Hospital Offers Laughter Classes To Cut Staff Sickness Absence Levels


Hospital managers at a UK hospital have launched a number of different initiatives in a bid to improve the health of employees and cut staff sickness. The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust now offers free laughter yoga therapy, hypnotherapy weight loss and healthy eating cookery classes.

This move was in response to an increase in staff sickness and long-term absences over the last year. Reports showed an increase in sickness absence rates at the hospital from 3.4 to 4.5 per cent in the six months from last August. There are more than 10,700 staff within the Trust, who will have access to these well-being activities.

What is laughter yoga therapy?

Laughter yoga therapy involves voluntary, rather than spontaneous, laughter. Working in groups, participants use eye contact and playfulness techniques, with prolonged forced laughter becoming both contagious and real. It is based on the premise that participants elicit the same benefits from making themselves launch as they do from spontaneous bursts. Incorporating yogic breathing, the activity is said to bring increased levels of oxygen to the brain and body.

Studies have shown laughter yoga boasts benefits in terms of mood, cardiovascular health. There are reports pain thresholds becoming higher after laughter and that it has a role in social bonding.

There are also other free and discounted therapies and activities, aimed at promoting a healthier lifestyle amongst staff. These include exercise classes, sports activities, rambling and more.

Why is health and well-being important?

Sickness absence can be a difficult cycle to break. In environments where employees are frequently off sick the remaining staff suffer too, as their workload gets heavier. With an increased workload and more pressure in the workplace, remaining employees may suffer from stress, or increased illness and infections from being tired, overworked, and run-down. In a situation like this, negativity also breeds amongst the workforce.

Putting preventative measures in place to encourage healthy habits such as exercise and healthy eating can help reduce sickness absence levels. It can also promote a feeling of wellbeing and happiness throughout the business, which breeds productivity and staff loyalty.

At OHBM we can advise HR and management, and support employees, to help your business manage sickness absence proactively and effectively. Our concise reports help you make informed decisions about individual staff members, and we can work with you on either a regular or ad-hoc basis.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation discussion about your business.