There are the lucky few that for whom going to work every day is a thing to be relished. For the majority of us, it’s a necessary chore that pays the bills and keeps the kids in new shoes…
February is Heart Month, and the British Heart Foundation have revealed that over two-fifths of workers say their job has a negative impact on their health.
The BHF survey shows that the pressures and stress caused from working life is responsible for any negative lifestyle choices, including eating a poor diet, not doing enough exercise and drinking and smoking more than they otherwise would. The charity is now calling for employers to encourage their workforce to spend at least 10 minutes a day improving their lifestyle for the remainder of Heart Month.
The stats are stacked against health…
- 34% of workers think they have put on weight due to their work, with 49% saying their job has driven them to eat more unhealthily
- 43% say their work has caused them to exercise less than they would like
- 22% say their job has led to them to drink more alcohol and almost one in ten say it’s been a trigger for smoking more
- 60% of employees regularly do unpaid overtime, with 19% working more than five hours overtime a week. The pressures of work are leaving employees concerned about their long-term health with almost a third fearing it could lead to high blood pressure and over one in five a heart attack or heart condition.
Obesity, lack of physical activity and smoking all increase the risk of coronary heart disease – the nation’s single biggest killer. But the BHF says that employers encouraging their workforce to take as little as 10 minutes every day to improve their health at work can lead to significant benefits in employee heart health and productivity. Productivity loss as a result of heart and circulatory conditions is estimated to cost businesses £8billion a year. However research shows 82% of companies with employee wellness programs see reduced sickness absence and a 15% increase in output.
Lisa Young, Project Manager for the BHF’s Health at Work programme, said: “This survey is a stark reminder of just what happens when we don’t take our health at work seriously enough. Millions of people say they are smoking more, exercising less and putting on weight because they’re not considering the impact their job is having on their health and wellbeing.
“Behaviours like these can be extremely damaging, not just to your heart health but also to businesses. From working with over with 9,500 organisations we know that the payoffs of making health at work a top businesses priority are too great to ignore.Small steps can make a big difference to your health. This Heart Month we’re working with organisations across the UK to encourage employees to take 10 minutes every day to make positive changes which could have a life-long benefit to their health.”
The BHF’s Health at Work programme offers free expert advice to employers to help improve the health and productivity of their workforce. More than 9,500 organisations have already benefitted, helping their workers get active, eat well and reduce their stress.