NICE Guidelines Aim to Promote Happier and Healthier Work Environments
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released guidelines intended to help bosses improve conditions in the workplace. The document calls for employers and managers to address poor work environments for the sake of their employees, as well as business productivity.
It is estimated that in 2012-13, 27 million working days were lost to illness, including stress and back pain. Statistics also indicate that work-related illnesses cost society around £13billion each year. NICE says that improved work environments would significantly reduce these figures, benefitting both employers and their staff.
The new guidance on workplace policy and management provides advice on how to develop the culture of an organisation to create a positive work environment. It suggests that bosses should add flexibility to rotas where possible and allow their workers opportunities to be more creative, while proactively challenging behaviour and actions that may adversely affect employee health and wellbeing. NICE stresses that it is important for the work-life balance to be respected.
“Employers and managers need to recognise the value and benefits of a healthy workplace and what a difference it can make, not only to their employees, but to the productivity of their business,” says Professor Gillian Leng, NICE’s chief executive. “Each year, more than a million working people in the UK experience a work-related illness. It is not only the physical hazards of work – long, irregular hours, lack of activity or repetitive injuries – that damage people’s health. Other factors, such as a lack of control over work, conflicts and discriminatory practices can also have an effect.”
The creators of these new guidelines are confident that they have the potential to make a big impact on the happiness and health of employees, as well as overall workplace efficiency. They say that it should not be difficult to put the new guidelines in place, and that doing so will benefit everyone involved.
The guidelines have been met with a positive response so far. Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, says: “Health-promoting workplaces are obviously good for millions of employees and ultimately for taxpayers too, so the time is right for all employees – including the NHS – to raise our game.”