“There is strong evidence to show how having a healthy workforce can reduce sickness absence, lower staff turnover and boost productivity.” – Professor Dame Carol Black, Expert Adviser on Health and Work to the Department of Health and Public Health England
Improving the health and wellbeing of employees has become a major focus for organisations over the last few years as awareness grows of the relationship between ill health, absenteeism and presenteeism and the personal and economic impacts. To enable businesses to support staff, a number of new initiatives have launched including The Workplace Wellbeing Charter by Health@Work in partnership with Public Health England and The Mindful Employers’ scheme run by MIND.
Why this is important – the stark facts:
• Three out of four staff members believe their health and wellbeing affects performance at work.
• 130 million working days were lost to sickness absence last year.
• Approximately 14.8 million working days were lost in 2012 due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety.
[A guide to workplace health promotion programmes for employers. Sheffield Hallam University]
Poor mental health, stress and anxiety, are cited as the top reason for non-work attendance. According to The Mindful Employers programme:
“The overall financial cost to British business of mental ill health is an estimated £26 billion a year – that’s equivalent to £1035 for every employee . Positive steps to improve the management of mental health in the workplace should enable employers to save at least 30% of the cost of lost production and staff turnover.”
Research by Sheffield Hallam University reports that although hard data on the costs of presenteeism (reduced performance and productivity due to ill health while at work) is unavailable in the UK at this time, preliminary evidence suggests that presenteeism could cost employers two to seven times more than absenteeism.
So what can organisations do?
A recent study by Sidney De Haan, Research Centre for Arts and Health, presents evidence that regular group singing is associated with reductions in mental distress and increased mental wellbeing. This isn’t the only research to testify to these facts. There is an ever-increasing body of evidence that demonstrates the positive impacts that singing can have on mental and physical health.
When we sing, the body has an actual chemical response which makes us feel better. We release endorphins – giving us that ‘feel good’ factor, oxytocin – the hormone released when we hug, which helps with social bonding and Dopamine – linked to that shiver-down-the-spine feeling. Singing has also been shown to reduce the body’s level of Cortisol – the stress hormone.
Shared Harmonies CIC offers a number of ‘singing solutions’ from one-off team building events to workplace choirs all designed to deliver tangible outcomes in the improvement of mental & physical health. Our workshops also encourage collaboration, communication and team work. And best of all they are great fun.
And what if you think you can’t sing?
Don’t worry, Shared Harmonies believes everyone can sing – most people do already, even if it’s usually just in the shower! Our expert facilitators quickly put people at ease and participants are often amazed at the results & how quickly they are achieved.
“It was amazing what we achieved as a group in a fairly short space of time – and very few of us could sing! A liberating experience and one we’d definitely recommend for teams and businesses to have some fun whilst doing something constructive towards team spirit.” Liz Slater, Director, The Right Fuelcard Company
So if you are looking for a way to support staff, increase mental health, build relationships and have fun – think singing!
To find out more and hear what other customers and participants have to say about our sessions click www.sharedharmonies.co.uk
Emma Baylin is the Founder and a Director of Shared Harmonies CIC.
“Singing has so much to offer people, so many benefits for both physical & mental health, especially when singing with others. Shared Harmonies CIC was born out of my belief in the power of singing and my faith in the power of communities. I am passionate about making singing accessible to everyone. I strongly believe that everyone can sing – despite what they may have been led to believe!”
Emma is a member of the National Voice Network