A corporate perspective on health at work

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A corporate perspective on health at work back to list

12 December 2012

On December 4th ukactive hosted its latest Vanguard focus group, Health at Work- A Corporate Perspective. Speakers from Glaxo Smith Klein, Unilever, Morrison's and BP presented their own programmes to get more people, more active, and discussed how the Vanguard group can support employers to get their staff moving.Chairing the discussions was Dame Carol Black the Government Lead for Health at Work, outlining the risks of a sedentary lifestyle and re-enforcing the employer benefits of a healthy workforce. Following on was a selection of case studies, outlining various ways to encourage a more active workforce, including key challenges and success stories from the employers in the room.

The most important message from all speakers was the necessity to encourage behaviour change, and reaching the inactive. The group heard how the majority of workplace health programmes reach those who are already active, however very few reach the completely inactive which are incidentally those who have high rates of absenteeism, presenteeism all of which "slow down business performance".

Lucy Pope from GSK drew attention to the benefits of a sustained marketing campaign alongside tangible healthy choices. As for getting their workforce more active, David Hewitt representing Morrison's and Kathy Lawrence from BP both cited the benefits of organised sporting events as a way of reaching the most inactive. Recognition for any kind of achievement and the sociability of working together in a group was picked up as integral to the success of a health and wellbeing programme by both speakers.

Val Bertram from Unilever was also conscious to point out the challenges. Misunderstanding of company culture, the difficulty of maintaining continuity across sites and issues around data protection can all impact upon the progress of any wellbeing initiative.

The afternoon drew to a close discussing the mechanics of the Public Health Responsibility Deal and how members can use it to approach companies, with the aim of getting more people, more active, more often. Issues such as how to sign more organisations onto the deal, what the next stage could look like and crucially how it could be used to reach the most inactive, with an emphasis on the workplace, were all talked about at great length. The ideas put forward about the future of the sector alongside growing awareness of public responsibility were thorough and varied. Attitudes towards physical inactivity are changing and through focus groups like this, ukactive intends to remain at the forefront, acting alongside sector leaders and government departments to deliver a future in which people will be more active, more often.

Below are the presentations from each speaker.

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