With workers in the UK afraid to take time off, people are attending work when ill. The estimates are that, in 2017, over 4 days were lost by UK employees, with public sector workers losing over 3% of working hours.
The US has also had a huge rise in workplace presenteeism i.e. when ill employees feel pressured to turn up at work. Studies have found that as many as 83% of employees have seen presenteeism in the workplace in the last 12 months in the United States. In 2010, this number was less than 25%.
However, could health supplements be one answer to improving the health and productivity of the UK workforce? Pharma Nord’s Senior Nutritionist, Frankie Brogan, believes that sick days can be reduced if companies started to offer their employees the correct nutritional approaches: “Companies are all for enhancing their colleagues’ well-being. Whether it’s providing free gym facilities or fruit bowls, looking after your workforce’s health can prove beneficial for their productivity and morale.
“Supplements are a great way to boost your team’s health and nutrition, which will, in turn, enhance their performance. By offering supplements to your colleagues, they will also benefit from the knowledge that you care for their well-being.”
Stress-related illness is a huge concern for businesses. A survey carried out by well-being specialists, Forth, found that 85% of adults in the UK regularly experience stress. There are many supplements that could help relieve your stress levels, and supplements such as CoQ10, for example, contribute to normal cognitive function.
Magnesium supplements might also be considered as they can help with muscle and nerve function. Studies have found that this mineral supports sleep and, as pointed out above, stress can be caused by tiredness. While many workforces offer free tea and coffee facilities, magnesium supplements could be a great opportunity to reduce fatigue in the workplace – with a staggering 76% of the UK’s workforce claiming to be tired most weekdays.
Of course, there are also seasonal changes to factor in — especially in the UK! For those who work in an office-based role, winter can leave us with a significantly low level of vitamin D due to the lack of sunlight. This can mean that our immune system may falter as it’s not getting the nutritional benefits required. Vitamin D3 is one supplement that can contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system, therefore maintaining a healthy workforce. In fact, public health advice for the UK even recommended this supplement for a ‘top-up’.
Shockingly, one in five in the UK has low levels of vitamin D. For many of us, our diet simply won’t provide sufficient levels of the nutrient, so the supplement can be a quick and easy way to enhance our intake.
“While supplements aren’t a ‘replacement’, they can be beneficial and provide nutritional goodness,” added Brogan.“They are a cost-effective way to support your immune system and enhance your overall well-being.”
Unfortunately, levels of productivity in the UK’s workforce are still lower than in some neighbouring countries. The well-being process in place by companies simply isn’t engaging their staff in a way to make them productive. Of course, just offering supplements isn’t enough, but it can certainly help towards creating a healthier workplace.
As well as supplements, companies can introduce other ‘perks’ to help relieve the pressure from companies. This could include flexible working as it can help reduce stress levels and promote a better work-life balance. According to a YouGov survey, one in five workers are currently dissatisfied with their work-life balance and complain about always being ‘switched on’. By allowing your staff an element of flexibility you will show an understanding to their circumstances, meaning they’ll be more likely to be fully productive on the hours they are in work.
This can also be said about remote working. Technology is allowing more roles to be completed away from the office, meaning working from a remote location is possible — and sometimes preferred.
It’s clear that a company must have an effective well-being plan in place if it is to fully engage with their employees. While supplements may go under the radar as being one of the ‘top perks’ offered, they may well be one of the most important.
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