North Yorkshire offers workplace wellbeing award

Businesses in North Yorkshire are being encouraged to improve their employees’ health and reduce sickness absence with support from a new workplace wellbeing initiative.

Two people in work environment

The support package is available to businesses that have signed up to North Yorkshire County Council’s Workplace Wellbeing Award scheme funded by its Public Health grant. It has been introduced because workplace health and wellbeing has been recognised as increasingly important in recent years.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, said: "Our Wellbeing award is an important part of our drive to improve the health of North Yorkshire’s workforce. The development of this award follows on from the recommendations in my Annual Public Health Report in 2016, which focussed on the health and wellbeing of the working age population..

"As the UK workforce continues to age, there will be an increasing number of employees living with long-term conditions so it is more important than ever to make changes that improve and maintain the health and wellbeing of the workforce in North Yorkshire."

Britain’s healthiest workplace report 2017 showed productive working days lost due to physical and mental health issues cost the UK economy approximately £77.5 billion a year. In Yorkshire and the Humber region, it is estimated that workplace injuries and new cases of ill health absences cost businesses £1.3 billion in 2016/17.

After short-term illnesses the most common reasons for sickness absence are musculoskeletal problems such as back pain and mental health issues, in particular stress, depression and anxiety. The new Workplace Wellbeing Award is designed to address these health problems. It is open to any size and type of business in North Yorkshire: public, private or voluntary sector organisations. There are three levels to the award – bronze, silver, and gold.

Each level builds on previous achievements and has core components relating to organisational culture, leadership and employee engagement along with specific lifestyle elements to deal with preventable ill health issues in the workplace.

County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supported Housing, said: "The North Yorkshire Workplace Wellbeing Award will acknowledge those organisations who are encouraging and supporting employees to make positive lifestyle choices.

"Improving workplace health not only benefits the individual, but it leads to greater job satisfaction, which in turn improves the productivity of the business and enhances our local economy. We are providing free one-to-one support and guidance every step of the way from initial sign up to the programme through to achievement of the Award. We want as many workers as possible to benefit from this and I encourage all our businesses and employers to sign up and take advantage of this support to develop their workplace wellbeing plans."

Organisations looking to encourage a healthy workplace culture and improve the wellbeing and productivity of their employees can visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/workplace-wellbeing-award-north-yorkshire or email nyworkplacehealth@northyorks.gov.uk for more information.

This story was published 7 March 2019