Health at work

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A healthy workforce is a happier, more productive workforce, explains Workplace Health Coordinator Rachel Faulkner

Having a healthy and productive workforce should be every organisation’s ambition, especially in today’s competitive business environment. The key to survival and success is taking care of the most important asset, the staff!

The workplace is a key setting for improving health. Over half the UK population spends an estimated 60% of their waking hours at work; therefore the workplace is undeniably an important setting for promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Cost of Ill Health

  • In 2006 around 175 million working days were lost due to illness and it is estimated that the annual economic costs of sickness absence and ‘worklessness’ is over £100 billion.
  • Average [annual] cost of absence per employee was £666 [CIPD 2008].
  • Those who smoke six cigarettes a day or more have a 34% higher incidence of being absent than non-smokers and a 10% higher incidence of being absent for longer.
  • Stress related conditions and musculoskeletal disorders are now the most common reported causes of sickness absence.

The Benefits to YOU:

  • Help to attract and retain employees
  • Increase productivity
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Reduce workplace injuries
  • Improve work-ability among older employees
  • Enhance corporate image
  • Improve workforce morale
  • Contribute to controlling insurance costs

Free Support in Cornwall

The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Healthy Workplace Award is a county standard of good practice and quality mark of health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Its aim is to act as a toolkit to encourage employers to think about ways to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees.

Free NHS Support can be offered in the workplace, ranging from health checks to stop smoking support; from mental health awareness training to healthier eating advice.

Good Practice

In recognition of its on-going dedication to its work force’s wellbeing, Rodda’s achieved the Gold Healthy Workplace Award.

Nicholas Rodda, MD of the company, comments: “Our employees are at the heart of our family business. It makes good commercial sense to ensure that whenever possible, the people who make up our company are happy and healthy.”

Rodda’s is one of only a few companies in Cornwall to implement wellbeing procedures, such as free six monthly health checks (carried out by the Duchy Hospital), 24-hour counselling facilities, free fruit, and weight management classes; all with the end goal of promoting a happier and healthier working environment.

Creamery operative Mark Cooper comments: “I thought that I was fit and healthy and had no concerns about having a health check. To my surprise I was informed that I had high blood pressure and was referred to my GP. Because of this health check, I am now receiving medication and monitored closely by my GPs practice.”

The Silver Award went to Event Cornwall. Director Claire Eason-Bennett says: “Since the knowledge and skill of our team is our primary asset, supporting the staff and volunteer team at Event Cornwall through developing a healthy workplace was an obvious evolution for us. The Healthy Workplace Awards gave us a structure to introduce the programme even though we are the smallest company to have achieved an award.”

www.behealthyatwork.org

This article first appeared in the May 2011 issue of Business Cornwall magazine