Employers can play a greater role in preventing Britain’s massive stress at work problem, new TUC advice suggests.
The call comes in the trade union’s new advice on workplace well-being.
Its Work and Well-Being guidelines say that bosses can play their part by showing more respect to staff; getting unions more involved; creating a different kind of work environment via the encouragement of improved working relationships and preventing illnesses and injuries.
Work-related stress takes huge toll
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, says such actions are in the employers’ own interest since they could reduce the number of employees who suffer work-related stress.
This figure currently stands at 400,000 workers every year. Much of this is due to too much work or challenging shift patterns, says the TUC.
The advice also offers tips on how companies can deal with obesity, stress, smoking and other issues which may impact on staff well-being.
Ms O’Grady says better work conditions can result in increased productivity as employees feel happier, and more healthy and motivated.
The guidelines detail just how key a healthy office or factory is and encourage union officials to urge bosses to offer staff well-being programmes.
These can involve backing exercise classes or gym memberships, advocating healthy diets and encouraging employees to walk or cycle to work.
Smoking link to unhealthy offices
The TUC says that increased smoking is often associated with working environments that are not healthy. The same can be said of increased alcohol consumption, diabetes and obesity.
The TUC also wants to see more businesses backing official schemes which aim to better employees’ well-being and health.
These include ones operated by Scottish Healthy Working Lives, Public Health Wales and Public Health England.
Ms O’Grady believes the unions have a key part to play in keeping staff safe in the workplace.
But she fears that the Trade Union Bill’s impact will make successful union-boss co-operation more challenging by reducing the power of workers’ rights groups.
Employers must view tackling unsafe conditions, stress, too many hours and other such problems as key to any well-being programme.
Date Published: December 31, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown