Are companies responsible for their employees’ wellbeing?

As fourteen of our employees get ready to tackle the Pronto Paints Wellbeing Challenge on the 21st of October, we look at how responsible companies should be for their employees’ wellbeing.

Working long hours, hitting targets and dealing with difficult clients and colleagues can be extremely stressful. Furthermore, as we spend on average a third of our life at work, working in an unfriendly environment which enforces these issues can be detrimental to our wellbeing, and in the long run can lead to work-related anxiety and depression.

In fact, according to the app Mappiness work is the second reason people are unhappy, after ill health.

Although there has been a lot of conversation around mental health in the UK over the last few years, discussing mental health in the workplace still holds a stigma. For example, 92% of people who suffer from bad mental health feel that admitting it at work would negatively affect their career.

This may be down to the fact that organisations are doing little to react to this problem. Only 8% of companies in the UK proactively do regular effort to look after their employee wellbeing. Considering the number of people suffering from mental health conditions at work has risen from a quarter to a third of people over the last 5 years, this is not a stat to be taken lightly.

Out of this 8% of companies, many are promoting wellbeing by providing employee perks such as gym memberships and free fruit. The idea being that staying healthy helps keep employees’ spirits up, and therefore initiatives to encourage a healthier lifestyle should contribute to staff feeling good mentally and physically.

Although in theory this is great, shouldn’t protecting your employees’ wellbeing be more than offering them an apple? Not to mention that providing these types of perks is not always viable for small and medium-sized companies.

However, more importantly, we believe these types of initiates should also be coupled with creating a safe environment where employees feel happy and can easily talk about their problems to managers.

This of course doesn’t happen overnight. It is down to management to promote this, and to see how best to create this environment based on their employees and their business.

Focusing on employee wellbeing and happiness also makes business sense, as happy employees tend to be more engaged in the business and more productive. They are enthusiastic about getting their work done properly. In contrast, unhappy employees can disrupt the workforce and have detrimental effects on the overall employee morale.

Furthermore, as 77% of employees experience symptoms of poor mental health in their lives creating a workplace that helps employees improve their mental health could mean avoiding future issues such as early retirements or hefty insurance claims. In short, creating a workplace that encourages staff wellbeing will be worth it in the long run.

So, are companies responsible for their employees’ wellbeing? Ultimately, it’s up to the individuals how they wish to live their life. Exercising and eating healthy is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, considering staff spend a third of their life at work and work tends to be a stressful environment that can lead to longer term issues, it is the management team’s responsibility to create a healthy environment where staff can feel comfortable, happy and are able to discuss any issues they might have. The benefits will be reaped over time by both the employees and the business.

To promote corporate wellbeing, this year we have sponsored the Chesterfield Wellbeing Challenge – The Pronto Paints Wellbeing Challenge – taking place on the 21st October 2018 . This is a corporate group challenge whereby companies need to put forward at least 6 employees to run per team. To complete the challenge each team must have 2 people in each of the following races: Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon, 5 Mile Challenge and the Fun Run.

This year Pronto Paints have put forward two Pronto Paints teams to participate in the challenge. So far 4 of us are running the full half marathon, 7 of us doing the 5 miles and 3 in the fun run. We also have 5 additional family members joining the Pronto Paints teams.

If you would like your company to get involved take a look at the details here.