Small businesses have been advised to address the physical environment of their buildings as part of a campaign to improve workplace wellbeing.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) launched the drive in response to a rise in physical and mental health problems among staff, business owners and the self-employed. The number of small businesses seeking mental health advice has doubled in the last five years, while the annual cost of sickness absence in the UK has reportedly reached £29 billion.
Wellbeing in Small Business: How You Can Help is a new guide produced for the campaign and it promotes steps such as creating flexible working opportunities so employees can find the right balance between work and home life. It also notes the importance of exercise and getting enough sleep, as well as the potential benefits of cycling to work schemes.
And with the built environment having a significant impact on how we feel, lighting, greenery and indoor air quality are all important factors.
“Improving the environment you work in can be one of the easiest things to do, but it could also make the biggest difference,” the guide states. “Good air quality can lead to enhanced wellbeing and health. Poor workplace air quality can lead to health problems such as headaches, fatigue, and a lack of concentration.”
Mike Cherry, national chairman of the FSB, emphasised the importance of finding what works best for a particular business and its staff. He said there is a “clear business case” for improving wellbeing because it helps increases productivity, improve performance and reduce absenteeism.
“However, the benefits are felt just as much in our health as individuals, but also by our communities and the wider economy,” he added.
With over 5.5 million small businesses operating in the UK, and 60% of the private sector workforce employed by these companies, even marginal improvements could make a big difference. To find out how you can respond to the business case for better air quality, click below to contact a 361 Degrees consultant.