Most employers are woefully ignorant about the need to improve workplace health, either dismissing it as too expensive or a waste of time.
Research for the Investors in People (IIP) organisation found employers generally failed to recognise the needs of employees when it came to creating a healthy workplace, with almost a third equating ‘healthy working’ with simply eating healthily at work.
A quarter of just under 900 people questioned by IIP said their organisation did not take action because managers simply did not know how best to help, with a further 17% saying it would be too expensive.
Nearly a third (30%) of employees said that employers thought healthy working was a wasted investment, a waste of time, nothing to do with them or simply did not mean anything.
Yet a similar percentage said they were either themselves suffering from or knew someone who was suffering from work-related stress.
Simon Jones, acting chief executive at IIP UK, said: “Despite recognition of the benefits that a healthy workplace can deliver, some employers simply don’t seem to understand that it is about more than just gym membership and fresh fruit.”
Those in charge of businesses are also woefully bad at setting a good example to their workers, with entrepreneurs clocking up more than 47 hours every week at work, according to a survey of small business managers by Bank of Scotland Business Banking.
Small businesses in Yorkshire and Humberside led the long hours table, reporting an average working week of almost 50 hours, compared with entrepreneurs in Wales who clocked up 45 hours a week.
A third of those polled admitted working such long hours was taking a toll on their health, with managers reporting that stress was damaging their home life, their relationships with friends and family and their overall quality of life.