I’m not suggesting you ask your boss to personally give you a massage, as that could lead to all sorts of awkward conversations. No, what I’m suggesting is that you ask your boss to get someone in, a professional massage therapist, to give you and your colleagues a massage. On a regular basis. “Why?” I hear you ask. Well, we know having a massage is good for you, but let’s face it, while your boss may claim to care about you, he or she will usually need a more compelling reason before booking you a regular massage at work. And here it is:
Massage is good for business too!
It is – but first a bit of background …
In 2014/15 in the UK 15.3 million working days were lost due to stress, depression or anxiety, with 9.9 million of those being work-related. 34 million working days were lost due to musculoskeletal disorders (including back pain and neck pain) with 9.5 million of those being work-related. (Source: ONS & HSE.) The cost to UK employers is counted in the £billions.
So what can we do to reduce staff absenteeism?
Massage helps musculoskeletal disorders:
Providing employees with access to a good massage therapist, even if their problems weren’t caused by their work, can help them recover from musculoskeletal disorders more quickly and take less time off sick. A study by the Group Health Research Institute showed that massage does indeed help people with back pain to function, even as much as six months after treatment (source: grouphealthresearch.org).
Massage can help the effects of stress
Employers want their staff to care passionately about their work. But sometimes people can focus on their work to the detriment of their health, leading to them taking time off work. By allowing (and encouraging) staff to take time out of the day for something that will benefit their health, an employer is reminding them that they are important too.
There are many things that can help them achieve this, such as going for a walk or a yoga session, and of course massage, which is known to help people relax. It calms the body which in turn calms the mind. According to the Stress Management Society, a massage can lower anxiety and depression and reduce the perception of stress (source: stress.org.uk).
Massage can boost the immune system
Having a regular massage can help boost the immune system, so when the dreaded cold and flu bugs enter the workplace, the impact can be minimised (source: Nature.com) with people taking less time off sick.
So we can see that a regular massage can help to reduce absenteeism. But what else can it do?
A massage improves productivity
Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology & Health at Lancaster University Management School, sums it up: “It’s a bottom-line issue. There are fewer people doing more work and longer hours. The only way they can work productively is if employers look after their health.” (Source: Telegraph.)
Again, a massage isn’t the only way an employer can help employees to look after their health, but as part of a tailored well-being programme it can make a huge difference. And as massage can boost energy and increase focus, this will lead to improvements in productivity too.
And it’s not just large companies that benefit. Smaller businesses have a smaller workforce, so it’s even more important for small companies to help their employees look after their health. Healthy employees have more energy and are able to focus and work more efficiently.
A massage can be an effective motivational tool
As mentioned above, people are working longer hours than they used to. So how can an employer encourage them to work harder? Giving them something back that makes them know the company cares can be a great motivator.
Improves general office and interpersonal dynamics
Healthy people tend to be happier, and happier people are easier to work with!
Reduce recruitment costs
Employee well-being programmes are known to boost employee morale. When considering a move to another employer, employees will consider the whole package, and if their current employer offers them health-related benefits, they are more likely to stay put. Also, they are more likely to feel that their employer values them, and are more likely to talk favourably about their employer. These factors can make it easier to find and attract new employees, further cutting down on recruitment costs.
Massage is just one option that can be offered to employees to help them look after their health as part of a tailored well-being programme. Whether your company is large or small, offering your staff a regular massage in the workplace is a cost-effective strategy which can help both staff and business.
JSB Therapies provides massage therapy in the workplace. See our Corporate Massage page for more details.