Councils set a great example by encouraging more active workers

Local councils have embraced a government stair-climbing initiative, and in the process are setting a great example to their more sedentary private and public sector colleagues.

Councils have had a tough time of things since 2010, what with having to cope with austerity and deep cost-cutting and efficiency savings. Nevertheless, many councils up and down the country are still managing to set a great example in terms of encouraging their employees to get up and about and be more active. A number of local councils across Britain have successfully been boosting staff wellbeing, activity and productivity by taking part in a Department of Health backed stair-climbing initiative.

The StepJockey Local Government Stair Challenge has seen local authorities across England completing month-long health challenges in which staff use the stairs instead of the lift.In all, some 200 teams have burnt nearly 400,000 calories by climbing around four million stairs in 50,000 journeys.

StepJockey is a health tech start-up that was seed-funded by the Department of Health in a bid to fight sedentary behaviour within the workplace. The initiative has come as, separately, a study by health insurance firm CS Healthcare has concluded public sector workers are by and large fitter than the national average.

An analysis of data from 4,000 health checks over two years found half (50%) of public sector workers had a high body mass index (BMI), with 14% classified as obese. But this compared with national population averages of 62% and 25% respectively.

While these two stories are discrete, it is refreshing for public sector employers to be making the news for a positive health and wellbeing story for once, given that so often the public sector gets criticised for its high levels of absence compared with the private sector. Another positive element is the potential example local authorities are giving to other employers, both public sector and private.

Combine this with the new emphasis the NHS is putting on staff health and wellbeing, and we potentially start to see a compelling template building up that other employers perhaps could, if they so wished, learn from. Then there’s also simply the powerful message this all sends out in terms of the benefit of breaking the habit of sedentary working lifestyles.

As Claire McDonald, a fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and NHS behaviour change specialist, has put it: “Increasing movement within the workplace is a vital component of any preventative health strategy and it is wonderful to see local authorities embracing this approach and leading from the front in this way.

“Stair climbing is not only a powerful way to build short bursts of activity into your day but it is low cost and is accessible. It works for everyone in the office and not just the ‘sporty types’,” she added.

Melanie Stradling, occupational health advisor at BHWA member Medigold Health, concurs with this view. As she points out: “I feel that, medically, we should be encouraging employers to pay serious considerations to the health implications for their employees being desk-bound without taking an appropriate break.”

She cites examples where she worked with organisations to put in place lunchtime walking clubs and encouraged walking meetings. “Activity provides benefits to staff health, attendance levels and productivity. Medically according to researchers, people who sit for more than six hours a day are 40% more likely to die within 15 years than people who sit for less than three hours per day,” says Stradling.

But it also comes down to senior leaders and managers modelling and encouraging this sort of good, healthier behaviour. As Stradling adds: “As always, company culture only tends to change if management are on board and led by example.”

 

 

Latest News

The gap between the amount of alcohol consumed by men and women has...

Trident Medical Services (TMS) has today launched a new Sickness Absence...

BHWA Testimonials

Therapy Direct Logo

Game Changer

The Alliance has huge potential to simplify Occupational Health for employers and providers alike. Therapy Direct Healthcare now has a greater opportunity to help with physiotherapy and MSK services throughout the OH Arena.  We think the BHWA can be a game changer in our industry.

Ross Tomkins, Clinical Director, Therapy Direct Healthcare
Payplan Logo

This has got to be good news

We’re really pleased to be part of this important new initiative. The health of workforce has never been more important than now and so an initiative which helps make health and wellbeing services more accessible has got to be good news. We look forward to working with BHWA and promoting these important services to employers.

Paul Guy, PayPlan
Medigold Logo

Forward Thinking

As the CEO of Medigold Health, I am delighted we are Founding Members of BHWA. I believe a forward-thinking initiative like this is long overdue in the health and wellbeing at work sector, which is sometimes guilty of being too inert.

As pioneers in occupational health, we are excited to be part of an alliance which is at the forefront of championing and developing our industry via the specialists, organisations and individuals that work within it.

I am personally a firm believer in collaboration being the key to success ultimately, people learn from people.  This principle underpins many of the features of BHWA’s offering and this shared ethos is what first attracted us to contributing.

Alex Goldsmith, CEO, Medigold Health
Hire Fitness Logo

Perfect Vehicle to Help

We're excited to work with BHWA as we believe that more can be done by employers to engage with their staff and promote wellness at work. 

BHWA is the perfect vehicle to help and encourage employers to introduce health and fitness initiatives to help reduce absence and ultimately increase productivity

Paul Healey, Managing Director
Gipping Logo

Worth making time for

This initiative is worth making time for. It will encompass a superb blend of specialists, underpinning every essential to modern and progressive workplace health. As working environments now demand so much more from us all, it’s excellent to have effective solutions made readily available, providing Employers with access to so many ideas to help them thrive and stay competitive.

We’re happy to share our expertise and proud to be Founders. I’m looking forward to being part of an enjoyable community and building many strong and lasting working partnerships.

Mark Braithwaite, Managing director, Gipping Occupational Health
Heales Logo

Proud to be a founding member!

We must always work hard to understand the changes our clients are going through and the challenges they face. BHWA will link employers with providers to support that journey. We’re proud to be a founding member of the Alliance, which will bring together the many different disciplines involved in OH and wellbeing, promote OH to both small and large employers and help us bring more innovation to the field.

Eamonn Swanton, Chief Executive, Heales Medical
Ergability Logo

Enhancing awareness of workplace health

The BHWA is a great initiative. We look forward to working with fellow experts and organisations to enhance the awareness of workplace ergonomics and its ability to significantly improve the performance and health of businesses and their staff

Clyde Crawford, Director, Ergability
Cohort Logo

Essential practical resources that support customers and experts alike

We're proud to support the BHWA's mission to provide essential practical resources that support customers and experts alike. By pioneering this venture, which is the broadest if its kind to date, the resulting sharing of information and opportunities to network will open up a new world of communication which is vehemently needed - in a space which we might not otherwise have.

Maygen Carruthers, Medgate UK – Founder member
Cantab Logo

Exciting Initiative

As soon as we knew of this exciting initiative, we wanted to get involved.  There is a growing understanding that cognitive health determines what work we can do and for how long. Sharing our expertise and knowledge through the BHWA platform is a great way to help everyone make informed decisions.

John Picken, MD Cantab Corporate Health – Founder Member
Caer Logo

A ‘Must’ in today’s fast pace working environment

Caer Health are delighted to be a founding member of the BHWA, bringing workplace health specialists together to support those that need it is a must in today’s fast pace working environment.

Expert collaboration is only going to improve quality and service delivery, so having all this knowledge in one place just makes access to advice simple.

Neil Hill, MD, Caer Health Services