We’ve been published in the latest Public Health England [PHE] report!

Exciting news! We have recently been included in the latest Public Health England [PHE] report on identifying promising practices in health and wellbeing for the workplace.


Selected from 117 submissions, The Healthy Worker provided vital research into the importance of helping businesses provide effective health and wellbeing strategies, for the significant reduction of employee absence and sick leave.


The influential report, officially entitled ‘Promising Practices for Health and Wellbeing at Work’, was commissioned by PHE to review the current landscape of health and well-being interventions available to Employers, as it can be difficult to know the impact that workplace wellbeing initiatives are having.


Liz Preece confirmed: “I am delighted that The Healthy Worker has been included in this PHE report, which has taken a robust approach to research evidence, and showcases improved wellbeing for individuals plus the cost benefits of implementing effective wellbeing interventions for employees.”


A comprehensive document, the 100 plus page report highlights the latest evidence that a healthier workforce is a more productive workforce and cites effective interventions from both large-scale providers and SME’s who are able to provide research based evidence of the effectiveness of their interventions.


‘It’s fantastic to see the range of health and well-being organisations nationwide, which are supporting employers provide for improved mental and physical wellbeing for their staff. Avoiding workplace related ill-health and proactively enabling employees to improve their health and wellbeing is the future for successful organisations of all types’ explained Liz. ‘This report highlights those within in the wellbeing sector who have sought ways to evaluate the impact they are having and demonstrates that by focussing on effective wellbeing interventions, businesses can improve their own outcomes whilst also empowering their staff to thrive and grow with them.’


To find out more about the PHE and RAND report, please read here: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR2400/RR2409/RAND_RR2409.pdf

Are you taking the time to ask your staff how they’re feeling?

If staff members are off sick with potential mental health problems, how often do you think employers take time out of their schedules to ask them how they are? The answer is not enough.

If you’re one of those employers, you may notice the difference that simply asking can have on your team members, and their overall attendance and productivity levels.

According to recent reports, unsupportive managers can result in employees taking an extra 4.1 days off a year. Not only that, but people with depression were also found to take more days off if their managers did not seem empathetic. Increasing absence rates affects both the employee and the business, but is a detrimental figure that can easily be avoided.

Mind, the mental health charity, found that 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance.

Well, that’s where we can help.

Although the Healthy Worker arrives equipped with polices and refreshing consultancy services to help management improve well-being in the workplace, there’s nothing that helps more than taking the time to ensure you are caring about your staff and showing them that you’re putting important strategies in place to support mental health.

Why not try out some of these small, but effective changes:


Have an open-door policy

If your staff feel you are more open to having a chat, they won’t be more likely to bottle up any issues they may be having, whether it is work related or not. It can be difficult if you are time restricted or don’t have much face to face time with your employees as you’d like, but making small gestures to let them know you’re there, whether it’s via phone call or a one-on-one chat, can make all the difference in ensuring your staff know you value their feelings.


Dedicate your own ‘well-being champion’

As previously mentioned, sometimes it can be hard as a manager with time-restrictions. But this is where our expert knowledge can help! The Healthy Worker can support your staff to become ‘well-being champions’, a designated representative who will have the know-how to support staff with any issues they may be facing and know how to help or guide them through it.

They can work alongside HR, liaising or signposting staff, and be a direct link between the staff and managers to relay any issues in a secure and professional manner.


Break the taboo that surrounds mental health

If your office knows that you can talk about mental health openly and freely, then there won’t be so much pressure when somebody is dealing with something they perhaps feel awkward about. Break down barriers by implementing structures that allow staff to be open and honest and not feel mental health is such a taboo subject.


Get in contact with us with to update your work place policies

Yes, that’s right, here at The Healthy Worker we can provide a range of courses such as; Managing Sickness Absence Workshop for management, Managing stress in the workplace, personal health and coaching and an overall healthy worker course. We will work together with

you and your business to ensure you are up to date with any mental health work place policies and help motivate your staff by knowing they’re working in a safe and healthy work environment.


If staff attendance levels are a concern, or you want to revamp your businesses mental health policies, get in touch with us on 01684 231461 or email info@thehealthyworker.co.uk.

Are there links between your diet and your state of mind?

Can nutrition really affect your mental health? The answer, in short, is yes.


Mental health awareness has grown tremendously in recent years, with multiple positive campaigns enabling more and more people to speak up and receive the support they need. However, one of the most obvious, yet under-recognised issues associated with mental health is poor diet or lack of nutrition.


Recent studies have shown that almost two thirds of people who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or drink fruit juice every day. In contrast those suffering with mental health problems have reported poor appetite, a habit to skip meals, and a dominant desire for sweet tasting foods.


What to avoid

We don’t need to tell you that sugary foods are one of the worst things for a balanced diet. Not only are they bad for possible weight gain and health problems, but they can also play a huge part in affecting your mental state.

Sugary foods are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, which can cause an initial ‘high’ or surge of energy that soon wears off as the body increases its insulin production, leaving you feeling tired, low and with potential anxiety. Not only that, sugar can cause blurry vision, difficulty thinking and fatigue, increasing worry and fear.


So, what should I eat?

The old saying that ‘breakfast is the most important meals of the day’ rings true. Having a good, solid breakfast sets you up for the day and can make you feel more awake and ready to take on the day! Plus, it will keep you full for longer and you won’t be as tempted to snack in between meals.

Omega-3 One of the most important foods to incorporate into your diet is omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in several oily fish. According to research, these fatty acids contribute to our brain tissue and can help lower your risk of depression and low mood. Eating salmon, mackerel and sardines regularly will keep your brain healthy and will improve your mood by keeping your brain cells ‘flexible’.


Fruit and Veg

It may be obvious, but it’s true – high quantities of fruit and veg are a must for mental health. In particular, Lentils and Bananas are a good source of amino acid tryptophan as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, fibre, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrate. All of these can help with boosting your mood and can also aid sleep! You can read about the affects of sleep deprivation on your mental health here.


So, where do we go from here?

As research has shown, we cannot ignore the massive links between our nutritional and mental health. Eating good food promotes overall health and well-being, but what you eat can hugely impact how you feel. Why not try it yourself for one week and let us know if you felt a difference by getting in touch with us here at The Healthy Worker? We’d love to hear from you.


If you would like to know more about the services we provide here at The Healthy Worker, please feel free to get in touch on 01684 231461 or email info@thehealthyworker.co.uk.

How do businesses benefit from employing a dedicated Wellbeing Champion?

In the last five years, we have seen a positive rise in the number of employers shining a light on wellbeing in the workplace, including mental wellbeing.


More organisations are sitting up and taking notice, recognising the direct link between employee health, happiness and levels of productivity.


One way that companies, such as Virgin, have shown commitment to this is through the recruitment of Wellbeing Champions.


So, what is the role of a Wellbeing Champion?

Wellbeing Champions are members of staff who have the aptitude and training to serve as an inspirational voice to promote the wellness of every person within an organisation.


Their work is often alongside HR colleagues, with Wellbeing Champions contributing to the development and implementation of a health and wellbeing strategy, instilling wellbeing into company culture and engaging with employees to promote healthy lifestyles and positive mental health both inside and outside of the work place.


Why is this a vital role?

Every year in the UK alone, a staggering 70 million working days are lost due to mental health problems, costing employers over £2 billion.


Research by Time to Change revealed that one in ten people have resigned from a job due to stress and that a further one in four had thought about it.


A national survey carried out by the charity Mind also found that 90% of working people who suffered from a mental health problem told their employer they were suffering from a physical illness instead and research suggests that only 50% of GP ‘sick’ notes for those with mental health reasons for absence actually reflect this.


By developing Wellbeing Champions, businesses can demonstrate that staff are a top priority. It provides a safe place for staff to say “I’m struggling” or “I need support” and encourages people to speak openly about their mental health without fear of judgement.


Organisations can also benefit in other ways, such as improving employee engagement as well as the recruitment and retention of staff.


As more and more companies invest in the health of their team, it highlights that workplace wellbeing is no longer a nice benefit- it’s a vital part of working life. All measures which help with reducing stigma and take us closer to ending mental health discrimination are valuable.


Interested in finding out more? The Healthy Worker is hosting a series of workshops including one dedicated to developing Wellbeing Champions in the workplace. Contact us today for more details.

Could sleep deprivation be affecting your mental health?

You may have heard that a lack of sleep can affect you physically, having an impact on your weight, your immune system and even aches and pains, but did you know that sleep deprivation can have an even bigger effect on your mental well-being?


Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between sleep and your mood – but it’s more than waking up feeling grumpy after tossing and turning all night. A lack of sleep, such as prolonged periods of insomnia, can lead to a lack of concentration and impair our ability to think clearly, as well as influence our outlook on life, energy levels, motivation and emotions.


Despite these warnings however, it is clear that people across the UK are not getting a good night’s rest. In 2016, research by the Royal Society for Public Health found that the average Briton is losing almost an hour of sleep per night – that’s a whole night’s sleep over the course of one week!


The report, titled ‘Waking up to the health benefits of sleep’, highlights the need for individuals to get more good quality sleep to protect our health and well-being, and calls on schools, employers and GPs to discuss sleep as part of complex health issues.


The most common mental health issues linked to sleep deprivation are depression and anxiety disorders. It therefore may not surprise you to hear that people with insomnia are 10 times as likely to have clinical depression and 17 times as likely to have clinical anxiety than those who get an average of 7-9 hours per night.

So, why does this happen? What is the impact of sleep deprivation on our brains?


First of all, a lack of sleep will effectively cause the memory inbox of the brain to shut down. Sleep affects the formation of myelin, which is vital to allowing the brain’s cells to grow and repair ready to operate the next day. So, when the brain is deprived, we are unable to properly commit new experiences to memory.


Studies have shown that sleep is also important to maintaining the health of our brain’s neurons. A good night’s sleep allows our neurons to independently rest and repair themselves, but if this happens while we’re awake, it is much less efficient and affects our cognitive performance such as our ability to reason, make decisions and react quickly. Moderate sleep deprivation has even been compared to the impairments of alcohol intoxication.


Sleep deprivation also leads to an increased development of beta-amyloid, a damaging protein in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.


There are numerous ways to avoid or combat sleep deprivation, such as establishing your natural wake-sleep cycle (or circadian rhythm), exercising regularly, limiting caffeine and nicotine and taking time out to wind down at the end of the day. However, for some, sleep deprivation can be a more serious issue that requires medical intervention. Booking an appointment with your GP is the first step to diagnosing a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnoea.


Whatever your course of action, it’s time to take sleep seriously, particularly when it comes to your mental health.

It’s time to start the discussion about mental health in the workplace.

2018’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week was certainly an important one: Mental health within the workplace.


Currently, it’s estimated stress and mental health problems cost the UK economy nearly £100 Billion per year, so breaking the stigma by being open to mental health and with a willingness to talk about it can certainly help.


Mental ill health unfortunately is not only a UK, but a worldwide issue. It impacts the economy each year through costs to employers (lower productivity, sickness absence, staff turnover), and to the government (health and welfare benefits, reduced tax revenue); where over the last year alone, 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. So, what do we need to do to help lower this figure and how can we help improve both our own and our employee’s well-being?


There are a number of small steps to help improve mental well-being at work, such as taking the time to reflect on what causes you the most stress within the workplace, and thereafter taking the steps to reduce or eradicate such situations from happening in the future.


Here at The Healthy Worker, we have worked hard to develop mental well-being management solutions for individuals of varying levels – from management teams to employees:


If you’re a business owner…

Our services can be more beneficial to your company than you realise, particularly as mental health issues are on the rise. Supporting individual staff members and providing an open space for them to review their situation and talk through our Personal & Health Coaching sessions can be vital for their well-being.

In the discussions, we will support your staff through the challenges they face or finding direction when the pathway isn’t clear. Personal coaching is extremely effective as it pinpoints the exact need and solution and can help your team members reflect on what causes their stress and the steps they can take to prevent negative feelings from taking over.


For management teams…

We run several courses for your management teams to participate in. Mental Health Awareness is of course a popular and important choice within management teams. To supplement this our ‘Healthy Worker Course’, provides as a multi-component health improvement programme – endorsed as best practice by the World Health Organisation. Multi-component programmes are useful as factors are often linked, such as mental wellbeing, smoking or alcohol use, or the effects of diet and exercise on our health.

The course boasts fabulous delegate feedback and a high-quality evaluation, in which it was found to reduce absence days by 41% and episodes of absence by 25%. In addition, improved physical activity levels, healthier diet, enhanced mood and openness to change at work were all reported positively, with lasting effect.


Or perhaps a colleague…

You may have noticed that a colleague has been quiet for the last few weeks and doesn’t seem themselves. It all starts with asking someone how they are doing in a warm and authentic way – giving them a chance to realise that you are being sincere and friendly. Perhaps invite them out for a coffee break or take them out for lunch, showing somebody that someone wants to listen can help prevent long-term damage.


Implementing workplace wellbeing can take time, whether it’s for your business, or the team you are responsible for. The end result however can mean a positive atmosphere, improved employee engagement, higher productivity levels and financial gain, which is good for you and your staff!


If you would like to know more about the services we provide here at The Healthy Worker, please feel free to get in touch on 01684 231461 or email info@thehealthyworker.co.uk.