Laura Wood continues our compelling series that offers useful tips on how providers can improve their workplace for their work colleagues.
Healthy workplaces support staff to lead healthy lifestyles so they can maintain both physical and mental wellbeing.
In earlier blogs, we have spoken about flexible working which helps staff get a better work life balance. However, we must ensure staff are supported in the workplace in order that they can provide the best possible care and support to our service users.
So, what can be done to create a healthy workplace? Initiatives include:
Ensuing all staff take their breaks
Breaks are not a luxury but an important means of preventing fatigue-related incidents. A missed break is a safety issue. Ensure staff are able to take their rest breaks and where staff sit at a desk or laptop for long periods, explicitly encourage regular breaks from the computer.
Encouraging healthy eating
Eating a balanced diet is important for the health and social care workforce, especially for those who work shifts. Ensure staff have easy access to healthy eating options at work. Perhaps consider a machine that offers healthy snacks. Many employers offer meals at work either free or at a low cost which are healthy and nutritious.
Ensuring staff drink enough
Dehydration leads to reduced cognition, which can impact on decision making. Dehydration in care staff is a safety issue. Help staff to stay hydrated during a shift by ensuring water stations are available or bottles of water are available to staff.
Consider offering free or subsidised gym membership.
A healthier lifestyle
Consider fun competitions that support healthy behaviour such as losing weight or reducing/eliminating alcohol, or cigarette consumption can be welcomed ways to promote a healthy start to the New Year.
Offer training on topics such as nutrition, stress management, mental health and general wellbeing. In a nursing home, perhaps a nurse can do this or consider a staff health champion with additional training.
While physical activity is not a ‘quick fix’ for a healthy lifestyle, living an active life has a number of additional health benefits and must be taken into consideration in the workplace. Encourage healthy commutes by providing showering and changing facilities, bike storage or ‘cycle to work’ schemes.
Work tools actually… work
Make sure that workstations are comfortable and well set up. All staff who work at a computer must have a Display Screen risk assessment carried out.
Ensure all staff are up to date with their training such as safer people handling and medication to ensure they can deliver safe and effective care and support.
Staff who work from home
Lead a positive work from home campaign. Acknowledge the additional challenges that may come from new working environments, both in terms of social, physical and mental health. Provide a safe and accessible forum for employees to communicate their needs and concerns about changes in their work or workplace. Ensure employees feel connected and supported in remote working environments.
Encourage informal team check-ins and confidential mental health checks. Where possible, actively encourage employees to work flexibly and take regular screen breaks. Run virtual ergonomic checks on employee workstations to help them use their at-home work set up safely. Where possible, provide suitable ergonomic equipment.