Improving the health and wellbeing of employees

Mental Health at Work

“There is strong evidence to show how having a healthy workforce can reduce sickness absence, lower staff turnover and boost productivity.” – Professor Dame Carol Black, Expert Adviser on Health and Work to the Department of Health and Public Health England

Improving the health and wellbeing of employees has become a major focus for organisations over the last few years as awareness grows of the relationship between ill health, absenteeism and presenteeism and the personal and economic impacts.

To enable businesses to support staff, a number of new initiatives have launched including The Workplace Wellbeing Charter by Health@Work, Public Health England and The Mindful Employers’ scheme run by MIND.

 Abseteeism

Why this is important – the stark facts:

  • Three out of four staff members believe their health and wellbeing affects performance at work.
  • 130 million working days were lost to sickness absence last year.
  • Approximately 14.8 million working days were lost in 2012 due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety.

[A guide to workplace health promotion programmes for employers. Sheffield Hallam University]

Poor mental health, stress and anxiety, are cited as the top reason for non-work attendance. According to The Mindful Employers programme:

“The overall financial cost to British business of mental ill health is an estimated £26 billion a year – that’s equivalent to £1035 for every employee. Positive steps to improve the management of mental health in the workplace should enable employers to save at least 30% of the cost of lost production and staff turnover.”

Research by Sheffield Hallam University reports that although hard data on the costs of presenteeism (reduced performance and productivity due to ill health while at work) is unavailable in the UK at this time, preliminary evidence suggests that presenteeism could cost employers two to seven times more than absenteeism.

So what can organisations do?

A recent study by Sidney De Haan, Research Centre for Arts and Health, presents evidence that regular group singing is associated with reductions in mental distress and increased mental wellbeing. This isn’t the only research to testify to these facts. There is an ever-increasing body of evidence that demonstrates the positive impacts that singing can have on mental and physical health.

When we sing, the body has an actual chemical response which makes us feel better. We release endorphins – giving us that ‘feel good’ factor, oxytocin – the hormone released when we hug, which helps with social bonding and Dopamine – linked to that shiver-down-the-spine feeling. Singing has also been shown to reduce the body’s level of Cortisol – the stress hormone.

Shared Harmonies CIC offers a number of ‘singing solutions’ from one-off team building events to workplace choirs all designed to deliver tangible outcomes in the improvement of mental & physical health. Our workshops also encourage collaboration, communication and team work. And best of all they are great fun.

Happy workforce

And what if you think you can’t sing?

Don’t worry, Shared Harmonies believes everyone can sing – most people do already, even if it’s usually just in the shower! Our expert facilitators quickly put people at ease and participants are often amazed at the results & how quickly they are achieved.

“It was amazing what we achieved as a group in a fairly short space of time – and very few of us could sing! A liberating experience and one we’d definitely recommend for teams and businesses to have some fun whilst doing something constructive towards team spirit.” Liz Slater, Director, The Right Fuelcard Company

So if you are looking for a way to support staff, increase mental health, build relationships and have fun – think singing!

To find out more and hear what other customers and participants have to say about our sessions click here.

Re- humanising Corporate Culture

How often have you emailed the person sitting at the next desk rather than speak to them?

 

In this increasingly digitalised environment, we are literally more connected to our machines and technology than to each other.

Visualise an office – Rows of plastic desks, strip lights, screen dividers, a potentially isolating environment where workers are more likely to communicate through email than verbally.

Is it any wonder that poor relationships with colleagues along with poor mental health are cited as some of the top reasons for absenteeism and low productivity?

Now create a different image – colleagues smiling, communicating, relaxed but energised, happy – and ready to be productive.

So how do you make this second image a reality and reap the positive impacts?

Trying a new approach by introducing innovation and creativity into the workplace can have profound positive outcomes – we need look no further than Google and Facebook for examples in practice. However, human nature leads us to lean towards options that feel ‘familiar’ or ‘safe’.

Many traditional team building options can be physically exclusive, encourage competition instead of collaboration and have limited longevity in impact. At Shared Harmonies CIC we support organisations to take a different approach. We use innovative singing techniques to provide highly motivating, productive and fun team building sessions, aimed not only at building positive work relationships but also delivering tangible health and wellbeing benefits for employees.

There is a wealth of evidence outlining the positive impacts of singing with others. It reduces stress & anxiety, improves posture and respiratory function, builds confidence and communication and releases endorphins giving participants that ‘feel good’ factor. Of course all of that is fantastic for the individual and the organisation and the ultimate benefit is that is really good fun – as our customers testify.

 

Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, has studied the developmental and medical aspects of singing for 30 years. He says;  

“Singing is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body. Singing has psychological benefits because of its normally positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being. Psychological benefits are also evident when people sing together because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared endeavour.”

Staff are a company’s biggest asset and a happy workforce can reduce sickness absence, lower staff turnover and increase productivity. Booking Shared Harmonies to introduce singing into the workplace, through team building, work based choirs or morning warm ups can lift the spirits and introduce tangible health and wellbeing impacts. In addition, as a Community Interest Company, Shared Harmonies will reinvest any profits generated from its corporate activity into provision for community benefit, directly supporting people recovering from cancer, struggling with mental health or long term respiratory conditions or in areas of high deprivation. This means that by booking us to help make you feel good, you are actually doing good!

So are you ready to try something new to bring your workspace back to life and reap the rewards?