Workplace Wellbeing for the IT Industry

“In the UK, twenty seven million of us go to work every day. We spend more time working than doing anything else. The workplace offers us a major opportunity to drive health improvement.” Dame Carol Black, Expert Adviser to the Department of Health, Chair of the Health at Work network

We all know the cost of sickness absence, but this is not the whole picture. Presenteeism – being at work but not being able to function to maximum capacity – is often a greater problem. Health at work isn’t just about supporting staff who have declared health problems, it should be about safeguarding and promoting the health and well-being of all staff. Employers must reach further and strengthen the preventive function of this work.

The British Heart Foundation found that 27 per cent of the British work force have had a health issues lasting over a year. Many of those surveyed said that their illness was affecting their work, with diabetes, a condition which can be treated and even prevented with good diet and lifestyle, being highest among them.

There is a wealth of evidence that shows having a healthy, engaged workforce brings clear benefits – for employees and business alike – with improved quality and productivity. In the current climate looking after your staff may well give you the edge and help put you ahead of the curve.

Government alone cannot tackle the major public health problems this country is facing. In March 2011 the Government launched the Public Health Responsibility Deal, which is all about working collectively and harnessing the largely untapped potential of business to improve public health through their influence over alcohol, food, health at work, and physical activity.

Staff are our most vital resource. It is essential that workplace health is not seen as a separate add-on but as integral to enabling businesses to meet the challenges they face – and to do this through a focus on innovation and prevention.

Public health is everyone’s responsibility.  Individuals should take the primary responsibility, but the way we influence and shape the environment, particularly the workplace, is key – not only for public health but for the health of businesses and the economy.  Good health is good business – lowering absenteeism and increasing employee engagement is critical to small and large businesses alike.  The IT industry is a world class industry characterised by the quality of its products, and its ability to innovate. To stay that way it needs to recruit a steady stream of the brightest and best of the UK’s talent. It will not do so – and crucially it will not retain that talent – unless it supports their health and wellbeing to ensure they have long, healthy and rewarding careers.

 

To this end, Value Driven Software (VDS) has developed Workplace Wellbeing Workshops to suit time, budget and needs.  Ranging from a half day to two days, the workshops aim to give employees the skills and tools they need to help themselves achieve their maximum health potential through diet and lifestyle and thus maximise life and work enjoyment and productivity.

Health experts now agree that the best approach to help people change their lifestyle for the better is to use a behaviour change approach and this is the approach used in these workshops.  Behaviour change encourages an individual to own their own health and empowers them to change in a way they want to change rather than simply telling them what they should be doing.

The course is aimed at all employees.  So it looks at what is meant by healthy eating (and weight loss of required) and tries to bust the myths surrounding diet as it goes.    It looks at the amount and type of exercise needed to maximise health and how to get more energy in day to day life. It also looks at how maximise brain power and concentration through what you eat and touches on mindfulness and the dangers of multi-tasking.

 

Practicalities

  • The workshops are two full days, one day or a half day taster.
  • The two day workshop can run as 2 days together or one day a week for 2 weeks.
  • All materials will be provided but a pen and paper would be useful
  • Workshops will run for the length of a normal working day with coffee. lunch and tea breaks
  • There should be a maximum of 16 participants and a minimum of 6.
  • The workshops will be interactive.
  • At VDS we are always willing to discuss some bespoke training on health and wellbeing for your company.

 

Course outline for the two day course

  • Introduction to healthy eating

What makes us eat how we eat and does our diet need to change.  What are main constituents of a healthy diet and what are appropriate portion sizes.  What is the best way to achieve a reduction in weight, if this is desirable.  How food groups and portion sizes can be used as a tool for controlling/maintaining weight.  Busting some myths about diet

  • Changing our Habits and Goal Setting

The concept of ‘ready/willing/able’ as a means of ‘behaviour change’ in order to change eating habits for the better.  How to set ‘SMARTER’ goals.

  • Triggers, Cravings & Hunger

What are internal and external triggers to eating.  Are ‘cravings’ and ‘hunger’ different. What impact do certain thoughts have on our behaviour; can we tackle unhelpful thoughts.

Food Labels & Shopping:

Develop a basic understanding of food labels and nutritional claims to enable informed decision about what to buy and eat.

  • Diet & Cognition

Eating for best work and play output.  What factors in the diet and lifestyle can prevent negative moods plus how to offset dementia.

  • Becoming more active

The importance of becoming more active and how it can improve health.  What are the different sorts of exercise and how much of each should we do.  How can you get more active while working; the rule of 2s

  • Stress Management & Relaxation

How stress affects work and play and how it can be managed. How to become more assertive and feel confident saying ‘No’ in a variety of settings.  The dangers of multi-tasking and how to be mindful.

  • Maintaining change, handling relapse

Revisit SMARTER goals and look at the importance of confidence with regard to changing behaviours.  What are the triggers to relapsing from a set goal; can you develop skills to prepare in advance for such occasions.  Staying focused.

 

One day workshop

  • Introduction to healthy eating: What makes us eat the way we do and does our diet need to change. What are main constituents of a healthy diet and what are appropriate portion sizes.  What does a food label tell you.  Fad diets and myths
  • Diet and cognition: Eating and lifestyle for best working output. What factors in the diet and lifestyle can prevent negative moods.
  • Becoming more active: Practical information on the importance of becoming more active, including at work, and how it can improve health and wellbeing. What are the different sorts of exercise and how much of each should we do.
  • Stress Management & Relaxation: .How stress affects our lives and explore ways to manage it including using relaxation methods. The dangers of multi-tasking and how to be mindful.
  • Changing our Eating Habits and Goal Setting: How to set ‘SMARTER’ goals with regard to diet and lifestyle. What are the triggers to relapsing from a set goal; can you develop skills to prepare in advance for such occasions.  .

 

Half day Taster session:

  • Healthy eating: Does our diet need to change. What are the main constituents of a healthy diet.  What does the label tell you. Fad diets and myths
  • Diet, lifestyle and your brain: Eating and lifestyle for best work output.
  • Becoming more active: The importance of becoming more active, including at work, and how it can improve health. What are the different sorts of exercise and how much of each should we do.
  • Stress Management & Relaxation: .De-stress tips. The dangers of multi-tasking and how to be mindful.
  • Changing and goal setting: motivation to carry on, barriers to change

 

Facilitator

Gaynor Bussell is a registered nutritionist and dietitian (and a certified scrum master!) with a long experience in health promotion, teaching and running workshops and is a valued member of the Value Driven Software team.  She says, “Agile is synonymous with the way I work with patients and patient groups: motivating people to take control of their own lives and, with some appropriate training, giving the power back to them on changing their lives for the better.”