Anyone who attended The Health & Well-being Show at the NEC recently could not help to have been struck by the number of stands and number of speakers promoting well-being at work. There were lots of stands with similar looking bells and whistles that churned out a myriad of data about the health of the workforce and promising a glowing healthy workforce if you buy their unique product.
The question to me is whether all this data is actually changing the culture of the UK workforce, and solving the enormous problem we all face?
As someone who is coming up to their 40th anniversary in the health industry I do get the feeling that the fashion and fad lead industry called “health” could just be going through another phase of snake oil and money-making ventures with little regard for the real problem and how to solve it.
So, what are the real well-being problems in the workplace?
- Ageing Workforce. Retirement age is increasing and many of the baby boomer generation are becoming less fit and able to perform a working role. Many people in the late 50’s and early 60’s expect to retire soon, and many people I speak to are bitter about the unfairness of having to work longer.
- As a population we are getting more sedentary and as a result of this our 80’s, 90’s and millennial generations are predicted by some actuaries to have a lower life expectancy that the baby boomer generation. This is because of an early death is promised from diseases associated with sedentary behaviour such as diabetes, heart disease etc.
So, what are the solutions?
If it were that simple a whole industry would not have developed trying to solve it. Having said that is it really that complicated?
Surely “all” that is needed is a cultural change in the UK population towards increasing their activity levels, develop mental resilience and eat better?
Where does the current trend of death by data overload come into this?
People who are already engaging in prolonging their life and their present health and happiness, tend to like the data to demonstrate how well they’re doing. However, it is the vast majority who are not engaging that will be switched off by a mountain of data telling them that they are fat and lazy.
How do we reach these people?
Now we have got the million-dollar question! What motivates a population to have poor health, shorten their own lives, and that of their children when another (better) choice is out there?
Social / cultural issues?
What can we do to change this?
I would love to hear your views.