There is by now considerable evidence that health and wellness is closely linked to engagement and productivity in the workplace. In 2010, Hay management consultants reported that 51% of UK workers described themselves as disengaged. This is surprising since sickness levels are now at their lowest level since records began in 1987. However, workplace health experts including Professor Cary Cooper, believe this reduction is not due to a decline in illness or ‘sickies’ but rather an increase in ‘presenteeism’ by those fearful of losing their jobs in the current economic climate. They forecast that both psychological and physical wellbeing may well be at risk as a result of our ‘binge’ working culture.
The ability to provide resources aimed at promoting healthy behaviour is still largely seen as a luxury rather than a necessity by small and medium-sized companies. However, a new health and wellness provider, Precious Health Ltd, is convinced that simple health checks may be a cost-effective way to help employees take responsibility for their own wellbeing.
The c0-founders, Celia Butt and Sarah Kearns, both hold degrees in nutritional medicine which is well complemented by their backgrounds in the healthcare and food industries. Celia comments, “We believe one of our key assets is the ability to put people at ease and listen to their health concerns. During our 15 minute health check consultations we are able to not only convey important information but also offer helpful and practical solutions that are relevant to that individual”.
Adds Sarah, “Measuring blood pressure, BMI and visceral fat can be just the trigger that is required to kick start change. We find most people are aware of what they need to do to eat healthily and reduce stress but just need the support we can provide to get themselves started”.
Following the Dame Carol Black report on the Health and Wellbeing of the UK Workforce a number of self-help toolkits are now available. However providing in-house support for health promotion programmes is not always a feasible option and the expertise may not be available. As Precious Health have discovered, the blanket transference of knowledge without regard for individual circumstances is not always the most effective strategy for motivating change.