Working Well is an accreditation created by Essex County Council comprising of three levels, to encourage local businesses to develop initiatives to improve health and wellbeing. We started working with Essex Lifestyle Services in Summer 2019 and began working towards our accreditation. Since then, we have worked together to implement, promote and encourage engagement with a variety of initiatives in order to achieve the Working Well accreditation at Level 3.

In order to achieve our accreditation, we had to ensure we met the criteria at all three levels by providing evidence that the initiatives continued to be successful. This is how we achieved the accreditation:

Training Workplace Health Champions

We trained five Workplace Health Champions comprising of employees, managers and directors. The Workplace Health Champions helped to achieve the accreditation by assisting in the creation of new initiatives and helping to measure their success by gathering feedback from staff.

Providing Lifestyle and NHS Health Checks

We received NHS Health Checks by Essex Lifestyle Services in the office. The 25-minute sessions tested employees’ BMI, blood pressure and other lifestyle factors. Following the tests ELS signposted employees to internal and external resources including writing referrals. 65% of staff received the health checks, with 29% receiving referrals to external services.

Encouraging Physical Activity through On-Going Programs

Over the past six months we have introduced several lunchtime programs to encourage people to leave their desks, get some exercise and have fun. Currently we have the follow activities available:

  • Yoga once a week
  • Salsa every fortnight
  • Table tennis coaching once a week

In addition to this, employees have access to a 50% PureGym discount and a Cycle2Work scheme. We also encourage employees to take Walking Meetings.

Promotion of Internal and External Support for Staff Health and Wellbeing

Internally, we offer support for staff by organising Flu Vouchers and Eye Care Vouchers. We also offer staff private health insurance which includes an Employee Assistance Program which offers counselling services for mental health support. In January we organised a Q&A with our health insurance broker who ensured staff were getting the most out of their health insurance, making us aware of the full range of services and support available.

Organising Charity and Volunteering Events

We raise money for charities throughout the year with various fundraising activities. At Halloween we raised money for Mind by dressing up and decorating the office. For Children in Need we each donated to dress in our pyjamas for the day. At Christmas we raise money for Save the Children by taking part in Christmas Jumper Day and donating toys to local children through the Cash for Kids scheme. On Valentine’s Day we held a bake sale to raise money for the British Heart Foundation – we made healthy alternatives such as vegan recipes. We take cash donations and set up PayPal pools or Just Giving pages so that it is easy for everybody to donate.

Encouraging Healthy Eating and Hydration

We keep several bowls of fresh fruit around the office which are topped up twice a week and we keep the kitchens stocked with free coffee/tea/diet drinks/sugar-free squash, along with chilled water dispensers. Not only is it a nice perk, it puts people off buying less healthy drinks. In order to be more environmentally friendly, we avoid using single-use plastic. For that reason, we do not have plastic or paper cups in the office which encourages people to bring their own reusable water bottles.

What’s next?

We will continue to expand our health and wellbeing program with support from Essex Lifestyle Services. We have booked Mental Health First Aid training for ten employees on-site and will continue with our successful program of lunchtime activities, as well as our charity and fundraising events. Our Workplace Health Champions will continue to meet on a monthly basis where we will assess our health and wellbeing strategy, ensuring that we are up to date with best practice whilst coming up with innovative ways to support and engage staff.