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A journalist with 13 years of experience on trade publications covering construction, local government, property, pubs, and transport.
September 13, 2017

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How wellbeing schemes benefit staff and firms

The UK’s Healthiest Workplace winners have been announced, focusing on firms that have outstanding wellbeing programmes for employees.

Top large companies included construction firms Skanska UK and Mott MacDonald, law firm Pinsent Masons, and manufacturer, Aggregate Industries came top in the large company category. The best medium sized firms included firms such as Thames Tideway and Adidas UK, and the best small businesses included Health Innovation Network and Mental Health First Aid England.

The survey of nearly 32,000 employees across 167 organisations covered small to large firms across both the public and private sector. It has been developed by insurance firm VitalityHealth in partnership with the Financial Times, research company Rand Europe, the University of Cambridge and HR consultants Mercer.

The decision-making process is overseen by an advisory board which includes the national lead for adult health and wellbeing at Public Health England, Justin Varney, and leading health and work expert, Dame Carol Black.

Part of business

Peter Simpson, chief executive of winning utility company Anglian Water told Andrew Jack of the Financial Times that wellbeing was written into the business plan and annual reporting.

He said to Jack that it should be a ‘strategic boardroom issue’ and employees should be on the balance sheet in the same was as cash.

One of Simpson’s innovations was the idea of ‘walking meetings’, where staff were encouraged to walk and talk rather than sit around a table.

Number of schemes

Another firm in the healthiest places to work list highlighted by Jack was the Health Innovation Network, which offers free yoga to staff as well as standing desks, mental health awareness training, book clubs and running clubs. Additionally, conversations between staff members in the office’s garden is also encouraged.

Chief executive of the firm, Tara Donnelly, also makes staff ‘disengage’ from emails with a ‘digital detox’ – employees are urged to not send emails after 7pm at night and not at all during non-work days.

She told Jack that, as a unit of the NHS and a public body, staff were here ‘only asset’ and as a result looking after them and retaining employees was a moral and business decision.

For more innovative workplace ideas, read Andrew Jack’s FT article here.

For the full list of healthiest workplace winners, click here.


What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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