BSI, the business standards company, has launched a new Code of Practice for organisations to help them tackle a crisis in the mental health and well-being of Britain’s workforce. No less than 137 million working days were lost to sick leave in the UK in 2016, with organisations spending £9 billion each year on sick pay and associated costs. The cost of ‘presenteeism’ – whereby employees attend work while ill and don’t work efficiently – has also risen sharply in recent years.
The BSI Code of Practice, designated PAS 3002, provides recommendations to establish, promote, maintain and review the health and well-being of workers within an organisation. It considers how health and well-being should be incorporated into the working environment and how leadership can ensure health and well-being related services are available to employees.
PAS 3002 was developed with input from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, Hitachi Europe, Nestle and Public Health England, among a raft of other organisations*.
The document recommends five key principles to form the basis of an organisation’s approach:
*Capitalise on diversity and inclusion as an organisational strength
*Proactively support the physical and psychological health and well-being of workers
*Foster a work culture that offers strong and ethical relationships, a collaborative and communicative management style and an organisational culture in which learning and development are encouraged
*Ensure jobs are designed such that they offer meaningful work
*Support good people management policies and practices
The underpinning ethos of PAS 3002 is that it’s evidence-based in material referred to and in the way organisational data is used. The document aims to be a supplement to provide a benchmark for organisations around the world regardless of jurisdiction, size and sector in relation to the health and well-being of their workers and so help to improve the health of the working population overall.
Increased stress in the working environment
Development of the Code of Practice was spurred by increasing stress in the workplace and an enhanced awareness of mental illness, growing support and encouragement for a diverse workforce, an increasingly ageing workforce and a trend towards employees staying in work for longer.
Anne Hayes, head of governance and resilience at the BSI, explained: “Health and well-being should be everyone’s concern within an organisation. Increasingly, organisations are being asked to meet their responsibilities in relation to health and well-being in order to provide healthy workplaces and to protect people from harm.”
Hayes continued: “Enhancing employee well-being and engagement is at heart of this Code of Practice. PAS 3002 provides guidance for organisations on early interventions designed to help prevent people being absent for health reasons and to use the workplace to promote individual health and well-being.”
*The following organisations were involved in the development of PAS 3002 as members of the Steering Group: The Centre for Ageing Better, the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Civil Service Employee Policy, the Council for Work and Health, Hitachi Europe, Leicester Castle Business School, De Montfort University, Nestle, Public Health England, Skanska UK plc and, last but not least, Wrenwell Ltd