Time to get fit for work

Anglian Water has launched an initiative around keeping employees fit and healthy at work including mini desk workouts.
Anglian Water has launched an initiative around keeping employees fit and healthy at work including mini desk workouts.

EMPLOYERS are being invited to sign their companies up to a programme designed to keep frazzled employees firing on all cylinders.

One of the first organisations to sign up to the Staying Healthy at Work programme (SHAW) is Anglian Water, which has staff based in Hertfordshire.

Anglian Water says healthy lifestyles have a positive impact on staff morale and on reducing costs of absenteeism.

More than 1,600 of the water company’s workers attended health and safety behaviour workshops and informative interactive stands covering nutrition, managing stress in everyday life and information on alcohol, smoking and illegal substances.

Sickness absence is estimated to cost the UK economy £16.8billion.

And employees who don’t take a lunch break are estimated to lose British businesses some £50million a day after their productivity crashes from about 3pm.

The SHAW campaign is run in partnership between NHS East of England and Business in the Community (BITC). Employers are being asked to join a network and commit to a five-step framework to introduce health and wellbeing practices to the workplace.

Gary Theobald, head of HR at NHS East of England, said: “People in Britain work the longest hours with an average of 42.4 hours a week compared to a European average of 40.5 hours, yet the country lags behind the rest of the developed world in most productivity measures.

“Simply put, employees’ level of wellness can sustain or erode their level of engagement of productivity.”

Rachel Dyson, community relations manager at Anglian Water, has been appointed as an employer champion for the programme as the organisation has already implemented healthy workplace approaches.

Anglian Water will share best practice and highlight the benefits of signing up to the SHAW programme including the free support and tips available to increase employee engagement and reduce sick days.

Ms Dyson said: “The most precious resource a business has is its people.

“The health and wellbeing of our employees is of paramount importance to us and it benefits everyone involved – it is good for staff, the business, customers and the wider community.”

She added that healthy lifestyles have a positive impact on staff morale and reducing absenteeism costs.

Debbi Christophers, head of business development at BITC, believes businesses should be working to promote healthy behaviour and supporting staff with health challenges to remain at work wherever possible.

Ms Christophers said: “Research shows that a structured workplace health and wellbeing programme can reduce sickness absence by an average 30 and 40 per cent and that engaged employees generate 43 per cent more revenue than disengaged ones.

“Businesses should not feel like they have to tackle these issues alone.

“By signing up to the Employer Network they will be able to join forces with businesses of all sizes in the region which are facing similar challenges to share ideas and resources.

“SHAW can also put businesses in touch with services and support, many of which are free, to create an environment where employees can flourish.”

For more details about the scheme and to join the Employer Network visit www.stayinghealthyatwork.co.uk/employernetwork