Businesses across Cornwall have been awarded for their efforts in looking after the health of their employees.

The annual Healthy Workplace conference and awards ceremony took place at the Royal Cornwall Showground recently, celebrating the efforts of over 40 businesses from a variety of sectors.

131 million working days are currently lost because of sickness absence every year in the UK, with 42% of employees having at least one sickness absence in a year. There’s an estimated £30 billion price tag for employers due to the cost of presenteeism (attending work while ill).

The conference saw Professor Dame Carol Black, Public Health England and NHS expert advisor, give the key note speech on improving the welfare of working people. Attendees took part in workshops on changing the culture on domestic abuse, presenteeism, resilience & sleep and suicide postvention – the support offered to employees if a colleague dies by taking their own life.

The Healthy Workplace team awards bronze, silver and gold level awards based on the achievements of the businesses throughout the year. Workplace health is recognised as a big factor in tackling levels of sickness absence, particularly with workplace related stress.

Schemes implemented over the year include daily plank and push up challenges, introducing free fruit bowls and healthy snack stops, laughing yoga, hydration awareness and training staff as mental health first aiders.

Sally Hawken portfolio holder for wellbeing and public health said: “The Healthy Workplace scheme is a nationally recognised and admired programme for the work they do not only in reducing sickness absences for companies but improving the health of our residents.

“We want to make sure we are doing our best to help businesses in Cornwall prosper, and reducing staff absences is one way we can help do so. Looking after employees is key because staff are a company’s greatest asset and a happy workforce helps create a healthy workforce. A good job can be one of the most important parts of our lives. Work can be hugely rewarding and very sociable. It can provide an everyday boost to our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.”

If businesses are interested in finding out more, or signing up to the Healthy Workplace programme they can find more information on its website.

For a full list of winners, click here.