Facts and tips on health promotion Employee health in your SME

Healthy employees and a good working environment are the basis for your company's success. Read on to find out how you can make your staff healthier, more motivated, and more productive.

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Healthy employees are essential

What do you do if an employee is absent due to burnout or comes to work but constantly complains about back pain? From preventive health services to support during sickness, AXA offers solutions designed to improve the health of your staff, making your company easier to run day to day and ultimately more successful.

What does employee health mean?

The term "employee health" is closely linked to corporate health management (CHM). CHM is the systematic optimization of relevant factors for health at work. By adapting structures and processes at work, CHM creates an environment that favors your workers' health, thereby contributing to the company's success.

Health Promotion Switzerland divides CHM into three pillars:

  • Occupational health and safety (the first pillar) combines the prevention measures required under the Employment Act, the Accident Insurance Act (AIA), the Chemicals Act, the Participation Act, etc.
  • Health promotion in the workplace (the second pillar) aims to reduce stress and strengthen resources with behavioral measures and changes to operating conditions.
  • Dealing with absences and measures to support returning to the workplace form the third pillar.

Effective CHM combines all of the mandatory (first pillar) and voluntary (second and third pillars) measures to make staff healthier and safer at work.

Why is employee health so important?

Employee health has a crucial impact on the success of your business. Healthy employees are likely to be happier and more motivated and deliver better performance. Better health, be it physical or mental, fosters a good working environment and makes you a more attractive employer. Healthy employees also minimize absences and the resulting costs. This means that, on average, every franc invested in corporate health management is paid back three times over. 

Mental stress is on the rise

The latest figures show (in German) that Swiss employees are subject to psychological stress in their everyday working lives. 

  • Three out of ten working people (28.2%) suffer from stress at work. This means that they can't cope with all the pressure placed on them.
  • Almost a third (30.3%) are emotionally exhausted and therefore at greater risk of burnout. 
  • This results in high productivity losses, with work-related stress costing employers in Switzerland CHF 6.5 billion a year.

The cost of stress in at work is often underestimated. Those affected may develop depression and other psychological symptoms, which can make them less productive and even cause them to be off work for a long time. Both absences and presenteeism (working despite illness) create high costs for companies (around CHF 600 to CHF 1,000 a day).

The consequences of psychological stress can include lower productivity, a higher risk of accidents, and higher staff turnover. The latter forces a company to put more effort – and thus also more money – into recruitment and can cause it to lose customers. At the same time, absences place a strain on team structures and therefore other employees.

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    How do I deal with psychologically stressed employees?

    A quarter of working people in Switzerland show signs of psychological stress. Our checklists for managers will help to you recognize them at an early stage.

    To the blog

How can employers promote health in the workplace?

Mental health

Ms. Meier no longer goes to the canteen or gets coffee with her co-workers. Mr. Müller often sits at his desk staring into space for minutes on end. Many line managers and other employees notice when colleagues are psychologically distressed. 

Signs can include changes in behavior and appearance – for example if, over a period of weeks, an employee...

  • ...works more slowly than before;
  • ...makes more mistakes;
  • ...often does not concentrate or is irritable;
  • ...seems sad, lethargic or different in some way;
  • ...frequently turns up late or fails to turn up at all;
  • ...works a lot of overtime without having any extra workload.

If this is the case, you should act immediately. The sooner you step in to relieve the pressure, the greater the chance that the employee won't have to take sick leave. This checklist shows you how to talk to an employee about his or her mental wellbeing and options to alleviate stress. 

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    Course for managers

    AXA has teamed up with the Swiss Foundation Pro Mente Sana to develop a mental health first-aid course for managers. In the three-and-half-hour course, you'll learn how to spot signs of mental illness at an early stage and practice first-aid conversations with employees.

    Find out more
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    Conversation tips

    The website "How are you?" gives you tips on conversations and how to proceed if you're worried about an employee.

    To how-are-you.ch

Physical health

Are your staff complaining of back pain, or has a stack of waste paper in your office turned into a dangerous trip hazard? Many complaints and accidents are caused by everyday situations that seem harmless at first glance. Learn how to safeguard against these through workplace ergonomics and successful accident prevention.

If an employee takes sick leave

If an employee takes long-term sick leave, AXA offers professional help through care and case managers. A quick response is needed here. As time goes on, it becomes increasingly unlikely that the person will be able to return to work and stay for the long term.

Our specialists contact the sick person and support him or her in the process. The aim is to work out a solution together that minimizes the time off work and avoids further absences. A person who is unfit for work should be reintroduced into the work process as quickly as possible and on a sustainable basis. This not only helps employers, early reintegration into the workplace often improves employees' mental wellbeing as well. 

WeCare: AXA's service for better employee health 

With WeCare, AXA has developed an offering dedicated entirely to employee health in your company. WeCare offers employers personal support in all matters concerning the health of their employees, from occupational health advice to the introduction of prevention measures and support for absent employees.

With WeCare, you know that the health of your staff is always in good hands. 

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    For healthy and motivated staff

    All the information you need on WeCare, our corporate health management service, can be found here.

    More about WeCare

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