Green, healthy, prosperous – the Eastleigh Business Conference
goPhysio’s Non-Clinical Director, Fiona, was invited to join the panel at Eastleigh Borough Council’s ‘Green, healthy, prosperous’ business conference on 27th June, at The Point in Eastleigh.
Joined by over 60 local businesses, the aim of the conference was to bring together senior representatives from some of the borough’s big brands, as well as up-and-coming companies, to share their experience and knowledge of making businesses healthier and more environmentally friendly.
Sustainability and Green Practice
The conference opened with an interesting overview of the Emerging Local Plan 2016-2036. The first panel, chaired by Lee Peck of Lee Peck Media, discussed best practice in promoting sustainability and green practices in the Borough. We heard from local bus company Blue Star, The Swan Centre’s manager and from Southern Water. It was inspiring to hear about initiatives and schemes that have been such a success in reducing waste, promoting ‘green’ practices and making businesses more sustainable.
Plastic was a hot topic and it was fascinating to hear about the Re Fill Scheme, a national, practical tap water campaign that aims to make refilling your bottle as easy, convenient and cheap as possible by introducing refill stations on every street. Such a great, simple idea and goPhysio signed up immediately. So, if you’re passing by us in Chandlers Ford, you can pop in and fill up your water bottle. Wherever else you are, just download the Refill app and see if there’s a Refill station near you – easy!
Health and Wellbeing
Next up was the Health & Wellbeing section of the event.
Fiona was invited to discuss issues surrounding best practice in promoting health and well-being among employees. She was joined on the panel by Alex Ryding, Environmental Health and safety Manager of Cooper Vision and Lynne Miller, Director of HR and Development at Ageas.
In 2011, an independent review commissioned by the DWP calculated that sick pay and associated expenditure cost companies £9 billion per year. Nestle reckons that the management of these sickness-related absences is 2.5 times more expensive than paying the associated salary.
Earlier this year, a study of 32,000 workers by Vitality Health in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Mercer, concluded that many employees now turn up for work when too sick to be useful. This phenomenon, known as presenteeism, combined with the more familiar absenteeism, could be costing a staggering £73 billion per year. Meanwhile, the Workplace Research Foundation reports a significant link between engagement and productivity.
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD’s), so issues affecting bones, joints, muscles and soft tissues, like back pain, neck pain or repetitive strains, comprise of up to 55% of workplace absences. So have a massive impact for employers. At goPhysio, assessing and managing MSD’s is exactly what we do, so Fiona was expertly placed to provide an insight into this area.
The key areas of discussion that all the panelists agreed on, were:
- Employers must create a positive working environment for employees to encourage a healthy workplace
- Regular breaks are an important part of being healthy at work
- Initiatives such as step challenges, run clubs, walking meetings and cycle to work schemes are well received by employees and support and encourage a healthy workplace
- Prevention of workplace injuries should be a priority
- Physical and mental health are inextricably linked
- An open and honest culture helps promote wellbeing in the workplace
- Resilience training is a valuable skill for employees
- Wherever possible, employees should stay at work – this has been shown to improve outcomes physically and mentally
At goPhysio, we advocate many simple solutions to creating a healthy workplace, reducing the risk of MSD’s and minimising their impact. These small but practical tips can be adapted and utilised whether you work from home or a large corporation.
- Embedding a culture of being an active and healthy workplace, leading from the top, is crucial.
- Small changes can have a big impact- encourage what we call, an active working environment. Move the printer to a central location that people have to get up and walk to, use task based activities e.g. stand every time you’re on the phone, have walking or standing meetings, ensure people take a good break every day, introduce flexible working patterns, reduce email use – go and speak to someone, set workplace challenges with activity monitors or pedometers, see up running clubs or promote ParkRuns. There are so many simple ideas!
- Use a variety of workstation set ups. Seated desks, height adjustable desks so you can spend some time standing, perching areas, even working from the floor – variety is key!
- Think about having tangible incentives. Rewards for activity, using steps, workplace challenges. Everybody loves bit of healthy competition.
- Have an open honest culture to report any pain / injury. If left brushed under carpet, there is much more potential for the injury to become a longer term problem and more difficult to tackle. Employees shouldn’t be afraid to openly discuss any issues with fear of consequences.
- Think about having channels for early intervention if an injury is reported. Evidence shows that early intervention is beneficial in prevuing long term issues. So getting the right assessment and treatment, with a realistic management plan is crucial.
- Education is such an important factor. Pain does not always equate to damage and staying in work wherever possible gives the best outcome. We need to remove the fear that often surrounds pain and injury.
In order to be effective, workplace health and wellbeing strategies must be embedded in the fabric of the organisation, be accessible and well-promoted, supported by senior leadership, and, importantly, offer employees tangible incentives to participate.
goPhysio were delighted to receive an award recognising their contribution to a healthy community. We work directly with Eastleigh Borough Council to support their employee’s physical health by providing physiotherapy and rehabilitation. If this is something that your business would like to know more about then we’d love to hear from you and share how we can help you too. Just email fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org
It was such a positive afternoon and it is really encouraging to see how Eastleigh Borough Council are being proactive in tackling these issues for local businesses.