Does your organisation provide access to complementary therapies for employees? Companies across the UK are steadily beginning to offer their workers complementary therapies in a bid to improve employee health and wellbeing - and decrease the number of days lost to sickness related absence.
We talked to Rachael Stuckey of WorkWell Therapy to find out more about this growing trend - and discuss what the future might look like for complementary therapies at work.
The benefits of promoting wellbeing at work
Wellbeing at work, and the role of complementary therapies, has been in the minds of researchers for some time now. With an estimated 49% of the adult population suffering lower back pain, and many of today's workers feeling the adverse effects of spending long periods sitting at computers, and doing repetitive actions such as using a mouse, we are becoming increasingly aware of staying well at work.
Rachael Stuckey told us, "Many employers are currently looking for ways to increase their performance and retain employees. This is leading to more structured and thought out wellbeing programmes being put into place."
These programmes include:
Practical education on topics such as back care, exercise and nutrition, as well as mindfulness programmes and seminars. Treatments, for example onsite massage, yoga, counselling and coaching. Training and assessment including DSE, mental health first aid training and health assessments.
A 2008 report by Pricewaterhousecoopers highlighted the financial benefits of promoting wellbeing at work, referencing a study in which workers at a call centre received discounted physiotherapy treatments - resulting in a benefit-cost ratio of 34:1 over six months.
The CIPD (the professional body for HR) reported in May 2018 that over 8% of employee absence is attributed to musculoskeletal injuries and conditions - and so far only 2% of companies routinely provide staff with access to therapies such as reflexology and massage.
"Going forward I envisage that employers will eventually be legally required to actively promote employee health as part of Health and Safety regulations."
Rachel Stuckey, WorkWell Therapy
Could complementary therapies become a legal requirement for health and safety?
"Currently wellbeing in the workplace sits between HR and Health and Safety, as it's not a legal requirement," Rachael explains, "but it does impact on human performance and is increasingly touching on elements that improve the health and safety of employees.
"Going forward I envisage that employers will eventually be legally required to actively promote employee health as part of Health and Safety regulations.This is due to growing research suggesting that, for example, sitting for large parts of the day negatively impacts on long term health. Employers may be asked to carry some of the cost for managing these risks."
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