Thursday, January 31, 2013

Data and workplace wellbeing

There's a very interesting article over at Personnel Today that I'd like to direct your attention to today. the post is from 2012 (but the topic is just as relevant in 2013...)

Entitled Using Data To Direct Employee Wellbeing Initiatives, the article centres on essentially what is the return on investment for companies who spend money on  staff health and wellbeing. It makes perfect sense, really - if the oft quoted line about happy and healthy staff being true, then it's going to show up in various data from staff satisfaction studies to productivity rates and sickness absence levels. Of course, if there was a case they don't it's not necessarily the case that the line about happy and healthy staff being inaccurate - it could well be that the measures brought about and invested in to improve it were in some way ineffective.

In fact, the link - according to Personnel Today's report - has been proven in various studies, and the gains in productivity 'far outweigh' the investment. of course, for bigger businesses the challenge is how to implement and manage the measuring of all this data. the article goes into thorough detail about all this, taking in things like gathering, tracking and aggregating the data.

When you think about health and wellbeing and its relation to productivity, it all seems so simple and common sense. But the measuring of it might be that little bit more complex. However, as we move into an age of informatics, it could well be that more and more organisations will become very quickly convinced that health, wellbeing and employee engagement is the direction in which to travel to stay competitive. And if it also has an effect on the bottom line, the case becomes one that few will want to refuse.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The dental life

In many ways, our dental record - if we look back on it - is a bit like going back through time.

Think back to the time that you went for your first dental appointment as a child, and you may remember the dentist's surgery - hopefully - as an interesting new place to be. Then on through the school years - braces for some, cavities for others. Plaque disclosing tablets to show us just how important it is to brush the teeth. Bubblegum-flavoured fluoride toothpaste, and so on.

Then when you become an adult the whole dental thing is much less of a novelty and fades slightly from our consciousness. Brushing the teeth and going for the dental checkup are done almost on autopilot. It's only when something unexpected happens that we're jolted back into remembering just how important a dental surgery visit can be. Whether it's root canal treatment, difficulty with a wisdom tooth, or getting a cap replaced - a job well done (and without too much discomfort in the chair) is a reminder of how valuable the dentist's work is.

Of course, it comes at a price - a bit of toothache leading to a checkup can in many cases then lead on to hundreds of pounds worth of work needing done. And often it's work that - however necessary, becomes an unforeseen and immediate expense. Getting cover from a dental insurance UK provider is a good way of helping make sure that unexpected dental bills won't be a problem.

And if you've not been to the dentist in a while, you might be surprised at just how reassuringly modern and unthreatening they look these days!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Healthy January!

January has pretty much become - albeit unofficially - national health month. Maybe it's all all that rich food I ate during the festive period - three different types of Christmas cake, full Christmas dinners at various venues, and a few too many chocolates. yes, that is likely to be what it is.

Anyway, come January and it's not even a New Year's resolution type thing. I just don't want to eat anything other than healthy stir fries, a nice bit of fish, some bean stews - and even, believe it or not, some nice cold salads.

Sadly my proposed - and perhaps overly ambitious - exercise routine didn't quite happen. Or rather it did, but is currently on something of a hiatus.

If you're in the same boat - or similar, at least, then this clip is handy as it's fro exercise beginners and a reminder of just how accessible exercise can be - not to mention very good for us too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Small business and sickness absence

Every year a lot of days are lost to sickness absence – in fact the figure for 2011 was quoted as an incredible 131 million. Interestingly, though, this figure does seem to be falling slightly as the years pass. This is possibly down to improved treatments for certain illnesses as well as better diagnostic methods becoming available over time.
However, long term sickness remains a problem within UK business and in 20111 the government called for an independent review into sickness absence. One of the main things that the report found was that in many cases, there were instances of people who were off work with stress or manageable musculoskeletal  problems such as a sore back , who became signed off work more or less indefinitely. Then there were cases of people who fell out of employment due to long term sickness and became benefits claimants.
The report identified instances where people could in fact have been assisted in returning to work for instance by altering the nature of the tasks carried out. The government has now proposed an independent advisory service that will help assess individual cases where people are on sick leave for over four months and also help people on long term sick leave find a role that is appropriate to the tasks they’d be able to carry out
The new independent advisory service could – along with the health cover that many employers purchase from providers such as AXAPPP business health insurance, become an important factor in workplace wellbeing and the minimising of sickness absence.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Winter of novovirus 2012/13

You can hardly log in to facebook or read a newspaper without hearing some quite terrible stories about the novovirus bug that's going around right now.

Over the festive season there were stories of otherwise healthy and active families being laid low in their entirety by this widespread microbial nasty.

Known in the UK as the Winter Vomiting bug, it's a fairly widely recognised name, but anyone following the news this year - or even just overhearing conversations about it - is bound to be wondering why it's taken such a hold this year.

The answer - according to this BBC report, is down to it being a new strain of the bug that's lasted longer into the Antipodean summer than usual. So now you know ...