty of care and shows they are committed to employees’ health and wellbeing.

Everyone reacts differently to situations at home and in the workplace, therefore everyone has different ways of dealing with their problems. Having solutions in place benefits companies and employees in the short-term and the long-term.

Work related stress and anxiety accounted for two of the top call categories to Health Shield’s EAP service and of those, 84% of them were primarily down to stress. To find out more information about providing a Health Shield EAP or 24/7 Helpline service to employees please visit the products page on our website.

Sources:

https://www.healthinsurancedaily.com/health-insurance/product-area/pmi/article482100.ece

https://www.elliswhittam.com/how-to-identify-workplace-stress

http://www2.cipd.co.uk/pm/peoplemanagement/b/weblog/archive/2017/02/20/less-than-10-per-cent-of-employees-feel-comfortable-disclosing-mental-health-problems.aspx

https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/staff/policy/hr/managersguidetomonitoringstress/

The post Supporting Employees When They Need you Most appeared first on Health Cash Plans from Health Shield.

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Did you know that many individuals are struggling emotionally, leaving employment or taking days off work as a result? Did you know, in the UK 300,000 people with a long-term mental health condition leave employment every year – That’s the same as the whole population of Belfast.

Mental health in the workplace is soaring and it is becoming more crucial than ever to begin prioritising the well-being of your employees.

Although there are 1.5 million people in the UK with a diagnosed long-term mental health condition in work and the rate of employment has increased, there are still major hurdles which must be considered and challenges that must be faced. Individuals with long-term mental health conditions are still far less likely to be in work compared to those without a condition. Research has also shown that those people with mental health conditions lose their jobs each year at double the rate of those without a mental health condition and at a higher rate than those with a physical health condition. There are numerous reasons why poor mental health should be a concern in a company. Some of those concerns include absenteeism, presenteeism, limited ability to progress at work, impacts on a wider workforce and, of course, costs.

The cost to employers is shocking if they don’t take the steps to support their employees. Poor mental health costs employers between £33 and £42 billion per year. The cost of poor mental health to the government is between £24 and £27 billion per year while the cost to the UK economy is between £74 and £99 billion per year. So, rather than spending this much on poor mental health, why not spend a small percentage of the overall cost on prevention?

There are a number of different factors that may contribute to the high levels of work-related stress, anxiety or depression. One of these are the different sectors of work you are in. Those more likely to be at risk also include those with pre-existing mental health conditions, those with home life pressures, such as working mothers and also the new generation of workers who are new to the stressors of work life.

Research has shown that over 17 years of studying working mothers, women’s perception of time pressure increased depending on the number of hours worked and. These negative perceptions of time pressure can lead to an increase in stress, depression and sleep disorders. Overall, it was found that working mothers are a group at risk of time stress, and are vulnerable to the long-term effects of this on their health. Juggling too great a workload along with other responsibilities can also easily lead to burnout. This can include inability to fully concentrate, forgetting simple things, loss of appetite, feeling anxious or depressed, physical pain including chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and headaches, not being productive, wasting time and finding distractions from your normal routine. Each of these things will affect productivity and work standards. Though the study was primarily carried out on women, it should be important to note that working fathers can experience stress and burnout also.

Another group more likely to experience workplace stress is the new generation of workers. Younger employees are more likely to experience stress associated with work compared to older, junior colleagues. A recent study has found that those between the ages of 16 and 35 reported higher stress levels in their working environment compared to those over 36 years of age. All generations surveyed agreed that the biggest stressors of work were lack of staff followed by salary. Younger workers were also more stressed regarding their work-life balance and are more likely to have financial worries.

Mental health and well-being concerns can impact everybody, not discriminate against age, race, occupation or religion which is why every organisation should be taking steps to support their employees.

Here are a few ways that employers can best support their staff:

Creating the conversation around mental health
One of the key ways to support and improve employee mental health is to normalise it. By creating conversation, showing constant support and engaging in just simple things – such as asking your employees how they are doing, or talking openly about whatever issues you might have experienced, makes mental health seem like a normal concern. Talk about the resources, talk about the support available and express that you and the company are genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of every individual. Make it clear that employees who come forward with mental health conditions will not face penalties or consequences, just as they would not if they had diabetes or the flu. Make sure you are able to back up what you say with clear policies about how to support people and how to prevent stress. This might include providing access to counselling or providing digital interventions to prevent these conditions developing and to make it easy for employees to seek help confidentially.

Biophilic design
Biophilic design may sound complex and expensive, but it’s just involving natural elements in your office or workplace, such as plants or having windows that open to let in natural light. Biophilic design has been closely linked to good mental health and wellbeing and has been shown to increase concentration and productivity whilst also resulting in a reduction of in stress at work. According to ‘Oliver Heath Design’, when biophilic design is used in an office environment, productivity levels increase by up to 8% while wellbeing improves by 13%. In terms of educational environments, rates of learning can increase up to 25% if there are natural aspects involved in the design of the learning environment. Biophilic design is not only beneficial for mental health, but also for physical health.

Work/life balance
Having and maintaining a work/life balance is important for both employee wellbeing and productivity. Poor work/life balance can lead to burnout. Concentration will suffer as will productivity. More employees will be taking days off from work because they are emotionally and physically drained. There are a few ways you can improve your employees’ work/life balance, such as setting realistic targets, being flexible, helping them prioritise correctly, encouraging them to relax when they are at home and not expecting work to be done in their own time. You could even invest in a work/life balance training course or seminar. Lead by example, if you are stressed with your workload, it’s more than likely that your employees are too! Don’t work any longer than you need to.

EAPs
If your company doesn’t have an ‘employee assistance programme’ (EAP) you should look into it. An EAP offers services to help your employees deal with personal problems and can help to reduce your health care and disability claims, increase your productivity and morale and lower absenteeism. They can cover numerous things however the most common issues they help with include alcohol or substance abuse, smoking cessation, divorce and marital problems, stress management, childcare, eating disorders, psychological or psychiatric problems, financial and legal issues. This is a great way to let your employees know that there is additional support there.

To find out how you can become an employer of choice, click here
By supporting your employees you are also supporting your organisation.

The post The True Impact of Poor Mental Health at Work appeared first on Health Cash Plans from Health Shield.

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It’s a subject that could affect us all at one point in our lives – one in four of us will experience a mental health issue in any given year[1] – and one that has gathered a great deal of interest in the media and from the Government in recent years. So, why is mental health still a matter which we shy away from? And, why do some employers struggle to tackle the issue head-on when it comes to safeguarding their employees from poor mental health?

When we consider how much time we spend at work, it makes complete sense that our mental health is affected by the stresses and strains of everyday work life, with around 560,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, anxiety or depression, according to the Health and Safety Executive.[2]

As such, it’s important that employers – of all sizes and from all sectors – take the necessary steps to help improve their teams’ mental health and detect any warning signs before they progress.

What is mental health?

Firstly, it’s essential to understand what we mean when we say ‘mental health’. Broadly speaking, it includes everything from stress and anxiety, to depression, bipolar disorder and varying degrees of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

As well as having a huge impact on individual employees, poor mental health has severe repercussions for employers – including increased staff turnover and sickness absence due to mental health issues, burnout and exhaustion, decreased motivation and lost productivity. In fact, poor mental health costs the Government up to £27 billion in paying for benefits, falls in tax revenue and NHS services.[3]

Spotting the signs

While there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all in terms of mental health, there are some signs to look out for:

  • Psychological: Worry, distress, tearfulness, low mood, low motivation, loss of humour, poor concentration, pessimism, lacking in confidence.
  • Physical: Tiredness, headaches, appetite and weight changes, shakiness, sweating, difficulty breathing.
  • Behavioural: Increased smoking/drinking, irritability, anger or aggression, being late, uncharacteristic errors, increased sickness absence, overreaction to problems.

Reducing the stigma

Despite mental health gaining the public’s attention in recent years with high profile figures such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge showing their support via charity Heads Together, collectively we’re still not completely comfortable with the subject. For instance, 45% of employees say they wouldn’t feel confident to share feelings of unmanageable stress or mental health issues with their employer or manager[4].

So, what can you do as an employer? The importance of addressing the issue should not be underestimated and there are certain ways you can help, such as:

  • Don’t make assumptions about how someone’s feeling
  • Ensure trust and confidentiality
  • Listen – and don’t judge
  • Don’t say things like ‘why can’t you just get over it’ or ‘you don’t look depressed’
  • Encourage a healthy work/life balance

If you’d like to find out more about detecting and managing mental health issues among your workforce, download our eBook, Understanding the Importance of Mental Health in the Workplace.

Sources:

[1] Health & Social Information Centre Social Care Statistics

[2] Health and Safety Executive; Work-related Stress, Depression or Anxiety Statistics in Great Britain; 2017

[3] Thriving at Work; Review of mental health and employers; 2017

[4] https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/engagement/employee-outlook-reports

The post Talking Mental Health appeared first on Health Cash Plans from Health Shield.

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Anxiety and depression has now hit a record high amongst workers in the UK with 1 in 6 people currently experiencing some form of mental health problem. This can have a big impact on businesses with more than 12.5 million working days lost in 2016/17 due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety disorders.

Mental health is now the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK so it may be surprising to learn that 3 in 10 employees don’t believe that their employer provides enough mental health support. This support could be the key to reducing absence and should be a core consideration for employers aiming to build an effective employee wellbeing strategy.

The need for mental wellness to be considered is clear but the solutions are not always as easy to identify. Here are 10 things for employers to consider including within their wellbeing strategy:

  1. Build a clear mental health policy – Building a policy with clear support pathways will ensure managers know how to help employees when it’s needed most
  2. Provide management training – Providing mental health training to managers will enable them to support employees in the right way. It will also help managers to identify when a staff member may be in need
  3. Offer external support – Offering external help such as an Employee Assistance Programme can provide expert support to employees who are struggling
  4. Introduce regular one-to-one catch ups – Ensuring regular one-to-one catch ups will provide an opportunity for employees to ask for help when needed. This could be with a line manager, HR or an external party
  5. Raise awareness of mental health issues – Running a mental health campaign could encourage open and honest discussions, improve the company culture and help employees identify when they need support
  6. Introduce self-management technologies – Introducing a mental health app which provides prevention, screening and self-management exercises are clinically proven to help employees to reduce their symptoms
  7. Encourage feedback from staff – Monitoring employees’ mental wellbeing via anonymous forums or company event days can help employers measure the effectiveness of their strategy and gain feedback
  8. Encourage breaks – Encouraging employees to leave their desks at lunchtime and take regular breaks from their screens can help reduce stress. Employers could start a lunchtime walking club, discourage eating at desks or introduce walking meetings
  9. Start a social committee – Starting a social committee will help employees make friends who could provide a valuable support network and will also create opportunities for employees to have fun. Encouraging employees to take part in community activities also creates a sense of purpose
  10. Promote healthy living – Sleeping well, eating well and exercising can all have a positive impact on mental health issues. Offering wellbeing days or sharing resources could encourage employees to make a change which could have a positive impact on their mental health

To find out more about supporting employees with mental health, download our expert e-book, ‘Understanding the importance of mental health in the workplace’.

Sources:

https://www.mind.org.uk/media/43247/Resource_Mentally_Healthy_workplacesFINAL_pdf.pdf

https://www.24seventalent.com/blog/2018/01/03/how-important-physical-and-mental-health-are-to-your-career/

www.madworldforum.com

Health & Safety Executive, Work-related Stress, Depression or Anxiety Statistics in Great Britain 2017

YouGov; February 2017

http://makinithappen.co.uk/Articles/The-Impact-Of-Stress-On-Businesses-And-Organisations.html

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/CR00233_Ebook_dualbranded_interactive.pdf

The post Protecting Employees from Mental Health Adversity appeared first on Health Cash Plans from Health Shield.

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March 2018 is both Prostate Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month with leading charities aiming to raise funds to support research into new treatments and to provide even better support to both sufferers and their families.

It has recently been announced that prostate cancer has a higher incidence rate than breast cancer. It is one of the four most common cancers and the most common cancer in men. The most recent Cancer Research figures indicate that there are approximately 47,000 new cases of prostate cancer and just over 7,000 new cases of ovarian cancer in the UK each year.

Cancer takes over people’s lives and it’s becoming an all too familiar occurrence in recent years.  But, there are ways to detect the early signs of cancer which enables rapid and more effective treatment and increases the chances of recovery.

Receiving a cancer diagnosis turns an employee’s world upside down and this means time away from work to focus on recovery. But even though they are not in the office, your support for them can be invaluable at this time. Check in with them regularly to see how they are feeling, ask how their treatment is going and see if there is anything they may need from you. Your interest and consideration will mean a lot to them, make them feel more valued and may aid their recovery knowing that they don’t have to worry about returning to work.

You will also see an impact on other colleagues. People who work together build up relationships and can often become close friends. Hearing of a colleague’s cancer diagnosis may affect the productivity of other employees too. They may also need you to support them – offer them someone to talk to if they are feeling overwhelmed, allow them time away from their desk if they need a break and provide some encouragement to remain motivated.

More than 112,000 working-age people, those aged between 16 and 64, are diagnosed with cancer every year and it’s hard for everyone involved. You may find it hard as a manager or team leader because of events in your own life or because you lack the confidence to deal with the situation emotionally.

With all cancers, early diagnosis is essential as it allows early intervention and significantly improves survival rates. This is why a regular cancer screening programme can be a big benefit to your company and its employees.

Treatment for many cancers has improved over recent years, but some remain difficult to tackle and it can have an effect on all of your employees as well as the individual affected by the illness.

If your employees have access, remind them about the company’s employee assistance programme, similar to the one provided by Health Shield, and the access they may have to nationwide counsellors.

Cancer has negative connotations, everyone automatically thinks the worse, but it is important that you remind your employees that survival rates are improving and, particularly if the cancer is caught at an early stage, there is a good chance that their colleague will return to work.

You as an employer also need to remember that it is not just an individual’s health that is affected, cancer sufferers will also find that it has an impact on their financial and mental wellbeing. Cancer treatment is daunting, can be aggressive and takes its toll on the body — allowing your employees sufficient time off is important and make sure that they know that nothing will affect their position at work.

When they are ready to make a gradual return to their job, ensure you work closely with them and remind them that there are no expectations. Allow them to work flexibly and show how you will make adjustments to ease the process, perhaps offering a phased return. In a similar way, work could be a respite for them — a sense of normality can be a good aid to recovery — and you and your employees can help them with that.

One additional support you can offer is that you can also raise awareness of cancer around the office, encourage fundraising and educate employees in how to deal with someone they know receiving a diagnosis and how to support family and friends.

Some Health Shield members may have access to our Cancer Screening benefit as part of their Health Cash Plan. Our Cancer Screening Service also provides home test kits that can detect the early stages of some of the most common cancers, including prostate and ovarian cancers, which reduces the length of time required for treatment and possibly the need for surgery. Alternatively, if you struggle to get a GP appointment you may also have access to Health Shield’s Virtual GP Service.  If covered, both services can be found via mywellness within our Members’ Area.

Sources:

https://www.macmillan.org.uk

Cancer Research UK, 2018 (citation Cancer Research UK Incidence, 2015)

www.cancerresearchuk.org

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42890405

The post Minimise the effects of a cancer diagnosis on your workforce appeared first on Health Cash Plans from Health Shield.

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Smoking is an addiction that affects nine million people in the UK, with 2.9 million using e-cigarettes.  Many people at this time of year have already given up on their new year’s resolutions — are you one of them?

Attitudes towards cigarettes have changed over time, people now know the detrimental effects on the body and this is prompting people to want to quit. Whilst e-cigarettes are growing in popularity people are still not fully aware of the health effects of these and only 50% of people believe they are an effective way to quit smoking.

More than four in ten smokers have the intention of quitting at some point in the future. Here’s our top 10 reasons why you should make it your priority for this year’s National No Smoking Day on 14 March:

  1. Your immune system will improve. We often hear about the long-term and more high-profile health risks of smoking, but are you aware of the smaller issues? Something as simple getting a cold or the flu? Smoking makes you more susceptible to seasonal problems as cigarette smoke effects the body’s mechanism for fighting infection.
  2. Cut your health risks. Just 20 minutes after quitting your body starts recovering and returning to normal. Once you have been smoke-free for 10 years, you will have halved your risk of lung cancer and reduced the chances of kidney or pancreatic cancer too.
  3. Your mental health will stabilise. Whether you realise it or not, by smoking you are affecting your mental health. Whether you have a family history of Alzheimer’s or dementia or not, the constant supply of nicotine from cigarettes harms the brain and can cause these diseases to progress faster than in those who do not smoke. Many smokers also experience increased symptoms of depression and ADHD, therefore getting the right help to stop is important.
  4. Cut your stress levels. Many people are quick to confuse nicotine withdrawal with everyday stressors. The symptoms feel exactly the same, particularly to that of anxiety. In fact, scientists show that people’s stress levels are lower after they have quit smoking despite the fact that many people think that it helps them to cope.
  5. You’re saving your family’s lives. Passive smoking, or second hand smoking, is dangerous. It not only gives you respiratory problems, but also aggravates asthma in children. It is estimated that there are more than 50,000 deaths a year from passive smoking.
  6. You’ll smell much more pleasant. Many smokers are self-conscious of the impact of smoking on their hygiene, and cigarette smoke is commonly thought to be an unpleasant smell by non-smokers. It’s not just your breath, it’s your hair, your clothes and even your home!
  7. You’ll look younger! Smoking reduces the amount of collagen your body produces and it is collagen that keeps your skin firm and looking youthful. If you’re a smoker, you are speeding up the aging process and are much more likely to get leathery skin and deep wrinkles. Nicotine reduces the blood flow to your skin and this prevents oxygen and other nutrients like vitamin A from getting to the outer layers.
  8. You’ll save up to £3,000 per year! Think of the holiday that’ll buy you! It’s surprising how expensive smoking actually is, on average people who quit end up saving around £250 per month.
  9. Your appearance will change. Many long-term smokers find they get stained skin from holding a cigarette. Tobacco smoke contains toxins that stains skin, particularly the hands and even your teeth.
  10. Your fitness levels will improve. Ever wanted to do a local 5k charity race? Or a triathlon? Once you quit smoking you’ll see improvements in your ability to exercise, maybe you can compete in the races you’ve always wanted to do. Many smokers suffer just climbing stairs thanks to blockages in the lungs and heart, but inside just 9 months of stopping smoking you will already find it easier to breathe during exercise.

To get some one-to-one assistance and help on your quitting journey please visit your local NHS stop smoking service — you are 4 times more likely to quit with their support.

You can also minimise the effects of smoking on your body with a Health Cash Plan. Although Health Shield do not offer direct money back for smoking cessation aids — regular dental check-ups and hygienist visits may reduce the discolouration on your teeth and 24/7 helplines will assist with depression and anxiety issues. You may also find via PERKS that you can get a discounted gym membership to assist your respiratory system, and the health and wellbeing benefit is an added treat to reward yourself with nice treatments such as massages.

Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/cost-calculator

Mintel, Toxicity setback for ‘heat-not-burn’ tobacco is a win for E-cigarettes; Dec 2017

Mintel, Smoking Cessation and E-cigarettes; Jan 2017

https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/features/is-smoking-dragging-you-down#1

https://quitsmokingtimeline.com/top-10-reasons-to-quit-smoking/

https://www.top10homeremedies.com/news-facts/10-reasons-why-you-should-quit-smoking-right-now.html

https://www.healthinsurancedaily.com/health-insurance/product-area/life-critical-illness/article484667.ece

https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/smoking/Pages/Betterlives.aspx

The post Why Quitting Smoking Is Good For You appeared first on Health Cash Plans from Health Shield.

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Did you know that 50% of people in the UK struggle to sleep and more than 74% have less than seven hours a night? Health Shield want to look at how getting enough sleep will benefit your employees in the workplace.

Everyone knows that we are subject to work-place stress these days, but now scientists are finding evidence that how our bodies respond to stress is tied in with our sleeping patterns.

However, stress and a lack of sleep are a Catch-22 situation, so dealing with them in the right way is important. Not getting enough sleep can exacerbate any stress employees are experiencing, and being under stress can cause difficulty sleeping. The key for your employees is to put themselves in a routine that will allow them to relax at home and in turn provide the downtime their body and mind needs to enable them to better handle stressors. Our country is becoming so sleep-focused it’s even now becoming common to wear pyjamas in public!

Encourage your employees to find activities that help them relax and wind down before they begin a bedtime routine. By doing this you will see the differences in their production levels at work.

Starting a night-time routine will have benefits in their daily lives and potentially see them climb career ladders and boost their confidence, which can only have positive effects on your team and business.

Heading to bed with “To Do” lists going around your mind and thinking over the day’s thoughts and worries is a recipe for disaster where sleep is concerned. Broken sleep can be as bad as not sleeping at all, and commonly it can be the thoughts going around in your head or just constantly waking up to check the time that may be the problem. It’s hard to relax and actually enjoy a long stint of sleep when you’re worried about how much sleep you are getting. Just a third of British people say that they are able to fall asleep easily and stay asleep.

Encourage some office activities to help your employees feel more relaxed at home and, in turn, in the office. Perhaps start a book club — reading is a calming activity — or maybe head to a yoga class after work? It might be worth creating a challenge with wearable technology — keeping them fit but also allowing them to monitor their sleeping patterns.

Technology plays havoc with people’s home life. Not only can they find it a struggle to switch off from work, but they also lose the simple art of conversation and having an evening chat with a loved one in the evening is a relaxing activity in itself.

How can sleep help your employees’ productivity?

Falling asleep during meetings, yawning around the office, a lack of sleep has a negative effect on work quality and productivity. It’s generally accepted that adults should have at least seven hours sleep a night, but 4 in 10 people are actually failing to achieve this.

Going without sleep for one night causes the same changes in the brain as a knock to the head — emphasising how important it really is. Without sleep, the ability to make decisions, focus on tasks and alertness levels are all affected. Studies find that six hours sleep a night for more than two weeks can have a positive effect on an employee’s cognitive performance and more sleep means more career progression.

You can improve your employees’ productivity and boost their chances of success by encouraging them to:

  • Get into a routine of sleeping for seven to nine hours each night
  • Turn off technology and screens before bed
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening — these stimulants increase how many times they wake up during the night
  • Exercise regularly – they’ll feel great and it’ll help them sleep (just try not to do it before bed!)

Sources:

http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/social-and-lifestyle/the-wide-awake-club-half-of-brits-struggle-to-sleep

https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/jul/25/more-sleep-good-career-focus

https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/sleep-affect-productivity/

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/how-sleep-helps-us-deal-with-stress

https://www.howsleepworks.com/sleep-hygiene-reduce-stress-level

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/good-nights-sleep-helps-job-performance/page/0/1

http://www.hult.edu/news/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-work-and-performance/

https://sleep.org/articles/sleep-and-productivity-at-work/

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Did you know that 50% of people in the UK struggle to sleep and more than 74% have less than seven hours a night? Health Shield want to look at how getting enough sleep will benefit your employees in the workplace.

Everyone knows that we are subject to work-place stress these days, but now scientists are finding evidence that how our bodies respond to stress is tied in with our sleeping patterns.

However, stress and a lack of sleep are a Catch-22 situation, so dealing with them in the right way is important. Not getting enough sleep can exacerbate any stress employees are experiencing, and being under stress can cause difficulty sleeping. The key for your employees is to put themselves in a routine that will allow them to relax at home and in turn provide the downtime their body and mind needs to enable them to better handle stressors. Our country is becoming so sleep-focused it’s even now becoming common to wear pyjamas in public!

Encourage your employees to find activities that help them relax and wind down before they begin a bedtime routine. By doing this you will see the differences in their production levels at work.

Starting a night-time routine will have benefits in their daily lives and potentially see them climb career ladders and boost their confidence, which can only have positive effects on your team and business.

Heading to bed with “To Do” lists going around your mind and thinking over the day’s thoughts and worries is a recipe for disaster where sleep is concerned. Broken sleep can be as bad as not sleeping at all, and commonly it can be the thoughts going around in your head or just constantly waking up to check the time that may be the problem. It’s hard to relax and actually enjoy a long stint of sleep when you’re worried about how much sleep you are getting. Just a third of British people say that they are able to fall asleep easily and stay asleep.

Encourage some office activities to help your employees feel more relaxed at home and, in turn, in the office. Perhaps start a book club — reading is a calming activity — or maybe head to a yoga class after work? It might be worth creating a challenge with wearable technology — keeping them fit but also allowing them to monitor their sleeping patterns.

Technology plays havoc with people’s home life. Not only can they find it a struggle to switch off from work, but they also lose the simple art of conversation and having an evening chat with a loved one in the evening is a relaxing activity in itself.

How can sleep help your employees’ productivity?

Falling asleep during meetings, yawning around the office, a lack of sleep has a negative effect on work quality and productivity. It’s generally accepted that adults should have at least seven hours sleep a night, but 4 in 10 people are actually failing to achieve this.

Going without sleep for one night causes the same changes in the brain as a knock to the head — emphasising how important it really is. Without sleep, the ability to make decisions, focus on tasks and alertness levels are all affected. Studies find that six hours sleep a night for more than two weeks can have a positive effect on an employee’s cognitive performance and more sleep means more career progression.

You can improve your employees’ productivity and boost their chances of success by encouraging them to:

  • Get into a routine of sleeping for seven to nine hours each night
  • Turn off technology and screens before bed
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening — these stimulants increase how many times they wake up during the night
  • Exercise regularly – they’ll feel great and it’ll help them sleep (just try not to do it before bed!)

Sources:

http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/social-and-lifestyle/the-wide-awake-club-half-of-brits-struggle-to-sleep

https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/jul/25/more-sleep-good-career-focus

https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/sleep-affect-productivity/

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/how-sleep-helps-us-deal-with-stress

https://www.howsleepworks.com/sleep-hygiene-reduce-stress-level

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/good-nights-sleep-helps-job-performance/page/0/1

http://www.hult.edu/news/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-work-and-performance/

https://sleep.org/articles/sleep-and-productivity-at-work/

The post Dreaming A Way to Success appeared first on Health Cash Plans from Health Shield.

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Absenteeism is a big subject. It covers such a wide area of the employee spectrum that approaching it as an employer is difficult. Knowing where the right starting block is for you in looking for help to improve your employee’s health and wellbeing can be challenging. Health Shield offers you a range of solutions.

Although nearly 9 in 10 organisations recognise that absence negatively affects their business, 30% of respondents do not measure their level of sickness absence.

It costs your business money, there is no disputing that. Our research tells us it’s more than £12.8 billion per annum in wages alone, and many more HR departments are now being tasked with engaging with employees and keeping their absence rates as low as possible. However, it’s not all down to you – that’s one thing you will need to accept; as a business you can’t control everything that impacts your employees’ health and wellbeing. What you can do is guide them in a positive direction with opportunities. It’s starting to catch on too – 4 in 10 people have looked for a product that supports them with their wellbeing within the last 12 months.

Wellness strategies are a great place to start. This is where you can influence your employees to have a healthier lifestyle. A wellness strategy is highly linked with productivity. This can extend to mindfulness sessions and even simple workplace health tests. Having something in place before you try experimenting with different methods of wellness saves your company money in the long run.

Having an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place is an ideal way to engage employees with talking about their health and managing the issues they face. Reasons for employee absence and productivity range between everything from personal problems, family, relationship and work related issues. An EAP offers them a service to get confidential advice on these issues and assist them with coping and even eradicating the problem. After all, some feel pressured to return to work too soon so helping them in the right way might relieve this pressure.

As an employer it is your responsibility to act on any problems that occur as a result of work whether that’s related to day to day tasks, physical injuries, work-life balance, stress, work environment or any consequences of these issues. Health Shield offer a bespoke service to identify your employee’s needs. Via Health Shield’s Occupational Health Programme you get access to a range of health checks and services to help employers comply with health and safety legislation by providing a safe and healthy working environment. This product will help you fulfil your duty of care and have a positive impact on your absence levels.

This health programme is complimented by an Occupational Health Management Referral Service should an employee need further support. The tests provided by these programmes can review their risk of musculoskeletal problems, the most common reason for staff absence. By having your employee workplace assessed you can help prevent any musculoskeletal problems arising.

However, it’s not all about helping your employees remain in work, what if they are already off and need support in returning to work? It can be a difficult time, so ensure you are creating a stress free, calm environment where they feel comfortable. You’ll assist your employees returning to work, those struggling to and those who just need to know they have the option to step back. You might want to provide ‘free time areas’ where they can spend 5 minutes away from their desks, or take part in mindfulness sessions.

You will need to learn what your company wants to provide, and what means the most to your employees – you’ll need their buy in to make it work and see the effects on your absenteeism rates. Keep them motivated and engaged and see results.

Absenteeism is largely dependent on how you work with your employees, and the relationship you build with them. And whilst it carries a heavy cost if it goes against you, when you work with it can be highly beneficial.

Sources:

YouGov; February 2017

https://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/issues/june-online-2017/54-put-pressure-return-work-fully-recovered-illness-injury/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241989

https://thethrivingsmallbusiness.com/4-ways-to-reduce-employee-absenteeism/

http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2015/07/09/how-to-reduce-employee-absenteeism/

Health Shield, Exploring Wellbeing Needs in the Workplace; 2017

MIND Workplace Wellbeing Index

Employee Benefits Healthcare Research in association with Health Shield; September 2017

Health Shield Insights, Employee Wellbeing Tools Research, Conducted by REBA, 2017

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