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Workplace stress and busy schedules are biggest barriers to a healthy lifestyle, claims report

Workplace stress and busy schedules are biggest barriers to a healthy lifestyle, claims report

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New research from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) claims that almost half (48 percent) of adults say that busy lives and stress play a large role in stopping them from eating healthily, with 40 percent of adults admitting that being too tired after work is their main reason for not being active. The survey, conducted as part of BNF Healthy Eating Week, questioned almost 500 adults across the UK, and also revealed a number of different factors that affect people’s food choices when at work or university. High workload makes it difficult for a third of adults to eat well, along with finding it difficult to take a proper lunch break. While at work a quarter say they do not have enough time to prepare healthy foods and 24 percent of respondents say there are limited healthy food and drink options available at work or close by; 28 percent say there are too many unhealthy snacks available in their work setting.

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BCO to provide definitive guidance on enabling wellbeing in the office

BCO to provide definitive guidance on enabling wellbeing in the office

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BCO to provide definitive guidance on enabling wellbeing across the office A major research study “Wellness Matters: Health and Wellbeing in offices and what to do about it” by The British Council for Offices (BCO) is being launched today. The study critiques existing Health and Wellbeing measurement and certification, identifies the most recent and relevant medical evidence justifying a proactive approach to Health and Wellbeing in the built environment, and articulates the business case for investment in this space beyond simply improving productivity. More →

Workers fake physical sickness to mask mental health issues due to stigma worries

Workers fake physical sickness to mask mental health issues due to stigma worries

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Workers fake physical sickness to mask mental health issues due to stigma worries

Two fifths (42 percent) of UK employees are calling in sick claiming a physical illness, when in reality it’s a mental health issue, new research from BHSF has claimed. The research was commissioned to raise awareness of employee wellbeing during  Mental Health Awareness Week, a campaign hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, which has stress as its focus this year.  The survey found that 24 percent of employees worry that if they did need to take a sick day, they wouldn’t be taken seriously. Over half (56 percent) of employees admitted to suffering from stress, a third from anxiety (36 percent) and a quarter from depression (25 percent). Despite 46 percent admitting that work is the main cause of their health problems, just 15 percent would tell their boss if they were struggling with an issue of this nature.

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UK office workers spend limited time outside and over half complain of lack of fresh air

UK office workers spend limited time outside and over half complain of lack of fresh air

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UK office workers spend limited time outside and over half complain of lack of fresh airUK office workers spend an alarmingly limited amount of time outdoors each day, claims new research from Ambius, which found that almost 40 percent spend a maximum of just 15 minutes outside, excluding their commute to work, and an additional 22 percent spend a maximum of 30 minutes outside. This is even less than prisoners, who require ‘at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily’, according to UN guidelines. On average, the British workers surveyed spend more time per day at their desk or workstation (6.8 hours) than they do in bed (6.4 hours), relaxing at home (3.5 hours) or outdoors (37 mins). A lack of fresh air (57 percent), insufficient natural light (49 percent), and an absence of indoor plants (36 percent) were the biggest source of frustration for employees. Introducing indoor plants (49 percent), nicer artwork (50 percent), and a more interesting colour scheme (54 percent), topped the list of employees’ requests to improve their workplace.

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Majority of staff say employers must do more to support their physical and mental wellbeing

Majority of staff say employers must do more to support their physical and mental wellbeing

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Majority of staff say employers should do more to support physical and mental wellbeingMore than half of working adults believe that UK businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees. The vast majority (86 percent) believe that firms are specifically not doing enough to help employees deal with work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. And with seven out of 10 of those surveyed by Westfield Health saying that the NHS does not have the budget to provide wellbeing services, such as health check-ups and cognitive behavioural therapy, almost three quarters agreed it would be a good idea for a portion of their National Insurance contributions to be redirected towards employee wellbeing programmes. More →

Artificial intelligence should have a clear ethical dimension, claims new government report

Artificial intelligence should have a clear ethical dimension, claims new government report

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While the UK is in a strong position to be a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence which would deliver a major boost to the economy, ethics should be at the heart of its development, according to a new report from the House of Lords. AI should never be given the “autonomous power to hurt, destroy or deceive” people, it adds. The Lords’ report called on the government to support businesses in the field. It also recommended that people be educated to work alongside AI in the jobs of the future. It said that such education would “mitigate the negative effects” on jobs which are possible as AI develops.

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Activity and a positive attitude are best treatments for back pain, claims major new study

Activity and a positive attitude are best treatments for back pain, claims major new study

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Although lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting an estimated 540 million people at any one time, it is often mistreated, according to a new series of papers in The Lancet medical journal. The series provides evidence that back pain should be managed with activity, in the workplace and in primary care. However, a high proportion of patients worldwide are treated in emergency departments, encouraged to rest and stop work, are referred for scans and surgery or prescribed pain killers including opioids. The authors claim this is at best pointless and at worst harmful. Exercise and psychological therapy are the only things that work for the majority of cases of chronic back pain but too many people wrongly believe the idea that rest is best for the condition, according to the authors. The series of papers also concludes that job satisfaction and a positive attitude are among the strongest indicators of how well people will overcome chronic back pain and related issues.

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Just half of UK businesses have the right skills to combat a cyberattack

Just half of UK businesses have the right skills to combat a cyberattack

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Only half (50 percent) of UK companies believe they have the right skills to address a cyberattack, despite some high profile cyberattacks this year against the NHS, Uber and Equifax. A lack of cybersecurity skills may be due to a wider skills gaps facing the UK tech industry, claims new research from IT jobs board, CW Jobs. Nearly a third of tech employees reported feeling they were insufficiently trained in coding, cybersecurity and cloud migration. The gaps in employees’ skills is translating to the businesses they work for with 23 percent saying their business is missing programming and cybersecurity skills. A little over half (51 percent) of IT workers said that cybersecurity was included in their training, and almost one in four (23 percent) say they are not confident in handling a cyber security attack. Despite the growing threat and lack of in-house expertise, only half (50 percent) of employers look for cybersecurity skills when recruiting new IT talent. However, despite awareness around the risk of cybersecurity and the lack of preparedness, only 22 percent of employers are currently training their existing staff in cybersecurity.

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New Government plan to address employment barriers for disabled people

New Government plan to address employment barriers for disabled people

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New Government plan to address employment barriers for disabled people

The Government has announced a new 10-year strategy to address employment prospects for disabled people and people with health conditions. In response to its Work, Health & Disability Green Paper consultation which closed earlier this year, the White Paper, Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability sets out how the Government will work with employers, charities, healthcare providers and local authorities to break down employment barriers for disabled people and people with health conditions over the next decade. This will be delivered through in-work programmes, personalised financial and employment support, and specialist healthcare services. Currently, ill health that keeps people out of work costs the economy an estimated £100 billion a year, including £7 billion in costs to the NHS. Two new employment trials will also be launched in the West Midlands and Sheffield City Region combined authorities to provide employment support. The Government is also investing around £39 million to more than double the number of Employment Advisors in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services.

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The contribution of personality to the performance of agile workers

The contribution of personality to the performance of agile workers

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The introduction of agile working into organisations has typically focussed on the workstyles of different job roles, but has tended to treat the jobholders within these groups in the same way. The successful introduction of new ways of working clearly relies on the willingness of the people occupying the job roles to embrace new ways of working; yet there has been little investigation of the needs of agile workers with different personality types beyond looking at the needs of extroverts and introverts. These studies have tended to focus on the workplace; for example, the Cushman Wakefield Workplace Programme briefing paper examines how organisations can accommodate the needs of extroverts and introverts working together in the workplace. However, using OCEAN personality profiles, Nigel Oseland found that different personality types have different preferences, which in turn are likely to affect their performance at work.

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Review into workplace mental health calls for change in culture and legislation

Review into workplace mental health calls for change in culture and legislation

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The independent review into workplace mental health, commissioned by the Prime Minister in January and led by Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer, has published its report, Thriving at Work. The review looks at how employers can better support all employees including those with poor mental health or wellbeing remain in and thrive at work. The study found that 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year and that poor mental health costs employers up to £42 billion a year, with an annual cost to the UK economy of up to £99 billion.
The statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions reveal that 300,000 people with a long term mental health problem lose their jobs each year. Analysis by Deloitte, commissioned by the reviewers, also reveals a demonstrable cost to employers, and quantifies for the first time how investing in supporting mental health at work is good for business and productivity. Poor mental health costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year. Deloitte’s analysis shows that the cost to employers is between £33 billion and £42 billion of this number. Evaluations of workplace interventions show a return to business of between £1.50 and £9 for every £1 invested.

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Nearly a quarter of workers claim work is biggest barrier to being more physically active

Nearly a quarter of workers claim work is biggest barrier to being more physically active

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Work is the biggest barrier to taking regular exercise a new survey suggests, with 20 percent of people citing being too busy with work as the reason why they are not more physically active. The research, which is published by not-for-profit health body ukactive to mark today’s National Fitness Day 2017 also reveals that only 1 in 10 adults (12 percent) know NHS recommended physical activity guidelines and well over half of Brits spend at least six hours each day sitting down. In addition to shunning exercise, more than 64 percent of adults spend at least six hours each day sitting, be it at work, in front of the TV, commuting or on social media. The average UK adult also spends more than twice as much time sitting on the toilet as they do exercising, with the study of 2,004 British adults by ComRes reveals that British adults say they are on the loo for an average of 3 hours and 9 minutes each week, compared to just 1 hour and 30 minutes spent doing moderate exercise such as fast walking or riding a bike.

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