Suffolk employers sign up for new campaign to create a healthier workforce
PUBLISHED: 07:30 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:08 22 May 2019
A new campaign has been launched to help increase physical activity in the workplace - and create healthier employees.
The campaign launch was timed to coincide with Move Suffolk Week, which runs all this week, with phase one focusing specifically on increasing physical activity in the workplace.
James Reeder, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for health, said "Across the UK, it is known that absenteeism carries a huge financial burden for businesses, with more than 130 million working days lost every year due to illness and incapacity. This costs the British economy approximately £29bn per year.
"Due to our ageing population and the time spent in work, it is imperative that employers act to support staff to improve their health and wellbeing, which is why OneLife Suffolk and Suffolk County Council's Public Health team have built a package to support this."
The campaign invites employers to encourage and inspire staff to make a pledge towards fulfilling a healthier lifestyle. Over a six-week period, participating businesses will be provided with tips, advice and resources that will support them to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees.
Thirty six Suffolk businesses have committed to be part of the campaign.
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Dr Amanda Jones, Suffolk County Council's Director of Public Health, added: "Everyone benefits from having a happy and healthy workforce. Companies who look after the health of their employees can decrease the amount of ill health experienced, including stress, musculoskeletal related injury and, through encouraging a healthier lifestyle, the development of long-term conditions. As well as benefits to the individual employee, reducing levels of workplace absence can also increase a company's productivity as well as decreasing the pressure on our local health services."
One Suffolk company that has signed-up for the campaign is specialist professional wood-chipper and wood-shredder manufacturer Timberwolf Ltd from Stowmarket.
Rita Rue, Health, Safety and Facilities Manager for Timberwolf said "We decided to become involved in the workplace health campaign to create a positive working environment for employees and improve employees' work-life balance. We believe that looking after our workforce will have a positive impact on our business with improved morale, attendance and positive public image."
Timberwolf, which has 85 employees, currently offers discounted gym membership to all employees and a Cycle to Work scheme. In March, a group of staff completed a month-long 10,000 steps challenge whilst a team from the company took part in last year's Whole Hog Race.
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce are also supporting the campaign.
John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, commented "We are now in the second year of working with Suffolk County Council on the Improving Workplace Health initiative, aimed at helping local firms to achieve positive health and wellbeing outcomes for their staff - and make positive boosts to productivity.
"This offer is an excellent incentive for Suffolk businesses to either begin the process of improving their staff's health and wellbeing or, for those already actively engaged, to better measure the benefits of what they are doing."
Further information about the workplace health campaign visit https://onelifesuffolk.co.uk/workplacecampaign/.