June 20 2013 Latest news:
Friday, March 8, 2013
A healthy staff is a productive and happy workforce - that is the lesson learned by Lowestoft’s biggest employer.
The Birds Eye factory at Whapload Road has picked up a gold Healthy Ambitions Suffolk award for the way it is focusing on improving its staff’s lifestyles.
The Better Health - Better Business category award was handed out after staff at the factory were given “mini health checks” during which their height, weight and blood pressure was taken.
Staff were then given three areas in which to improve their health and fitness, such as changing their diet or the way the exercise.
And Birds Eye helped staff by giving anyone with high blood pressure an appointment with its occupational health department for further support.
The firm also put on more healthier recipes in its canteen.
As a result of the changes staff have lost weight and seen their blood pressure decrease - leading to sickness absence level at the factory falling as its workforce’s well-being improves.
The health boost happened after Birds Eye called in East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH), a social enterprise which provides services for the NHS and social care in Waveney and Great Yarmouth areas, three years ago.
Kerry Stokes, occupational health manager at Birds Eye, said: “We have been working with ECCH for three years now to try and energise our workforce to look at healthier options in all aspects of life, both psychologically and physically.
“With each health promotion we have found a greater up take and level of interest. Each year we set out a well-being plan incorporating employee feedback from our regularly run heath survey.
“While it has been a challenge, over the last two years we have seen an encouraging upward trend in employee engagement with our initiatives and we continue to strive towards improving the overall health of our workforce.”
Because of the three year health programme annual sickness absence levels are between 2.4pc or 3pc, where before it was between 4.5pc and 6pc.
Around 700 staff work at Birds Eye site, producing the brand’s range of vegetable, beef, poultry, and potato products, making it the town’s biggest employer.
Abi Howes ECCH’s workplace health promotion practitioner, worked with Birds Eye to improve its staff’s health.
ECHH says surveys show that a healthier workforce leads to staff to take 27pc fewer sick days a year and up to a 25pc reduction in the amount of staff turnover.
Last Friday also saw Waveney District and Suffolk Coastal District Council pick up gold Healthy Ambitions Suffolk’s Better Health - Better Business Award.
The health project aims to make Suffolk the healthiest county by 2028.
Richard Powell, chief executive of Healthy Ambitions Suffolk, said: “We are delighted with the high standard of entries to the awards.
“It show the message is getting out that a healthy team of employees is inseparable from a thriving business.”
ECHH is offering businesses in Waveney and Great Yarmouth free support and advice on improving workplace health.
For more information call 01493 744419 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Businesses can breath a sigh of relief at the news that dredging operations at Wells will resume today after being suspended for more than two months over a licensing issue.