Creating a Healthy Workplace
|Promoting good health is important in the workplace because, in business, people are the most valuable asset. Healthy, engaged employees show improved job performance and productivity and taking care of staff can help reduce sickness absence, high turnover levels and low morale. Healthy employees can be up to three times more productive than those in poor health.
The average employee spends over a third of their waking hours at work, making the workplace an ideal place to help people make positive lifestyle changes and create a more engaged and productive workforce.
There are many simple and easy ways you can support your employees to improve their health and the health of your business.
Healthy Peterborough’s Workplace Health Service helps employers to develop a co-ordinated, planned and sustained programme to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce. Public Health in Peterborough work in partnership with Living Sport, the local County Sport Partnership to deliver our funded workplace health Service for Peterborough employers.
We can help you with the following:
- Training and supporting Workplace Health Champions who will develop and support health and wellbeing activities
- Support to identify and train Workplace health champions who are then able to drive in-house health campaigns
- Provide mental health training and ongoing support through our networks
- Provide support for policy development and its implementation
- Sign post employers to health partners who can support on-site health and wellbeing events
- Access to the WorkHealthy website, which will have up-to-date information on staying healthy at work and is also a great way to find out about local services that can support you and your employees
- Provide free access to ongoing wellbeing networks to support employer wellbeing leads and health champions to keep them updated on the latest good practice
- To provide free access to the workplace challenge web portal to support employees physical wellbeing
The benefits of a healthy workforce
Inactive employees are less productive by 5 to 6 hours per week than active employees (Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine 2007)
26% of the workforce are living with a health condition or disability
24% of the adult population are obese and this is set to rise to 40% in 2025 (www.ic.nhs.uk)
Research shows that the implementation of a structured workplace health and wellbeing programme can decrease sickness absence by up to 30% and improve job satisfaction by 10–25% (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2008)
On average, smokers take 4.4 more days off work each year than non-smokers
Right now, 1 in 6 of the workforce is dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or stress
Work is the biggest cause of stress in people’s lives, more so than debt or financial problems
What will you gain as an organisation?
Reduce the cost of workplace absence through sickness, increasing productivity:
Physically active employees take 27% fewer sick days
Several programmes have seen rates lower by 12–36% and a reduction in absenteeism costs of 35% (Kreis J and Bodeker W, 2004)
Well-designed wellness programmes can increase employee job satisfaction and reduce staff turnover by 10–25% (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2008)
Benefits for your workforce
Introducing a workplace health and wellbeing programme will show your employees that they are valued and respected. Because people spend so much time at work it’s the ideal place to give advice on ways they can become healthier, happier and fitter.
What drives investment in employee health and wellbeing?
An ageing and increasingly diversified workforce requiring greater support to remain productive at work
Increasing levels of chronic disease in the general population
Rising costs of ill-health in the workplace associated with increased absenteeism and reduced performance
Workplace Health Champions
What does a Workplace Health Champion do?
A Health Champion within a workplace is a volunteer who acts as a point of contact within the organisation for employers who want to promote the health of their employees.
They are trained to have a basic understanding of the principles of health and wellbeing and how best to promote them with their colleagues.
A Health Champion might initiate, for example, walking groups or events where information and activities to improve health are available.
What does Health Champion training involve?
The training takes place over one day with a short, multiple choice test at the end. It outlines key health and wellbeing challenges and covers areas such as physical activity, healthy eating and stopping smoking. Participants gain the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) Level 2 award in Understanding Health Improvement, which is an accredited qualification.
Who is it for?
The course is suitable for anyone interested in the health of employees, but it could be particularly useful for human resource teams, health and safety officers, line managers or union representatives. If organisations want more than one person to undertake the training we recommend that they are from different sites, divisions or departments within the business.
Training is delivered through open sessions which run mid-county throughout the year at no cost to employers. In-house sessions are available subject to a course fee. Trained health champions will receive regular and ongoing updates through twice yearly funded health champion networks.
What businesses can do
In order to ensure your workplace health programme meets the needs of your business it is important to develop and implement plans which make use of resources as effectively as possible. A simple workplace health strategy can also assist with evaluating and measuring the impact of health and wellbeing initiatives on staff and the wider business.
The World Health Organisation has developed an easily adaptable, eight-step tool for organisations developing a healthy workplace strategy:
Key stakeholders need to be engaged. Employees’ and representative groups’ needs inform the health and wellbeing strategy or plan.
At this point the team of potential Workplace Health Champions should be identified. The champion group should include people from all sectors and levels of the business. This is a good time to approach our partners Living Sport for advice and support and contacnt their programme manager.
Once Workplace Health Champions have been trained it is important to measure the current situation. Organisations may wish to gather baseline data on sickness absence, staff turnover and any issues that have arisen from workplace inspections and risk assessments. This is also the time to carry out a staff survey to assess the health and wellbeing concerns of staff.
Wellbeing leads for workplaces can access the funded Practitioner networks, led by our partners Living Sport which allow employers to share good practice and keep updated on the latest wellbeing initiatives/toolkits from Public health and associated partners.
Workplace Health Champions now need to prioritise which health areas to focus on.
Workplace Health Champions should then put together a plan of general activities (e.g. stop smoking advisor visit) and broad timescales. Budget, facilities and resources need to be included.
Implement the action plan!
It is important to examine what is working and what isn’t. For example, an additional staff survey can be run a year into a wellbeing programme to measure the positive impact upon staff health. Sickness absence rates before and after implementation of a programme can provide useful evaluation data.
Make changes based on evaluation results to improve the health and wellbeing programme. Also ensure successes are acknowledged!
Healthy Workplace Training and Networking
|There are a number of free wellbeing training sessions and supporting networks to help the wellbeing lead develop and maintain their in-house wellbeing programme. This includes the training of health champions and training to reduce stigma around mental wellbeing.
Accredited Mental Health First Aid Lite training
This Mental health first aid lite session is MHFA England accredited. The training is provided at no cost to Peterborough workplaces. This half day training is delivered by our partners Living Sport whose accredited MHFA trainers deliver the training through regular open sessions held mid- county in Cambridgeshire.
Target audience: Employers based in Peterborough aimed at workplace health champions, line managers, Health and Safety and HR professionals.
Course aims: To give you and others within your organisation a wider understanding of some of the issues associated with mental health; to help you work more effectively with people living with mental health issues; to understand the aims of the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course; and allow you to experience a taste of the content of the full 2 day MHFA course.
Course outputs: Participants should be able to identify the discrimination surrounding mental health problems; define mental health and some mental health problems; relate to other people’s experience; help support people with mental health problems; look after their own mental health; and be a point of contact for people who want to engage in wellbeing activities (health issues, involvement in health campaigns etc.)
Cost: Free to workplaces in Peterborough, who can access the training through our partners Living Sport
Workplace Health Champions training
Since 2009 workplace wellbeing has been supported by a number of Public Health partners in the East of England with some 350 trained champions supporting their organisations to improve employee wellbeing. Each champion has been trained in the Royal Society of Public Health workplace champions training, ‘Understanding Health Improvement’ trained by an experienced workplace RSPH accredited trainer. The training has allowed them to build capacity and sustain the momentum of their workplace wellbeing strategy.
The training: RSPH Workplace health champions training-‘Understanding Health improvement’. This one day training course, which leads to an accredited Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement, covers examples of inequalities in health within the UK, how individuals can help others improve their health through effective communication and some of the lifestyle factors that can impact on health and well-being. The course is assessed by a multiple-choice test consisting of 30 questions.
Target audience: Available only to workplaces based in Cambridgeshire, aimed at wellbeing leads and staff within an organisation.
Course aims: To give you and others within your organisation a wider understanding of health inequalities within the workplace, to enable champions to sign post staff to health support locally and support the wider organisational wellbeing strategy.
Course outputs: Participants should be able to improve their understanding of national health inequalities and local support for employees; Improved their communication skills and ability to listen and sign post to wellbeing support
Cost: FREE training funded through the Public Health workplace offer. For more information or book a place contact Living Sport
Wellbeing Practitioners Network
This employer led strategic health network runs quarterly at no cost for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire’s wellbeing leads to enable them to keep abreast of the latest health initiatives/toolkits and share good practice with like-minded employers.
Workplace Health Champions Network
This free twice yearly practical network runs to support our trained health champions to upskill them on the latest wellbeing toolkits and campaigns, and to share good practice. This is closed session is invite only through our partners living sport.
Free to workplaces in Peterborough, who can access these networks through our partners Living Sport.
Workplace Health Partners
Living Sport can also signpost you to other partners health offers for workplaces including on-site NHS health checks/mini MOTs and lunch bites; and health themed lunch sessions.
Living Sport works alongside a number of other health and wellbeing partners so can sign post employers to other local wellbeing initiatives including on-site NHS health checks/mini mots, Be Active Be Health lunch bites, Stop Smoking initiatives to name but a few.