Employment minister Jo Swinson MP has urged employers to invest in the wellbeing of their workforce - noting that there was growing evidence for benefits to businesses and the wider economy when doing so.
Writing in the February issue of WSB, Swinson explained that having a "healthy and strongly motivated workforce" was essential for good business performance.
"A greater focus on wellbeing at work will benefit everyone, building both a stronger economy and a fairer society," she wrote.
"Wellbeing should be important to us all - government, employers and individuals - we all have a responsibility and stake in getting it right. By measuring wellbeing, employers can use it as a general indicator of how happy their staff are and if they are getting the best performance from them.
"I strongly support workplace wellbeing, not only because considering self worth and health of individuals is morally right, but also because it makes good business sense. A healthy and strongly motivated workforce is essential to making sure a company remains efficient and profitable, and delivers excellent services to consumers.
"We want business to make wellbeing an integral part of how they manage their employees. They should regularly review how their staff are doing and take action as and when required," she added.
Swinson noted that employers were not alone in this task - highlighting the availability of Acas to support issues when they arose.
The Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire also explained the importance for employees to be given some control, wherever possible, in how they did their job.
"I believe that there are many things that business can do to improve the wellbeing of their staff," she continued.
"There are common themes; jobs need to be well designed - with a balance between demand and control. The Whitehall Studies of 18,000 civil servants found that jobs with high demand but low control of what they did caused stress and ultimately low levels of wellbeing. Wellbeing was poor among those with jobs that required a lot of effort with little recognition.
"It can often be difficult to strike the right work-life balance and this can cause additional anxiety and stress and performance in the workplace."
Swinson added that this was one of the reasons why shared parental leave and the right to request flexible working were being introduced. However, the right to request flexible working has been delayed from its expected April 2014 introduction.
No timeline has yet been put on when it will be initiated. When in force, it will give all employees with at least 26 weeks' continuous employment the right to request to work flexibly. Acas has published a guide for employers on how to deal with these requests.
Thursday 3 December
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