SHEFFIELD’S MOVE MORE MONTH WORKPLACE CHALLENGE JUNE 2018

DOWNLOAD CITY HOPSCOTCH PROJECT HERE: Move More Month – City Playground

Move More Month is the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicines’ initiative to encourage Employers to encourage more movement at work, or champion the benefits of physical activity. We do this using a Move More smartphone app and website https://www.movemoresheffield.com/ to track active minutes during the month of June.
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Awards for the most active Business are presented after the month, you can use social media to highlight your efforts as individuals / teams or as a business and all whilst encouraging others to move more. This feeds into Sheffield’s ambition to become the most active City in the UK by 2020.
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The challenge is free and you can sign up now using the link below – this will work for any other businesses you send this link to too. You just need team(s) of 10 people and an email address.
Registration is 5 minutes and can be done NOW. Once you have registered you will be prompted shortly to enter teams ready for the start of June.
You can be included in the Move More Month launch event. HR media and the regional papers will be involved covering businesses involved in Move More Month.
This year we are also looking at sponsored hopscotches either at business premises or some of the City Centre locations we have identified where you can have your business logo sprayed next to the temporary hopscotch.
Our hopscotches are designed to encourage people to have some fun and promote being active outside and can be sponsored at only £300 each.
Contact ajp28consultancy@gmail.com

AJP HEALTH AND WELLBEING CONSULTANCY

ajp

Cost effective Health and Wellbeing consultancy and support offered to business. Can be integrated into HR, H&S, Pay and Benefits, Corporate Social Responsibility and marketing.

Andy Picken – over 12 years public and private sector health and wellbeing project management experience. DIPHE Health Promotion, DIP Copywriting, IOSH Health Safety for Managers, BA (Hons) in Sport , Health & Management, HND Leisure management Emergency First Aid at work trained.

Currently work for the NCSEM (National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine) 2.5 days a week across the Yorkshire Region, B.Braun Medical Ltd as their employee health and wellbeing consultant 1 day a week and have clients such as John Lewis on an ad hoc basis I work with.

Previous work with Sheffield University students union, N Power, Living Street, Leeds Public Health and Sheffield City Council.

Available for long or short term projects.

SERVICE AND PRICE LISTS HERE:   price lists2017-18

 

 

Business Health ‘the new’ golf course

Employee Health and wellbeing programmes – on “COURSE” to take over “GOLF”!

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We all know that one sport became synonymous with business networking, deals and bringing Organisations together: Golf. It also conjured images up of being a more upper class sport, expensive equipment, driving the golf buggy – work colleagues in tow and staying over at some amazing locations. The sport of Directors and CEO’s. Of course that’s not totally true, but that’s the interpretation.

The principle of activities outside work creating synergy across business departments and indeed opening up new contacts across sectors hasn’t changed. Golf indeed gave that time between shots to talk business, a rather easier concept than talking during a 10k run with your heart bouncing around 75% of its maximum capacity!

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But what has changed is the digital environment we now operate within and that has made walking, outdoor pursuits, running and various physical challenges a part of business and very visible to other Companies and potential customers. A more accessible out of work activity than golf. Whether in a B2C or B2B environment that outside branding is vital to business. Ask brand experts or your marketing Guru’s.

 

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I wanted to carry a different perspective to the usual angle of H&W business cases in this article ; employee absences, risk reduction of type 2 diabetes, reduced MSK, improved mental health etc etc. If you don’t know about how to tackle these risk factors you should. Look around my blog for articles on the ROI, business case and long term projections of running a H&W programme.

This article looks at the power of customer reach through H&W programmes. I have decided to look at how H&W acts as a mechanism for marketing, principally social media. Social media needs fuel, and that fuel is new, fun and engaging content. Health and wellbeing is that fuel. Especially useful for business that operates in a ‘less cool’ sector, or without the brand funkiness of say A Nike or desirable brand WITH MASS APPEAL.

H&W evens out the field. For example B.Braun Medical Ltd I work with on a freelance basis provide medical equipment and products to the NHS and are innovators in their field with a reputation founded on ‘sharing expertise’. Operating in a predominately B2B environment gives little exposure of the brand to the more general population.

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However the employee H&W programme provides that lever. Employees have been filmed by Sheffield’s ‘OUTDOOR CITY’  running the Cities run routes as part of a promotion and came runners up as the most active workplace in Sheffield at an awards ceremony held at Westfield health for Move More. Just two examples of many this year.

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Move More is the Cities ambition and strategy to become the most active City in the UK by 2020 and is run through the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine. B.Braun Medical have worked with Move More and thus made links right across the public, private and VCS Sectors – beyond their traditional markets.

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Active employees quite happily carry the business brand around localities during fundraising challenges, triathlons, marathons – you name it. This means health and wellbeing has become a marketing machine in its own right. B.Braun even have their own in house brand for the programme.

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Considering the average Facebook user has 338 friends (Source: Brandwatch) and videos have the highest engagement rates those post selfie videos and photos by 20/30 people could potentially be reaching 9000 people. Free!

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And with employee health and wellbeing being predicted by Marketing week to be one of the trends of 2018, if you haven’t took note then maybe 2018 is the year you do. Not only is it a proactive approach to protecting your workforces health (principally my priority), contributing to the bottom line, it is also a highly visible company benefit that’s an excellent driver in any social media or marketing strategy. H&W trend 2018

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The Financial times wrote an article on health and wellbeing being the ‘cool’ company benefit.  The likes of Vitality are rewarding healthy behaviours with some innovative technologies. Westfield Health are centred around ‘choose smarter’, live better – supporting health and wellbeing. Nuffield Health also provide a full health and wellbeing service partnering with the Vitality platform.

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Brand exposure is about timing as much as it is targeting. Trends are one way to do this but often disappear as quick as they come. Therefore preparing a solid health and wellbeing plan now will have much wider benefits than just the health of your staff. It’s a business driver and therefore another reason its importance should rise on the boardroom agenda.

It is also a trend that unlike most is probably here to stay. H&W contributes to HR engagement strategies, Health and Safety agendas and more and more the pay and benefits arena. For example the British Safety Council are particular active on Wellbeing as a driver of Health and Safety compliance and good practice. Culture change is the objective.

But now hopefully this article has made you aware of another indirect benefit of employee H&W programmes. A benefit that has appeared quietly on the back of social media but offers an opportunity to reach audiences untapped.

In the World of talent recruitment and attracting the best people to spearhead your business check these survey results out.

Capita Employee Benefits Insight Report arevealed that 44.8 percent of respondents would judge an employer based on the quality of the health and wellbeing packages they offer.

This is particularly valued by higher earners where nearly half (48.8) percent of employees earning over £45,000 a year said they would evaluate their employer or potential employer on the strength of their commitment to employee wellbeing. This suggests it’s NOT just the pull of the salary figure and company car.

And last but not least the cost of such initiatives? Well, apart from benefits such as cycle to work schemes, health insurance, saving plans and access to virtual GP’s etc with a bit of time and planning additional benefits can be built up through an in-house H&W programme / calendar.

Check out one of the companies I work with and who I have referenced in this article: B. Braun Medical Ltd. This 2018 H&W programme (not including my time) is roughly done for around £5000 per 6 months. See what is delivered for that amount of investment B.Braun H&W 2018 Summary

In marketing terms alone (forgetting long term cost savings in terms of staff ill health) consider this. The average price for a full page local paper advert is £3,000 and for a National paper £27,000. The social media reach of a H&W programme massively outperforms these media offerings.

And H&W provides a revolving carousel of content and positive marketing stories. A printed story is set in stone once it is published. Your next story costs the same. But in the social media world a clever article or story with a Press Release will get picked up by media anyway to add value to their publication. Best bit: FREE!

We also know quirky marketing works well and in the PR world is the bread and butter of media reach. Such examples are the tug of war we ran with England’s strongest man in business that really did ‘PULL’ in some social media reach.

So maybe now is the time to give some serious thought to how you can embed a health and wellbeing programme across your staff. And if you are struggling there are free resources you can get involved in.

June 2018 sees the annual SHEFFIELD move more workplace challenge take place which provides a website that logs steps and active minutes over the course of a month to see who can be the most active. The publicity is huge and the competitiveness drives the fun of being involved. Best of all its free to Sheffield business.

 

If you are reading this and would like your own in house activity challenge across your business we can provide a bespoke website platform and run it for you. With advice on how to promote your initiative to outside audiences. It is also a great way to get people moving – especially important for desk based workforces.

Examples of some of B.Braun Medical Ltd’s media coverage and Move More collaboration.

http://www4.shu.ac.uk/mediacentre/sheffield-set-%E2%80%98move-more%E2%80%99-again

https://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/issues/july-online-2016/b-braun-medical-holds-employee-wellbeing-activity-week-for-staff/

 

Andrew Picken

ajp28consultancy@gmail.com

Health and Wellbeing Consultant

National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (Sheffield)

Sprotborough

Doncaster

DN5 8EZ

07887400202

Twitter: @AJPConsultant

Facebook: manbeast28 / Healthinbusiness28

The ‘Health’ in safety and the ‘safety’ in health

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Health and wellbeing – an essential employee and employer benefit

We know there are around 131 million days lost due to ill health and an estimated £9 billion spent on illness and associated costs at work. It’s staggering. We know that MSK –musculoskeletal – issues (31 million days lost)  is the top health at work issue followed by colds (27 million days lost) and stress, anxiety or depression (15 million days lost). Source: Public Health England.

We know the emerging trends. On average over 7 hours is spent sat down (including driving to and from work) with the USA National library of medicine suggesting over 8 hours in its study. Being sedentary is a threat. MSK and stress feed off the prolonged time we spend sat down, often under pressure.

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Just like improving work practices, office ergonomics, RIDDOR protocols and so forth, wellbeing deserves the same focus. It’s the elephant in the room, the darkening shadow, the intangible becoming the tangible. The statistics reveal its sinister intentions.

Working lives are busy. Time is a precious commodity. Exercise is the chore, but regular movement is key to combatting some of these statistics. Public Health England’s campaign is about movement. Active 10 is just that. Packaging walking into a 10 minute window. There is a free website for any organisation to utilise full of free resources, facts and top tips on healthy workplaces. active 10

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Forget gyms and marathons. Think stairs, using the toilet on the top floor, an active commute or getting up and walking to your colleague’s desk instead of using the phone or instant message facilities. It arguably has more benefits in small regular movement patterns than that one gym session with no movement for the rest of the day.

And lets not forget the talent war currently on in Germany’s ‘Silver Economy, where blue chip business such as EON and Daimler are using H&W to lever employee loyalty and look after their employees. Not to mention the benefits of being active and having access to a H&W programme in terms of keeping people in work longer and mitigating some of the potential issues of a rapidly ageing workforce,

So not only is Health and Wellbeing transcending HR policy, H&S and Pay and benefits it is seen as a vehicle to remain competitive and aid communication. Lets be honest corporate fitness challenges such as running and obstacle courses are the new ‘GOLF COURSE’ in terms of networking, collaboration and business deals.#

Japan is another economy heavily reliant on an ageing workforce and to help manage that the office environment oozes movement with a movement based start to the day and regular breaks. They value that the human body responds to movement well so promote it. In the UK we have normalised sitting and removed movement from our lives. Although the evidence base is quickly gaining momentum to reverse that trend.

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Public health has struggled for years to convince the Nation to lead healthier lifestyles – with some spectacular failures. Seen as though we spend 35% (of our waking lives over a 50 year lifespan) at work it offers the perfect vehicle to instigate culture change.

Breaking the ‘it’s how we do things around here’ attitude and turning it toward a more proactive health and wellbeing approach is one such solution to turning the tide on the elephant in the room. The ‘safety’ of knowing we are tackling poor health at work is yet another key component of the preventative levers that span across the health and safety, HR an Pay and benefits agenda.

I am qualified to coach running and resistance exercise, and do this in some workplaces, but really the BIG TICKET stuff to culture change isn’t the exercise classes and even onsite gym (although both are beneficial).

The big ticket items are normalising activity (re in Japan movement takes place in the office not a gym environment). No one bats an eyelid. Its as normal as brushing your teeth a habitual activity.  Why gyms don’t always work

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And in today’s world of social media madness quirkiness plays its part in employee engagement. Stair use instead of the lifts, regular walking breaks and walking meetings are all a great way to enthuse staff and encourage movement – forget the gym in this instance.

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Or gamifying movement can help people to stay motivated and instigate long term behavioural change. See our shopping centre trial earlier in year at Meadowhall – Sheffield. Meadowhall fitness sensors

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What we can conclude is that Health and Wellbeing is a safety measure beyond enforcement, but activating a strategy to keep business safe from high ill health rates, protecting employees, attracting the best talent, been an innovator and thus gaining that competitive edge. Why wouldn’t you nurture that?

For all health and wellbeing strategy, delivery and evaluation contact me at ajp28consultancy@gmail.com

 

 

Andrew Picken

Health and Wellbeing Consultant

National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (Sheffield)

Sprotborough

Doncaster

DN5 8EZ

07887400202

Twitter: @AJPConsultant

Facebook: manbeast28 / Healthinbusiness28

Health at work is lame, evidence presented by the ‘Dame’ – Carol Black

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Dame Carol Black said it in her own words ‘ do not ignore the fact mental health and physical activity are intimately interwoven’. This was at Tuesday’s seminar in Manchester with Nuffield Health and Vitality. They launched their partnership where she spoke passionately on the importance, not enforcement, of the health and wellbeing function in business.

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James Murray MD of Vitality and Nuffield; Healthy workplace opened the event and spoke about the metrics of the Vitality platform to monitoring health and wellbeing, whilst Shaun Subel, the Director of Strategy at Vitality Health, gave an overview of analytics and insights into the ROI and business case for H&W.

I have a lot of experience in health in the workplace but Carol’s presentation was powerful. In my eyes Carol is the guru of health in the workplace after writing her paper on the subject nearly 10 years ago – we need to keep driving the business case for Health and wellbeing forward. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-for-a-healthier-tomorrow-work-and-health-in-britain

That report is the driving force behind the momentum health and wellness has gained over the last few years in the acknowledgement of the new way we work and the implications of how we have removed movement from our lives being one of the issues. And that movement, outdoor exposure and resulting chemical changes from exercise is becoming a key force in managing not just our physical health but managing mental health conditions too.

Indeed such is the correlation between mental and physical health, and the resulting benefits of exposure to natural environments whilst exercising, the notion of everyday movement is a key milestone in the way we approach patient centred care. How do we meaningfully impact on modifiable behaviours to mitigate the risk of conditions, mental and physical, which we have the lifestyle tools to provide solutions. And by addressing these factors Employers can control, to some extent, the impact on their business from ill health.

In essence the bottom line of this scenario is how do we reduce GP visits and entry points into the National Health Service to treat conditions that potentially can be prevented with proactive initiatives concerning public health. Based on a 50 year working life, 35% of our total waking hours (on the basis of 8 hours sleep) is at work. Therefore work is pivotal in its influence to provide opportunities to manage our health.

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Think depression, diabetes, obesity, MSK, and how we can offset often chaotic and fast paced lives with the need to balance and limit exposure to pressure through exercise, the social benefits of collective exercise, valued employees, time away from the desk, limits on technology use and that all important past time ‘just being outside’. Green is the new clean…clean up our lives. Back to basics – call it what you want, that walk holds far more value than just the benefits of exercise.

Another great statement from Carol was around the feelings of staff who feel they are valued, invested in and cared about by their Employer and line manager. That vibe if you like, a hard to measure by-product of feeling valued is of huge benefit to HR. Talent recruitment and staff retention. A health and wellbeing policy and programme that’s consistent, relevant and engaging is the tool to create this feeling. Incentives key to employee involvement.

 

Fact: valued employees are more loyal. When I feel valued and I recognise the company benefits available to me it sticks with me. I work harder for the business. I want to feel I deserve that value by proving my worth. In essence as humans we reciprocate – we essentially respond to a gesture or action with a corresponding one. In a work context this is usually high quality work and a dedication to the duties of the role.

Health and wellbeing opportunities in business stimulate reciprocation. The workforce will generally respond. Not only that but ‘word of mouth’ marketing by employees – keen to tell their family and social networks about their company benefits which is a self-propelled brand promotion exercise. Free!

But much more than that H&W is that pro-active mechanism that minimises business risk and ill health in an ageing workforce by recognising the plethora of information we have on the state of play and designing interventions to impact those statistics positiviely.

We are living longer. Our retirement age is older. MSK still poses a serious risk in our ‘sit down do nothing culture’. For example when we sit we exert 40% more pressure on our spine than standing. When we are slouching its over double the pressure at 90% more force than standing on the spine.

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If that isn’t a reason to move more I don’t know what is. Then there is mental health, that dark shadow at the back of the room costing the economy the largest amount of money ££££ in terms of duration of absences and returning to work.

Carol likes the word outcomes. Maybe originating from her clinical background but the term is highly relevant in health and wellbeing formulation and strategy. I like it. Input = deliverables / initiatives (behaviour change principles), output (results of intervention e.g. attendances / engagement levels), and outcome (reduced injuries / improved productivity / reduced absenteeism rates).

 

The metrics we use to analyse these health behaviours are getting better – technology playing a huge part in monitoring our behaviours to track present actions and encourage corrective actions.

But still underpinning all this is the boardroom. The steer of culture, the engine room of processes and the decision maker that effects the workforce. A clear belief in the value of H&W at this level and the corresponding investment will help harness the experience and knowledge of an ageing workforce, with the balance to manage and sustain ‘in work’ strategies. The future of business is bright.

I work for the NCSEM – as part of Move More Sheffield  – to achieve the City wide vision to get Sheffield the most active City in the UK by 2020 and also consult with B.Braun Medical on Employee Health and Wellbeing

https://www.movemoresheffield.com/

https://www.bbraun.co.uk/en.html

Andrew Picken

Health and Wellbeing Consultant

National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (Sheffield)

Sprotborough

Doncaster

DN5 8EZ

07887400202

Twitter: @AJPConsultant

Facebook: manbeast28 / Healthinbusiness28

Business Wise – On Exercise

Knees up to Health and Wellbeing in business.

 

I attended a seminar at B.Braun Medical Ltd where I work managing their Employee Health and Wellbeing programme this week. The subject was Aesculap knee replacements and how technology is increasingly playing a role in a surgeon’s ability to ensure greater success through precision alignment.

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It was fascinating. Working for a business that supplies such innovative products to the NHS it was just as interesting to hear about the role of exercise in rehabilitation. Equally so was the dispelling of myths such as  – ‘runners will be more prone to knee injury’.

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In fact marathon runners and people that exercise provide themselves with a loading effect on the knee that helps sustain knee health and thus are less prone to knee problems overall. Of course as we age things wear out and that’s fact. But again regular exercise plays a key role in maintaining function of our bodies through our lifespan from the cardio system, muscles, bone strength and joints.

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Our bodies, bones, tissues and muscle work in harmony to defy gravity and enable us to move. Our heart (a muscle), responds to physical activity adapting to the load we put on it. Our muscles adapt and increase in relation to our activity levels, weight training and the ‘loading effect’.

Indeed in Space, where gravity is nil, NASA conducted studies to try and maintain strength through exercising 5 hours a week in space but still saw up to a 32% decrease in peak power in the calf muscles. Wow. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/245.html

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This study is particularly interesting in relation to the older population in terms of how we lose strength (muscle atrophy), and indeed what might be the most effective exercise programmes to help maintain strength. Why? Independency, lower admission rate into hospitals and improving overall quality of life.

Back to the knee – post operation. Some trusts are using wearable devices to monitor patients with knee replacements to make sure they exercise. A successful outcome, as often described by B. Braun Medical is ‘ the forgotten joint’. In other words patients carry on as normal with the same functionality as a natural knee joint.

To ensure this outcome exercise plays a key role in loading the knee to ensure functionality. Not only that but confidence in the knee from the patient. We were designed to move. So exercise yet again comes up as the miracle drug.

Of course this is not forgetting the studies into exercise and positive mental health benefits, reducing type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart issues, obesity and the plethora of conditions and health problems we could reduce simply by moving. I have covered these in more depth in my previous blog posts.

Exercise therefore can play a vital role in business by creating a sustainable workforce, staff retention, decreased absences and accommodate an ageing workforce that is more than likely going to be in work longer. Reducing the wear and tear through inactivity, but providing a work environment that nurtures movement and promotes health is the same clinical method to managing pre and post operation patients. Whole health.

 

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So a healthy business needs a thriving workforce see – https://andrewjamespicken.com/2017/09/22/healthy-workforce-healthy-business/

Indeed a workforce that is adaptable, engaged, rewarded and provided with opportunities to move more will ensure business function and success. Just like the human body.

Employee Health and wellbeing (H&W) has undoubtedly gained momentum. No longer the elephant in the room, the monthly free fruit or odd exercise class thrown in, but now a function or dedicated role in Business with a pivotal part to play in responding to employees varying needs.

H&W links and transcends business functions. Human resources, Health and safety, pay and benefits, brand building, marketing and the emerging growth of CSR roles. The synergy is clear to see.

It’s a vehicle to aid communication, align departments in big business together or minimise employee absences in smaller businesses that can have huge effects on business operations. Its ‘ethical’ or ‘the right thing to do’ origins have been replaced by the business tangibles. Hard fact ill health costs. For instance mental health lone costs the economy a staggering £70 billion a year. (Source: Public Health England).

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H&W is also dynamic and diverse. In the not too distant future workforce demographics will change. It won’t be uncommon to have a young apprentice working alongside a 70 year old. The workforce is an ageing population. How do we cater for the different needs of our employees? Or how do we ensure ‘active ageing’ to support people in work longer through H&W embedded in HR strategy and Occupational Health services.

Workplace environments will have to change, policy will need to be redefined and therefore embedding such things as a proactive H&W strategy now will save £££’s compared to a reactive approach. Physical activity and movement is a compelling business case in itself to manage and reduce risk across multiple factors including long term absences attributed to conditions related to inactivity.

See the workplace health video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7Knn5qzMuM

How do we do this? 10 minutes of movement (walking for example) in regular bouts to break up long sitting periods at the desk. Stair use instead of the lifts – active travel – cycle / walking to work where feasible. It fosters the culture that we need to create. See Public Health England’s active 10 campaign ACTIVE 10

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With these changes comes opportunities and challenges. A one size fits all H&W approach isn’t the answer. A few sporadic health initiatives here and there are not enough to make a meaningful impact on the metrics used to evaluate its impact.

At Board level H&W is hard tangibles. What is the ROI / Business case and how does this work toward the corporate objectives and vision? This conjures a question. For H&W to even have a chance to succeed it must be at the very top level of an Organisation. It must be credible, recognised and feed into major business growth ambitions.

It is the same as someone going for a few walks to improve fitness levels every so often over a year. It’s not enough. To succeed in fitness the ‘exercise load’ needs to be consistent and regular. H&W strategy needs to be consistent and the load changed. Diversity, variety and underpinned by behavioural change methodology will help engagement.

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H&W is no longer a nice to have, but a mechanism to drive growth through a sustainable workforce and influence policy to reflect the changing world around us. The Private sector is arguably better placed at this than the public sector, able to respond and drive innovation through its own product design that can translate to its own in house policy to foster healthy working practices at all levels.

The public sector is in some ways the vehicle that delivers the communication and evidence base for health and wellbeing very well – with little ambition internally of how it implements that agenda to its own workforce. That’s my own opinion. However its private business that has the ability to respond with practice and become a leader in the unprecedented growth of workplace health and wellbeing which increased movement plays a huge part in.

 

 

Andrew Picken

Health and Wellbeing Consultant

National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (Sheffield)

Sprotborough

Doncaster

DN5 8EZ

07887400202

Twitter: @AJPConsultant

Facebook: manbeast28 / Healthinbusiness28

Why gyms ‘MISS’ the bigger picture relating to population level health…..

To get with the Groove we need to move………

 

It could be argued that the sheer choice of gyms available now means that it’s much more accessible than a decade ago where gyms were for those ‘meat head types’. Whilst the market has grown and the number of gyms has driven down prices there is still a huge public health concern. Inactivity.

You see the gym is a good place. Cutting edge equipment, exercise variety, class motivation are just some of the reasons it works – to a degree. But it has also confused the message a little. If you want to exercise you need to pay for a gym, need equipment and the expense of clothing. You need to buy being healthy.

 

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Then there’s the status of being a gym member. The product is the ‘gym’. Go to the gym and you mix in the ‘fittie’ circles. However there is a movement we tend to forget about. A movement that is probably the most natural form of exercise.

 

Something that seems that miniscule it doesn’t count, but it does and the accumulative total over a year is significant to good health. Public Health England’s ‘ACTIVE 10’ campaign aimed at those short 10 minute burst of movement is testament to this thinking. Big scale public health initiatives aimed at harnessing small changes to the way we live our lives. Sport England are on the case too with their ‘active nation’ agenda. https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou

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Not only that but a movement that if captured can make the transition into a mode of transport instead of the car for those short journeys. WALKING. I see countless people walking on a treadmill when it’s beautiful outside. Huh? Harness that 40 minutes on the treadmill into movement and you have gone well over 2 miles.

And not just inactivity per se. But the dosage throughout the day of physical activity is as important as just doing it. Gone are the days  when us ‘fitties’ could get up in the morning before work and grind out a 10k run or gym session and then sit on our backside all day revelling in the fact we had done our exercise.

Oh no. Because regular movement throughout the day is needed to negate the harmful effects of sitting too long which includes bad posture, decreasing concentration, poor circulation and negative effects on the heart. For most of us our working life consists of sitting down.

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And let’s not overlook the mental health benefits too of moving outside. Another victory to walking over the gym. Being connected to the environment is part of our DNA our evolution. https://www.nhs.uk/news/mental-health/green-exercise-and-mental-health/

In an employment sense regular movement could be part of the solution to tackling the 131 million days lost, or the £9 billion per year spent on sick pay and associated costs (source: Public Health England). MSK (musculoskeletal) and stress rank in the top 3 main causes for lost working days.

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“The current scientific evidence shows that when people have occupations in which they are on their feet for more than two hours a day, there seems to be a reduction in the risk of developing key chronic diseases,” John Buckley, professor of applied exercise science at the University of Chester in England and the author of a report about reducing sedentary lifestyles, told the Wall Street Journal.

So this walking lark has an ability to reach far more people than the gym has. I contract with Living streets promoting walking in business and 90% of the reactions are positive. We have simply forgotten how to move. We don’t always need to pay to move. But on the whole people want to be more active. Doing it is the hard bit.

 

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Our urban and rural environment have hills and steps that we can utilise whilst walking. We have designed gym equipment that replicates this in an artificial form – treadmills and staircase exercise machines. We buy ourselves a commodity that is free to use and is right on our doorstep.

To achieve population health movement needs to become as second nature as brushing your teeth. Ask this – why do people brush their teeth? Habit. Prevent decay. A ritual taught from our parents. Physical activity is that important it needs the same attention. We are not talking marathons and gyms here, we are talking habitual exercise.

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Of course it’s far more complex than this – infrastructure, built environment, breaking habits, culture change, and multi sector buy in from Business to Local and Central Government. But we would be hard pressed not to ignore the basics, what we teach our children, encouraging movement throughout our social and professional networks. That way the way we approach ‘moving more’ becomes the new brush your teeth habit.

 

Andrew Picken

Health and Wellbeing Consultant

Contract with;

National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (Sheffield)

B.Braun Medical ltd – Health and wellbeing consultant

Living Streets – Associate consultant – West Yorkshire business

Sprotborough

Doncaster

DN5 8EZ

07887400202

Twitter: @AJPConsultant

Facebook: manbeast28 / Healthinbusiness28

Healthy workforce – Healthy business

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It has always been a challenge to articulate the business case at board level for investment in employee Health and wellbeing programmes. Years ago it was an ‘add on’, a nice to have ‘accessory’ made up of discounted gym memberships and if you were lucky the odd exercise session after work thrown in.

Years ago work was by nature physical, even if the working conditions weren’t anywhere near as good as they are now. But as the nature of our work changes so does the business approach to Health and Wellbeing. With a history of little purpose or strategy the once health and wellbeing vision was held by a few enthusiastic employers putting on challenges and leisure opportunities for staff outside of work.

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For a large majority of us we are sat down too much. We may drive to work, sit at our desk for 8 hours a day, and drive back. Physical activity has effectively been erased out of our lives. Our job doesn’t require it, our lack of time restricts it, and quite frankly it’s too tiring to think about.

Physical activity means gyms after all. Those artificial environments made up of vests, lycra and strange weight machines which for a lot of us just doesn’t appeal. Exercise is sweat, muscles, marathons and the unachievable. Quite the opposite physical activity is that regular movement throughout the day. Stairs, work and at home. Normal, non – threatening environments. That way physical activity becomes normal.

So Health and wellbeing to business is promoting and improving the physical and mental health of its workforce through creating a collective sense of doing something good. Physical environment and its effects on mood and mental health. Health initiatives that are fun and help absorb the pressures of work and personal lives. The benefits of physical activity and the by product: endorphins that improve mood and stabilise energy levels.

The recognition of personal pressures, family caring responsibilities, personal difficulties all have the potential to snowball and become harder to juggle with work. No one is immune.

But in today’s world Health and Wellbeing isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ in business It now transcends that many policy areas, meets multi departmental objectives and is a catalyst for transformational change it levers reach far further than that accessory tag it once held.

engine

 

Let me explain. I sometimes like the analogy of business as an engine. Every component has a job to do that is interdependent on the next component. You need fuel as an energy source, a spark and oxygen to create a controlled explosion and compression. Of course there is a lot more to it but you get my point.

Business is the same. Timing, departmental processes, supply chain, procurement, front line service, sales, transaction and after sales. Like an engine the fuel of the business are the sales – input and output. Without fuel there is no energy. Without an engine there is no energy or movement. Employees are the engine of business.

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Now without oil to lubricate all those components the engine will grind to a halt. It seizes. It has fuel (sales / product /) but the engine isn’t working in harmony. You have guessed it. Think of Health and wellbeing being the oil of your business. Keeping employees engaged, moving, synergy, and business processes acting out in a smooth and controlled way.

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Away from this analogy the business case for an effective H&W Strategy is overwhelming. The NHS has been quite open that it has to get its own house in order in terms of addressing the major challenges of its own workforce in terms of absences. The NHS knows the direct correlation between a healthy force and the end product of quality patient care.

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Kevin Fenton, Public Health England National Director for Health and Wellbeing is absolute in the need for public health approaches to be embedded in workplaces. MSK and mental health topping the chart as major workforce issues.

 

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As the penny drops, H&W starts to influence other areas of the business, just like the oil in an engine circulating around the components keeping everything moving. Suddenly the Health and Safety (H&S) agenda is been contributed to by H&W. Encouraging employees to take breaks, giving opportunities for physical activity, creating a captive audience stimulates alertness and impacts on energy levels.

Concentration levels are improved, that lunch time walk could potentially help avoid the afternoon slump that may have resulted in a lack of concentration hence an accident operating a machine. All hypothetical. But scenarios that have historically played out. Suddenly H&W acts as a pro-active approach to H&S as well as opposed to stand alone reactive measures.

 

 

As the oil flows around the business it meets the HR Department. Engagement rates in its yearly programme of employee health initiatives contribute to the departments objectives. HR is now not seen as just time, motion, holidays and line management protocol but a diverse and energetic H&W programme has changed the perception of HR internally.

As H&W is the oil it gets to parts of the business other initiatives don’t. How? It’s approachable and fun. If it’s embraced at Director level it sucks in parts of the business other initiatives don’t. It brings external partners into the business that normal processes wouldn’t and allows the business brand to expand into industry circles it wouldn’t operate in during normal business operations. Contacts and networking = fuel (sales).

Then there is recognition. Pay and benefits, the Health and wellbeing Charter and of course Investors in people that H&W helps contribute to. Essentially it adds value across the business whilst making a meaningful impact on employees working lives and individual health outcomes.

Oh and let’s not forget the branding and marketing in a world of digital prowess and social media wonder. An engaged workforce is a happy workforce. May be a little cheesy, but when people feel their workplace offers something different they want to tell the world. It is in its most basic form the ultimate marketing machine. Its self-propelled and reaches audiences that would otherwise cost a huge amount in marketing expertise to reach.

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In one workplace we have desk to 5 k run groups. A year ago colleagues used to look a little perplexed coming out of the office to see the car park been used up as a warm up area. Now they don’t bat an eye lid. It’s a culture shift. The H&W programme doesn’t force anyone to get involved but presents an opportunity. And colleagues inspire colleagues. Word of mouth is gospel.

Facebook and twitter go wild as the company is portrayed to the social media world as a great place to work. In social circles it prompts the question from family and friends ‘what does your company do’? The brand gets exposure. It attracts talent. The business becomes a desirable place to work.

I have had people new to the business comment ‘I noticed the run group last night, how do I get involved, I love how you all do this’? Or ‘I love the vibe here and how at my induction we were presented with an over view of all the things we can get involved in’.

In my line of work I have run groups, walking / steps challenges, weekend activity pursuits (low level), pool bikes, yoga, nutrition and resilience training. The H&W programme has its own branding. T-shirts, website logo and merchandise which contribute to its communication efforts. Of course not all business can afford to resource such things, but a H&W programme does not need to cost a lot.

Then there is the ‘working together component’ – synergy. A simple lunch time walking group. But so much more than just the benefit of movement away from long periods sat down. In a big business floor 1 meets floor 2 and so on. As an indirect benefit of H&W comes new friendships and rapport between business colleagues.

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Oh, and may be a more obvious one Corporate Social Responsibility. Do not forget the content and individual stories generated from a successful H&W campaign which gives you a constant supply of PR and media friendly literature. Take your pick. Align H&W success with product launches, new services or to bolster your credibility in new areas of business. Even use it as a tool to negate negative media.

Embed yourself in your community where you are based and regionally be seen as the leader in your field – H&W helps achieve this. It is a talking point. Most important for those businesses operating in a predominately business to business environment with little front line customer / community involvement. If you product portfolio evolves into a more customer to customer focus H&W provides an existing platform for which to build n.

So as you can see H&W is far more than just an accessory to business, more a necessity. Of course there is a plethora of information online about ROI, Business case, Absenteeism and presenteeism reduction. I keep up to date with this but this article is more about the whole picture of Health and Wellbeing and its wider contribution to business.

Then there are the more obvious concerns affecting the Western World re diabetes type 2, obesity and CHD amongst others that are attributed to our sedentary lives. An ‘active’ workplace contributes to reducing these risks. H&W culture is ethical. Embedding a clear strategy, direction of travel and implementation will help toward achieving better health of people and ultimately business.

 

For support, strategy and delivery of Health and wellbeing and CSR for your business contact me.

 

Andrew Picken is a practicing Health and Wellbeing consultant for private sector business. With over 10 years in Public Health, change for life, the Sheffield wide initiative to become the most active City in the UK by 2020 and regional health programmes I bring credibility and a network of contacts to support H&W programmes in business or communities.

andrewpicken10@gmail.com

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