On average, Londoners spend 37% of their waking hours at work. Work can play a key role in keeping Londoners in good physical and mental health but currently the potential benefits are not being realised. Instead, London employers lose 6.63 million working days each year due to stress, anxiety or depression. Getting firms to do more to support their employees’ health is therefore good for business, good for the London economy and good for Londoners.
We aim to gain one million working days in London through an improvement in health and a reduction in sickness absence.
Encouraging employers to promote the health of Londoners
The GLA has expanded the Healthy Workplace Charter to 68 accredited organisations representing 178,000 employees. Almost 40,000 employees have been added in the last six months. Employers come from sectors as diverse as manufacturing, business, charities and universities. Most boroughs are working towards accreditation and borough workplace health leads are engaging and supporting local employers to deliver the charter. The City of London is leading work on the Mental Health First Aid Tool Kit and progress has been particularly significant in organisations that are engaged with the charter. Over 650 London employers are fully accredited with the Living Wage Foundation paying all employees at least £9.15/hour.
The NHS is leading by example in supporting staff health and wellbeing
London’s NHS is the largest employer in the city. It has committed to support staff to stay healthy and become ambassadors for health and wellbeing. Many NHS employees are already covered by the charter and by March 2016 all large NHS organisations in London will have committed
The London Prevention Board’s workplace health initiative aims to activate NHS staff to make healthier choices and gain the skills and tools to support patients and communities to do the same. NHS organisations will work with employees to redesign environments and practices to make healthy choices easier. Supporting staff to become fitter, healthier and build resilience will begin to address the high rates of sickness absence seen in recent years, and enable staff to be at their best in working with patients.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has launched initiatives such as a bicycle user group, a weight management programme and a self-referral physiotherapy service. At the last staff wellbeing event, over 700 flu jabs were given, 180 staff signed up to lose weight and over 1,200 received health checks.
People who work and volunteer in emergency services are more at risk of experiencing mental health problems than the general population. MIND is engaging with the London Ambulance Service using the blue light programme to support staff, recognising the extreme pressure they face providing emergency services across the capital.
Supporting Londoners to return to or stay in work
Local NHS and borough organisations are working with Londoners to help them return to or stay in work by upskilling and supporting them.
The Burnt Oak Opportunity Support Team (BOOST) is a multi-agency jobs team in Barnet set up as part of the wider West London Alliance Working People Working Places programme. By supporting residents who are unemployed in an integrated way, BOOST is helping them get back into work. Support teams help with their employability and mental health problems, including by helping them access talking therapies.