By Clair Attwater and Natalie Rickman
Merton Chamber of Commerce has always taken pride in being a dynamic leader in the business community, striving to strengthen the local economy through support services, marketing, events, workshops and much more. We were given the opportunity in 2015 to start a Healthy Workplace Service, funded by Merton Council, to transform the way Merton businesses look at health in the workplace, and try to help them adopt practices throughout their business that will benefit staff health, wellbeing and morale. Something which we feel is as equally as important as turnover and profit!
Since starting our Healthy Workplace Service we decided that we would lead by example and try and gain our own accreditation under the Healthy Workplace Charter – a body that ensures that businesses provide clear policies, procedures, monitoring and education for all staff on key focus areas. These areas include mental, emotion and physical wellbeing, to make the workplace both happier and healthier.
These are a few of the reasons we decided to seek accreditation:
1. To celebrate our existing efforts to support a healthier workplace via adherence to relevant policies and practices.
2. To identify areas where we can work harder to support our staff in the areas of health and wellbeing, and adopt new practices that will enable us to continually improve our efforts in creating a health-enhancing workplace.
3. To encourage our staff to think harder about ways in which they can amend their working practices to improve their health outcomes, and support them in these efforts.
4. To set a good example to our 600+ Chamber members, with a view to encouraging other businesses in the borough to adopt recommended London Healthy Workplace Charter policies and guidelines.
We were provided with an accreditation guide and the self-assessment framework for action which helps employers build good practice within their organisation. The framework reflects the best practices and is endorsed by Public Health England.
On the first instance, all businesses are required to meet the Commitment level which is the entry level and is designed to build and recognise good standards and practices for employee wellbeing.
The standards are as follows:-
• Corporate support for wellbeing
• Attendance management
• Health & Safety Requirements
• Mental health & wellbeing
• Physical Activity
• Healthy Eating
• Problematic use of alcohol and other substances
With guidance from Nicola Davenport, our Health Workplace Manager and lead for Merton businesses, we developed a portfolio of evidence based around the self-assessment framework. The first step was to audit all policies and procedures and ensure that they were all up to date and relevant to the organisation. This allowed us to identify any gaps or weaknesses in areas that require further development. The portfolio also allowed us to provide evidence of the good things that the organisation does to promote and protect staff health & wellbeing.
This accreditation has resulted in us reviewing all areas and compiling an action plan with deadlines for completion.
The application was submitted along with supporting evidence and we are pleased to report that we were successful and have been awarded accreditation under the Commitment level! We now display the Healthy Workplace Charter Commitment logo in our emails and attended a fantastic award ceremony at City Hall to receive the award, along with other local businesses that we have helped to also get accreditation.
• Turners estate agent
• Peldon Rose workplace consultants
• Merco Medical Recruitment
• The Wimbledon Guild
• Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust
(Pictured, Clair Attwater and Nicola Davenport from Merton Chamber of Commerce with Barry Francis, chairman of the London Healthy Workplace Advisory Group, Turners Property, Peldon Rose, Merco Medical and Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust)
If you are interested in applying for the Healthy Workplace Charter, please email Nicola@mertonchamber.co.uk for more information.