Experts Reveal: The Biggest Talking Points in Corporate Wellness in 2018

Corporate Wellness trends - HRV Summit

Firstbeat’s 2018 HRV Summit saw experts and industry leaders from corporate wellness gather at Lords Cricket Ground on May 3-4. The two-day event included plenty of healthy and thought-provoking discussion around occupational health, and how to help employers help employees be at their best both mentally and physically.

With such an array of forward-thinking individuals from around the globe in one room, it was the perfect opportunity to ask them what they see as the biggest issues in corporate wellness right now.

Duncan Young – Lendlease, Head of Workplace Health & Wellbeing

Stress and Fatigue

“We’re finding that in our ‘Always On’ world that stress and fatigue is a big issue. When you look at sleep data, we’re literally not getting the kind of restorative sleep that we need at night, so we’ve got to bring back restorative breaks into our day.

“We see some really unusual statistics. We’ve got an Executive Assistant who loves PowerPoint so she shows good recovery data when she works on PowerPoint presentations. And we’ve seen others who get really strong restorative breaks when they connect with others outside. This can be encouraged through walking meetings, taking in the biosphere etc.

“Getting the restorative aspect back into work is going to be really important because the hours of our work aren’t changing. 10-12-hour days are quite common in our industry so understanding that level of recovery is really important.”

Fact: In the UK, 1 in 3 people never leave their workplace during the day and 56 percent never take their full lunch break (Study carried out by Total Jobs in September 2017)

Ole Petersen – FitImJob, Business Economist, Trainer, Speaker

‘Private Drama’

“Amongst the people we work with in the financial industry, banks and insurance, there are people who are struggling with performance management and energy management on a day-by-day basis. And we often find out only a small part is due to the working life.

“In our industry, for about 20 years it was very common to say, ‘Here’s work and work is the problem and work is always overload, long hours etc.’ This exists but we’ve found that in two thirds of the cases involving people going through burnout or a period of depression, it is a combination with what is happening outside of work.

“Because there is demanding work – which one could manage – but when you have the additional private drama this can bring the system to a breaking point.”

Firstbeat says: ““Your ‘load of life’ takes into account workload but also things like your exercise, your family situation and all the things you do outside of work.” – Tiina Hoffman, Exercise Physiologist.

Colin Thomas – BMI Healthcare, Clinical Lead Physiologist


“You could say sitting is essentially the new smoking. There’s a lot of research coming out now around it being one of the worst things we can do for our health. I’ve tried having standing meetings and it’s not easy to get that buy-in but taking breaks is important. In work, most of us are going to be sitting for 90% of the day and it is the question of how do you get around that? How do you get people up off the ground?

“Standing desks are starting to catch on, and there’s got to be things we can do to get people up off their backsides and more active overall.”

Fact: The World Health Organization estimates physical inactivity is the primary cause of approximately 27 percent of diabetes and approximately 30% of ischaemic heart disease.

Tim Wright – Firstbeat, Commercial Director

Mental Health

“I’m a bit stressed about mental health right now. I saw a figure recently showing mental health issues had overtaken physical health or MSK injuries and I scratched my head and thought, aren’t the two related?

“I get the benefit of going to a lot of companies and looking at different projects and there is a real change around mental health, which is a good thing and we should acknowledge how important that is. However, looking at preventative health and behavioral change is viewed upon much like an NHS or private hospital where you’ve got physios in one department, mental health in another, and others separately. The challenge is to educate how it all comes together and how it is all integrated.”

Fact: According to research by the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace.

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