The Workplace Wellbeing group is led by the Public Health Directorate, working alongside colleagues from public, private, and third party sectors.
Together we produced the Workplace Wellbeing Toolkit, which is a helpful and practical guide to support local organisations in implementing Wellbeing initiatives at their workplace. We hope to see the Workplace Wellbeing culture embedded within organisations to make for a more productive and prosperous Island. The toolkit outlines key areas to focus on as part of a workplace health programme including:
Alcohol and drug use: Many individuals and families face a host of difficulties closely associated with problem drinking and drug use and these problems quite often spill over into the workplace. This can range from hangovers and a loss of productivity, to poor decision making that may lead to accidents and injury. By encouraging and supporting treatment, employers can dramatically assist in reducing the negative impact of alcoholism and addiction in the workplace,
while reducing their costs.
Climate change: The impacts of climate change on human wellbeing are increasingly being felt. Climate change, like other human-induced large-scale environmental changes, poses risks to ecosystems, their life-support functions and, therefore, human health. Sustainability is essentially about maintaining Earth's ecological and other biophysical life-support systems. If these systems decline, human population wellbeing and health will be jeopardised. Actively making a positive difference to your business's or department's sustainability by changing some of your workplace practices around low energy use, single use plastics, food waste, healthy eating and the way in which you commute can help make a huge difference to your own mental wellbeing as well as the Island's natural environment.
Domestic abuse: The negative effect domestic abuse can have on an individual will impact their ability to work well. It may well affect the employees' health - physically and mentally and in some cases financially. Being a workplace which allows open discussion to take place with trusted management or colleagues (ideally trained in domestic abuse) is important.
Financial wellbeing: The impact of poor financial wellbeing can negatively affect employee engagement and productivity; this has a potential knock-on effect on company performance. A report by Barclays in 2014 found that 20% of employees were negatively affected at work due to a worry about their financial situation. (Financial Well-being: The Last Taboo in the Workplace?)
Menopause: For women around the age of 45-55 years, the menopause may show up quietly, or may turn colleague's lives upside down. Around 80% of women have symptoms and 25% of these are severe. The majority (around 77%) will not know that the symptoms they are experiencing are due to the menopause. Encouraging a workplace to have menopause conversations with women and men will help to normalise the subject, and may encourage women to seek the help they need. Symptoms can manifest in the form of panic attacks, low self-esteem and low self-confidence as well as anxiety and poor memory, joint pains, migraines and palpitations. Having a supportive workplace culture while going through this period of change is crucial.
Menopause symptoms can have a big impact on your life. Find out more about common symptoms
Let’s talk menopause. For useful resources for employers visit the CIPD website
Nutrition: Healthy eating can significantly impact an employee's ability to do their job effectively by, for example, improving their ability to concentrate. Nutrition programmes educate employees about food choices and equip them to make healthier food and drink choices. Organisations can ensure there are healthy choices available in staff rooms, vending machines and office meetings and functions, plus provide easy access to fresh fruit and healthy snacks.
Physical activity: In addition to healthy eating, physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Workplace health programmes can offer employees opportunities to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives and also provide an environment that supports physical activity.
Positive mental health: According to Mind (UK), 1 in 6 workers are dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or stress. This can stop people performing at their best. Organisations perform better when their staff are healthy, motivated and focused; and the best employers support employees who are experiencing mental health problems to cope and recover.
Sleep: The impact of poor sleep on employees can be detrimental to their ability to work. It can reduce productivity, increase irritability, and encourage memory loss. Additionally, overall tiredness can be a killer in jobs where reaction times need to be sharp (drivers, machine workers etc.) Having some ideas on how people can sleep better, and understanding employee's individual sleep patterns and requirements can help with this.
Smoking cessation: Smokers tend to fall ill more frequently than non-smokers. Promoting services such as Quit4You stop smoking service or allowing time to see a doctor to discuss quitting smoking, are valid options for employers to include in their workplace health programmes.
Stress management: Stress itself takes a toll on employees. Stress is also linked to other health concerns, such as depression, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Workplace health programmes that help employees manage stress can improve their health and wellbeing.
Suicide prevention: Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50, and although women are less likely to die by suicide than men, the rate of female suicide is the highest in more than a decade. Employers have a crucial role to play in suicide prevention. Work colleagues often spend hours, and in some cases more time together than with their own families, which gives organisations a unique opportunity to create open and supportive environments, to raise awareness about suicidal thoughts and feelings, and help reduce the huge stigma that still surrounds this area. Employees should be given the confidence to step forward to ask for help, and managers equipped with the skills needed to respond effectively. All organisations should be incorporating a suicide prevention strategy as part of their approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Working from home:
This has become a lot more commonplace, but strategies and policies are needed to ensure employees are safe and productive while working from home. Organisations should ensure that people have the correct tools to work from home successfully, and try to instil a culture of wellbeing even outside of the traditional “office” set up. This could include line managers checking in with video or voice calls; in groups or one-to-one settings, as well as encouraging physical movement throughout the working day, and having periods where staff are not expected to check or respond to emails, calls or similar work correspondence.
A work-life balance still needs to be achieved and respected when working from home.
COVID-19 will have undoubtedly had a great impact on your work and workplace wellbeing over the past couple of years. For current advice please visit the Isle of Man Government's COVID-19 website.
Since 2016, the group has held an annual Workplace Wellbeing Conference incorporating the principals outlined in the toolkit. The event is open to representatives from all types of local businesses and organisations. Each workshop features a range of speakers covering topics dedicated to improving workplace wellbeing.
How to get involved
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive email updates from the Workplace Wellbeing Group about upcoming events.
The Workplace Wellbeing Networking Group is an MS Teams discussion group that anyone can join to share ideas and insights. If you are interested in joining, please email email@example.com with an email address you are happy to share publicly.
We are looking for organisations who are interested in hosting a networking session to discuss a topic of importance relating to workplace wellbeing. If you are interested, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on previous topics, visit our events page by clicking on the above link.
To find out more about how workplace wellbeing can help your organisation, contact:
Public Health Directorate
Isle of Man
+44 1624 642639
Page reviewed: November 2022