East Anglia: BITC backs Staying Healthy at Work event

BUSINESSES in the east of England are being urged to get in shape and to address the importance of employee health and productivity at a free half-day conference featuring TV personality Trisha Goddard.

The Staying Healthy at Work (SHaW) campaign’s Fit for the Future event, run by Business in the Community (BITC) and NHS East of England, will take place on Wednesday, October 12.

It will highlight the impact employees’ physical and mental health has on a business and encourage employers to join forces through the SHaW campaign’s simple framework to introduce health and wellbeing practices to improve long term business sustainability.

Keynote speaker Trisha Goddard, who is patron of mental health charity Norfolk and Norwich MIND, said: “As someone who has had first hand experience of mental heath issues, I know how important it is to have the right support in place.

“We spend so much of our time at work, it’s vital that employers do all they can to support their staff. It might be something that employees feel uncomfortable about raising in a professional environment but we have to take positive action to break this stigma.

“Just as companies have to have First Aiders on hand, the best approach is to have Mental First Aiders, also on hand – that way people can get help before they hit rock bottom.”

Debbi Christophers, Head of Business Development at BITC, hopes the conference will help the region’s HR professionals, chief executives and anyone with an interest in workplace health, to understand the difference a healthy and engaged team can make to businesses’ profit and productivity in the future and how employers from private, public and voluntary sectors can work together.

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“Research shows that a structured workplace health and wellbeing programme can reduce sickness absence by an average 30-40% and that engaged employees generate 43% more revenue than disengaged ones,” she said.

“We’re asking employers to put measures in place to support the long-term productivity and engagement of their employees. There are quick wins that can be put in place immediately, but thinking strategically will help build sustainability and success in the future.”

The conference is part of the ongoing BITC and NHS East of England SHaW campaign launched last year. Gary Theobald, head of HR at NHS East of England, said: ““An employees’ level of wellness can sustain or erode their level of productivity.

“Companies that take proactive steps to manage and promote employee wellbeing and engagement can improve their financial performance by as much as 10%.”

The conference will take place at Churchill College, Cambridge between 9am and 2pm on Wednesday, October 12. For more information or to register visit http://www.bitc.org.uk/events/staying_healthy_at.html .

Exhibitors including the NHS, ACAS, the Money Advice Service and Mind will be at the conference to show the free support and tools available to businesses looking to introduce wellbeing practices.