It can be very difficult for staff working in busy office environments to pay as much attention as is required to their own health and wellbeing in the workplace. Forgetting to eat lunch, or relying on fatty, processed foods; staying sat at their desk for long periods without a break and staring at computer screens, not to mention the stress and anxiety that can come about as a result of working in a high-pressure, fast paced role, can have a massive impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing.
What we did
In October 2018, the CCG committed to a workplace wellbeing programme which seeks to promote healthier workplace behaviours and mindfulness across topics such as mental health and healthy eating and exercise.
To understand what our staff wanted from a health and wellbeing initiative, we asked them to complete an initial short health survey. Topics covered included healthy eating, physical activity and mental health. There was a 74% response rate from staff across both CCGs and the results fed directly into our workplace wellbeing action plan.
A working group – which we called the “Wellbeing Warriors” - was set up, comprised of representatives across CCG teams to take the initiative forward and help embed it in the organisational culture. Subsequently, a calendar of events was created along with a monthly wellbeing newsletter which is circulated to all staff providing them with updates on the work, ways to get involved, upcoming sessions and tips for staying healthy and well in the workplace.
Wellbeing sessions were also set up throughout the year, which included:
- Relaxation sessions
- Meditation sessions
- Healthy cooking demo
- Financial wellbeing
- Personal safety awareness
- The Macarena!
The CCGs also signed up to the Mental Health at Work Pledge, committing to reduce workplace mental health stigma; and created a Staff Wellbeing Commitment, demonstrating a commitment to providing a working environment and management practices which promote employee wellbeing and good health.
Who we worked with
We have worked closely with a number of other local organisations to take part in this initiative:
- Coventry City Council provided free access to an extensive toolkit and resources, including a dedicated Wellbeing Coordinator to support us achieve the accreditation in the Thrive programme;
- Coventry and Warwickshire MIND and the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) team at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust also provided us with resources and support for our wellbeing sessions;
- Grounds Works and the local Community Police Team have also supported us to implement a healthier workplace.
The programme provides a host of benefits for staff, including:
- Increased self-esteem and sense of wellbeing
- Improved staff morale
- Increased productive levels and greater engagement and sense of inclusion for staff
- Increased job satisfaction
- Reduced stress and fewer absences
- Improved general health and mental health
- Increased skills and desire to continue developing.
Feedback has been very positive to the wellbeing sessions and the newsletter.
We then followed up by conducting another survey to understand the impact of the wellbeing initiative. The results show:
- A third of respondents have improved their diet, physical activity and/or mental wellbeing as a direct consequence of the information the wellbeing programme has provided to staff;
- These changes benefitted both home and working life;
- Over a third of respondents feel that their work-life balance has improved;
- Two thirds of respondents now feel more empowered to talk about any mental health issues they may have;
- Almost half of respondents were line managers and a third of them feel more confident to discuss health and wellbeing, including mental health issues, with their staff.
Feedback from staff:
“I have enjoyed reading the newsletter and feel the subjects covered have been very helpful. Some of the subjects are a little bit "taboo" and the work the Wellbeing Warriors have done this last year has made them seem "normal" as they have been recognised and accepted for what they are. Thank you for including staff wellbeing into the organisation, it was long overdue”.
“I have used some of the documents to support healthier living choices for both myself and my family.”
“All in all I believe that the wellbeing programme has been nothing but inclusive”.
We will continue to promote healthy behaviours within the workplace and give staff opportunities to lead and be involved in health and wellbeing initiatives.
We will also continue to ensure that this programme is inclusive to all our staff and consideration is given to this for each event/campaign.