Monday, 30 March 2015

National Workplace Wellbeing Day - Key Points

Key Points from National Workplace Wellbeing Day

By Paul Mc Carthy - CEO, Full Health Medical

Organised by the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF), the first National Workplace Wellbeing Day took place on Friday 27th of March.

Overall the event was a huge success with a fantastic attendance from private and public organisations. It was great to hear the diversity of initiatives and approaches being taken to improve the health of the workforce. So what were the take home messages?

For me, Aramark's Frank Gleeson's point was the most important: while all these fragmented activities are going on under the guise of wellness, there is no data available to measure and assess their impact. As Frank said "Evidence shows it's working, but harder data is needed."

I was delighted to hear this comment, as over the past three years working with the Full Health multidisciplinary medical team, we have painstakingly focused on the building blocks of running successful 3-5 year wellness programmes centred on preventative health and measuring the return. All too often, valuable data is lost or is not analysed with events that are apparently unconnected and often expensive. This is in an age when everything is connected!

Frank Gleeson, Aramark with boxer Katie Taylor

Professor Niall Moyna, DCU School of Health and Human Performance and NHF Chairman
  • Need to redesign workplaces so that people move more
  • Must make the workplace work for peoples health

Jim McGuinness, Celtic FC / Sports Psychologist
  • Commit, focus, believe and achieve
  • Negative thoughts lead to negative actions, positivity is key

Jerry Buttimer TD
  • Spoke of the Government's commitment to health and wellbeing via the Healthy Ireland initiative

Kate O'Flaherty, Healthy Ireland Director of Health and Wellbeing
  • Workplaces are ‘Best Buy’ for supporting and promoting health and wellbeing
  • Need to embed the employee wellbeing thinking with future leaders - both locally and nationally
  • Government committed to assist healthy workplaces, these include measures such as the bike to work scheme
  • New culture and philosophy needed to make the healthier choice the easier choice for public
  • Refocus on prevention and keeping people well

Professor Jeremy Bray, University of North Carolina
  • A healthier worker is a safer worker
  • Return on investment is 3:1 and, more importantly, no employer reported a loss
  • Employers need to focus on cost effectiveness

Mary Rose Bourke, IBEC
  • 11 million days lost through absenteeism every year at a cost of €1.5bn
  • 80,000 hours of our lives is spent working so the workplace has a massive impact on our wellbeing
  • Noted that McKinsey research shows cost of obesity far exceeds that of alcoholism and tobacco globally

Frank Gleeson, Aramark & Katie Taylor
  • Introduced Aramark Ireland's Right Track Challenge campaign which is an initiative to promote healthy eating and work life balance
  • Consistency in your diet & physical activity is key for everyone
  • Need to collate the data to prove the benefits of wellness initiatives. As a company we see it, but need more analysis to prove

Alan Quinlan, Former Ireland / Munster Rugby Player
  • Called for more wellness programmes, media attention & events like National Workplace Wellbeing Day
  • Stop, assess and make it your strategy to get there

Neville Bourke, HR Director, Bank of Ireland (BOI)
  • People need to see value before engaging. Create demand before supply from a financial perspective. BOI now have 11,000 people across 500 sites engaged in their "Be at your Best Programme"
  • Banks "Be at your Best Programme" started with no budget. It's ultimately about customers by helping BOI staff to be at their best in terms of mind and professionalism
  • "Aspire, Inspire, Perspire" is the mantra and programme is centered on body, mind and career
  • Described the "Be at your Best Programme" as bottom up through staff and un-bank like
  • Wellbeing programmes can help change organisational behaviour & culture

Miriam Doolan, HR, Teleflex
  • Provided an overview of Teleflex's two week programme encompassing health checks and various activities that employees can choose from

Sinead Doherty, Fenero
  • As a very small business explained how they prioritise wellness with various supports
  • Small changes can be significant & low cost
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Health checks with prizes for health improvement
  • 5K Runs

In summary, initiating a culture of wellness has a guaranteed payback for employers. The Q&A session included comments such as more supports for employers to introduce initiatives and more events like National Wellbeing day....more work for organiser in chief Dr. Muireann Cullen!

To support the continuation of the discussion from National Workplace Wellbeing Day, Full Health are providing free expert advice on how to design and maximise the return from a wellness programme.

Email for more information and to express your interest in attending.


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