Last week (24th – 28th April) was Responsible Business Week, which is an annual campaign designed to help celebrate the brighter side of business. Some might see the link between responsible business and health and wellbeing as tenuous; however, businesses that are viewed as “responsible” already recognise that the two are inextricably interlinked. Employee wellbeing does not just affect the individual. If someone is feeling physically or mentally below-par, this can have wide-reaching consequences, impacting on their colleagues, family, friends and others that they encounter.
Businesses are legally required to protect the health and wellbeing of those that they employ, but “responsible” businesses do so for moral reasons too. They recognise that a contract of employment is more than an employee agreeing to fulfil certain obligations put forward by their employer; it signifies a two-way relationship, with the employer engaging with the employee in a caring and compassionate way, ensuring “good” work and that their work environment promotes healthy living. It goes without saying that this type of employer-employee relationship fosters the highest levels of productivity and the lowest levels of sickness-absence.
Responsible business is not just about being environmentally conscious or encouraging staff to volunteer, though these are of course important. Approaches should be holistic and incorporate the promotion of a healthy and happy life, both at work and beyond.
Some examples from the City of London include the “This is Me – In the City” campaign, led by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and some of the Square Mile’s best-known businesses, which aims to end the stigma around mental health at all levels of organisations. Another is City LivingWise, which is a programme run for City residents and low-paid workers, which offers a free 12-week weight management course and free NHS health check for 40 to 74-year olds, in addition to a free personal exercise programme (through GP referral).
Being a responsible business and building in workplace health and wellbeing within this is within reach of all businesses, no matter how big or small. It does not have to cost the earth and there are plenty of free resources available to employers.
About the Author:
Xenia Koumi is project officer at Business Healthy, a community & online resource for businesses committed to improving the health & wellbeing of their workforce. You can join Business Healthy for free and members can gain access to exclusive content such as case studies and blogs, such as the one you have read above, as well as member only events and expert led workshops on workplace health and wellbeing issues.
Heart of the City supports businesses looking to develop or further enhance their Responsible Business approach. Learn more about how we can help you with your responsible business programmes in areas such as health and wellbeing in the workplace, environment and community and marketplace.