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01

May
2018

In News

By Jerusha Shulberg

Cognitive Well Being In The Workplace

On 01, May 2018 | In News | By Jerusha Shulberg

According to the Health & Safety Executive, employers have a legal duty to protect their employees from stress at work by completing regular health risk assessments and putting systems in place that promote health and well being in the work place.

Everyday we apply so much cognitive capacity just to make sense of the multitudes of information that we are bombarded with especially when working in fast paced cities like London. For the most part we are unaware of the amount of cognitive resource and the mental effort involved in trying to keep up with the pace and demands of modern working life and this can be a highly stressful experience for many. In fact, stress, anxiety and depression account for an estimated 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health (1).

Stress at work can be caused by number of factors including excessive work pressures, poor working conditions, interpersonal relationships, a lack of support, increased workload and of course, personal events. Irrespective of the cause, stress can be damaging to a person’s wellbeing and their career but it also reduces productivity at work, impacting on workplace performance and quality of work (2) and so, it is important to recognise this and strive to create a healthy working environment.

Identifying stress in your employees

It is well known that repeated experiences of stress is damaging for cognitive health and halts the birth of new healthy neurons in the brain. Impaired cognitive health can affect our performance, judgement and decision-making abilities. If identified early, problems can be managed and the right steps can be taken to improve employee well being and performance.

However, identifying stress is not easy. It could manifest in a variety of ways such as someone behaving differently and taking more sick days or turning up late frequently or it could be noticed in their general attitude and motivation levels. In addition to identifying stress, understanding the actual impact this has on an individual’s overall cognitive health and well being is essential.

Benefits of assessing cognitive well being in the workplace

Clinical cognitive based well-being assessments are extremely useful in providing a measurement of an individual’s current start of cognitive health and a real awareness of their current state of living. Furthermore, it provides a baseline from which one can start to make positive work, behavioural and lifestyle changes to promote their cognitive health and their ability to think clearly, focus, concentrate, listen effectively, remember more and make better decisions.

A great definition of stress we read in this article is
“Stress is what arises when something you care about is at stake’.

We like this definition because it challenges the notion that we should be looking to eliminate stress, something which is inevitable at some point in our lives and encourages us instead to develop ways to cope with stress and strengthen our own cognitive resilience to stress.

Causes of stress

Stress can be caused by so many factors and so it is important that we do not look at events in isolation. Yes, sometimes the pinpoint of that stress is the workplace, but it can also be down to personal problems or health concerns.

It is for this reason that employers should promote health in the work place through corporate wellness programmes that are designed to support employees with lifestyle practices that aim to enhance their overall well being, rather than simply trying to reduce the stress load created by their job roles. Addressing an individual’s approach to managing stress and helping them develop strategies to manage and build resilience to stress so that they can thrive in day-to-day life both at the work place and in their personal lives is key.

What are businesses doing?

According to a study by the National Small Business Association (NSBA) in the US, 93% of the small business owners surveyed recognised that the health of their employees is important to their business and their profitability, yet only 22% were offering a corporate wellness programme.

When looking further into this, the main reason seemed to be that employees were not particularly interested in a wellness programme, with 46% of them showing a lack of interest. This is an interesting turn out and leads to a suggestion that there is perhaps not enough education about corporate health and the benefits of having a wellness programme and making health a priority in the workplace.

 

Corporate well being at Cubex

At Cubex, we highly value corporate wellness because we recognise how much of our day is spent communicating and participating at work and how much of an impact that this can have on our cognitive, mental & audiological health. With almost 60 years of experience in supporting the audiological health and lifestyle wellness for so many patients with demanding careers, we have a real appreciation and understanding of how best to use our limited cognitive capacity as effectively as possible so that we can do more and remember more information with less effort and less stress each day.

We place a lot of emphasis on our patients audiological and cognitive well being and we now offer a programme that is designed to help employers to do the same for themselves and their teams. Inspired by our in-clinic offerings and expertise, our corporate wellness programme is unique and effective in that it incorporates our knowledge of audiological science and cognitive well being with lifestyle practices that are proven to support overall wellbeing. We utilise state of the art hearing and cognition assessment tools, lifestyle practices, meditation and clinical mindfulness techniques that aim to help people to improve their state of living, both at work and at home.

Images courtesy of Oticon / Product Oticon Opn™

 

Corporate Wellness

(1) Labour Force Survey 2016
(2) Anxiety Disorders Association of America 2006 Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey
(3) Mental Health at Work Report 2016

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