2 September 2015

I was heartened to hear that the NHS today has been offered Zumba and yoga classes to help keep employees fit and healthy.

ukfast netball team this girl can

The UKFast and Furious Netball Team

Some of the greatest institutions have been undone by simply forgetting the basics of a healthy, productive team. In a profession as gruelling as medicine, and in the notoriously stretched NHS, focussing on health and wellbeing within the organisation is essential and something that should have been considered much sooner.

To be overworked and feel underappreciated is extremely demotivating and it is hard to maintain that fast-pace and momentum when you’re feeling worn out. Although rest may seem the obvious option – and often a peaceful place for a warm drink is a great idea – exercise is the perfect way to feel relaxed.

It’s a time to switch off from the stress. To get the endorphins flowing and, often, to feel human again in the midst of a stressful day. You should never underestimate the power of exercise on the human body and mind.

I look forward to hearing NHS England chief exec Simon Stevens at the NHS Innovation Expo in Manchester, he is so right when he says that healthy supportive workplaces are no long just nice to have, they’re a ‘must do’.

Avoiding ‘burnout’, both of yourself and your team, is an essential part of being a business leader. Whilst, of course, it is incredibly important for the health of the individuals in the team, it is also vital for the health of the business.

A healthy, happy team take less sick days, are more productive and are significantly better brand ambassadors. When it comes to the NHS, would you prefer to be treated by a doctor who seems absolutely exhausted and in need of a hug themselves, or someone who seems fresh and enthusiastic?

Whilst I appreciate that not all businesses can afford to offer health and wellbeing on the scale of the NHS’s fitness classes and physiotherapy or help to quit smoking there are ways that you can help keep your team fit and healthy.

ukfast running club health and wellbeing

One of our now famous UKFast #runningclub selfies

We have a daily running club – not a weekday goes by when you won’t see at least three or four of our team jogging along to Alexandra Park in their branded kit. Running like this is free, it just takes a little organisation.

You could even argue that avoiding burnout starts well before the consideration of fitness classes and health benefits. Having the right management structure in place enables you to recognise when an employee is feeling the strain and nip it in the bud. We have teams of no more than six, so that managers can keep an eye on their team properly and ensure that they are happy in their roles. Keeping teams small ensures that no one slips through the net. Equally, all of our managers are made managers because of their ‘supportive gene’ – we only employ caring, supportive people to our management layers, because ultimately their job is to care for their teams.

Ultimately, never underestimate the power of making your team feel great. Whether that’s through Zumba classes and private health care, or simply with a team run around the park or spacehopper race!

How do you stay active and motivated?

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