Whilst Activ Absence management software is a great way to tackle staff absence, there is also a need to encourage employee wellness which cannot be addressed by improved administration alone.

Best practice absence management is not just bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted, its also about tackling workplace stress, addressing postural problems before they lead to long term back problems and encouraging your employees to take responsibility for their own health and helping them to stay well.

Of course, an excellent way of doing this is to call in an outside expert such as an Occupational Health Consultant or a workplace massage therapist such as www.onsitemassageco.com – however to a large extent your employees lifestyle will also be contributing factor, and therefore promoting a healthy lifestyle for your team is not just useful for absence management, but great for the employee’s wellbeing outside work.

The good news for employers is that there are plenty of completely FREE and low cost ways to do this – and by doing it well you can also improve team spirit and motivation.  Over the next few weeks we will be using our blog to share these with you.

We will start with ways to increase your staff’s physical activity, as the western sedentary lifestyle comprises overwork, tight deadlines and often reduced staffing levels is like a recipe for stress.
Increasing your exercise levels is said to reduce the risk of heart problems, keep arthritic joints flexible, improve posture, reduce blood pressure and reduce stress, so it is definitely something employers should encourage.

Here’s a few suggestions you could try to encourage your staff to exercise more:

1. Let your staff know about free public exercise schemes such as that offered by http://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/ – promote them on your intranet or internal newsletters.  Also, many suppliers who will fill your vending machines or company canteens are encouraged to promote exercise by Government legislation, e.g. Coca Cola Schweppes offer free swimming lessons.   Contacting your corporate suppliers may well yield some free prizes.

2. Encourage your team to participate in community sponsored events (e.g. race for life or walks for heart disease or cancer).  Consider donating a company prize to the charity as well as promoting the event among your staff.  Such activities are great opportunities to raise your local profile, its great social media content, it gets a good team spirit in your workforce as well as helping the participants improving their health!

3. Encourage managers to hold walking meetings when gathering with a small number of employees.

4. Identify places within the worksite or around the building for physical activities, some companies have even introduced ‘stairwell climbs’!

5. If you have grounds, promote walking there during breaks by making them attractive and placing benches away from the work area so employees can walk to them to eat their lunch.  Try to create a pleasant, tranquil ‘park’ feel so employees get a good break from their desk.

6. Start a running, biking, walking or line dancing club and encourage employer-sponsored youth athletic teams, along with employee volunteer coaches.

7. Have a goal of the week or month (i.e., “I will exercise every day for a week”). Keep a chart of weekly or monthly exercise goals in the office.  Some teams can get quite competitive at this!

8. Negotiate corporate discounts for health club memberships, golf clubs, cycle stores and suppliers of fitness equipment.  This also encourages partnerships with other businesses in the area which is good PR and helps raise your profile, you never know, you may find your best prospects working out in that gym anyway!

9. Purchase fitness CDs and DVDs that employees may borrow.

10.  Ensure that your organisation is participating in the UK cycle to work scheme.  Make it easy for your employees to participate by providing bicycle racks or a fenced-in area for cyclists in a well-lit section of the property.