In the UK, over 28 million days were lost due to work-related ill health in 2018-19, according to the Health and Safety Executive (see link). Companies are starting to recognise that they have a role to play in trying to lower this number and improve the levels of health and wellbeing for their employees.
Does today’s office environment contribute to ill-health? Desktop and laptop working contribute to physical stresses on the body, through repetitive strain injuries (RSI), headaches and eye-strain. Neck and shoulder pain and postural problems are caused by sitting at desks for many hours on end without a break. The amount of working space for each individual is gradually being eroded away with the rise of hot-desking. Smartphone use and working across multiple time-zones mean that staff feel obliged to be connected to work tasks throughout the evenings and weekends. With the pressure to deliver more with less, people are taking on more responsibilities which may impact people’s emotional wellbeing. When people are under the weather mentally or physically, they aren’t as productive and may end up having to take time off.
As part of measures to help ease the pressures on employees, some companies have explored the use of bringing health practitioners into the office to provide treatments to their staff. As the service is ‘in house’, they are easily accessible because there is virtually no travel time. Treatments can be completed in 30 or 60 minutes and can be tailored to the individual. Services can be offered on a weekly or monthly frequency with employees booking slots in advance around their work commitments. A meeting room can be set aside to make a temporary but private treatment space.
Types of treatments that can be carried out in offices
Different styles of massage are suitable for an office environment. Tui Na massage can be carried out over clothing. Holistic massage and aromatherapy are more geared toward relaxation. Sports massage is used for preventative health and also is used to treat injuries.
Acupuncture is carried out around clothing. Many of the acupuncture points used are located below the knee and elbow. This may vary in the case of a sports injury, where some local points will also be used. Ear acupuncture is used for stress relief and can also be carried out in groups.
Benefits for companies
Companies can pay for these treatments or part subsidise them with the employees making a contribution. In effect this forms part of an employees’ benefits package. Staff are happier and more productive, and are less absent, which outweighs the cost of providing the service itself. Start-up costs are very low and make it easy, affordable and highly effective to run.
Over the last 10 years, I have helped to set up and carry out massage and acupuncture treatments at several offices in London. I have helped to run wellness weeks, developed monthly or weekly treatment services, and done one-time events about workplace health. I understand the practical aspects of equipment and storage ideas; how the company or employees can pay; and various models for how to access treatments.
If you would like to see how massage and acupuncture services might be set up where you work, then please drop me an email or get in touch for a chat.