“The findings call for businesses to review their existing workplace cultures.”
A report produced by Willis PMI Group states that workers have blamed their employers for the increasing levels of obesity in their workplace.
Almost 30 per cent of the workforce in the Midlands, hold their employers responsible for the higher levels of obesity.
Mike Blake, the director of PMI, states:
“The government estimates obesity contributes to the loss of 16 million certified incapacity days each year and this research suggests employers may be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.”
In the report, workers state the following factors behind their allegations:
- 62% workers suggested that work overload and longer working hours stopped them from exercising;
- 48% blamed the unhealthy vending machine and ‘tuck shop’ snacks;
- 42% complained about the lack of exercise facilities at work;
- 41% suggested that companies provide unhealthy canteen food.
Blake further demands:
“The findings call for businesses in the Midlands to review their existing workplace cultures and practices and, where appropriate, proactively adopt health and wellbeing initiatives.”
However, Great Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) has defended companies.
Paul Faulkner who is the Chief Executive of GBCC opposes Mike Blake’s statement implying:
“Local businesses understand the importance of having a healthy workforce, and we know of many initiatives among member businesses which encourage employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle.”
In addition, Faulkner expresses the report depicts the support that companies offer their employees:
“Employers clearly want a healthy workforce, so to state they are contributing to obesity is unfair.”
He points out that there are ‘a number of firms who offer cut-price gym memberships, fitness classes and even weight loss schemes’.
Nonetheless, the survey disclosed 42 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds are critical of their bosses. They strongly believe that their bosses add to higher levels of obesity in the workforce.
This contrasts with 29 per cent of 35 to 64-year-olds who disagree.
Mr Blake states:
“Support and education for employees to combat obesity can be relatively inexpensive to implement but by encouraging staff to lead healthier lifestyles businesses can help cut obesity-related illnesses and the associated business risks.”
Faulkner agrees with Mr Blake that businesses must be supportive of their employees. Companies should promote healthy living within the workforce in order to decrease obesity.
However, one may agree with Faulkner that employees should take opportunities that their company offers.
Employees should also be held responsible for their own well-being, not only employers.