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Workplace health workshop touches on key resilience issues for county’s workforce  

First Improving Workplace Health workshop “touched on key resilience issues for county’s workforce”

The first workshop in a series of four which invites businesses to share their experiences of key workplace health and wellbeing issues and shape future resources to help other organisations has been credited with being a great success.

For the second year running, Suffolk County Council is working in partnership with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to develop the Improving Workplace Health (IWH) initiative, designed to equip Suffolk businesses with the confidence and tools to boost workplace health.

The theme of the workshops is ‘building resilience’, with the aim being to collect real world business experiences and incorporate them into an easy-to-use resource pack or toolkit due to be launched at a health summit in November.

The first workshop was on the theme of ‘building resilient staff’ and was attended by two dozen businesses from a range of sizes and sectors.

As well as a presentation from Suffolk County Council’s public health manager about the impact of poor health and wellbeing on businesses and the economy in general, the workshop heard from Sue Gull, staff partner at Scrutton Bland, about the importance of a company clearly understanding what it can and cannot effectively do to support staff.

This was followed by a discussion among the participants about their experiences in helping staff becoming more mentally and physically resilient.

The key issues highlighted from this included: not being too narrow in defining what ‘resilience’ means, the vital importance of leadership – especially empathic leadership and the priority that needs to be given to excellence in communication to help change cultures and individual behaviours for the better.

The detailed issues are now being shared with the IWH ‘virtual’ board, comprising Suffolk-based health sector experts, for their ideas and comments and which in turn will help shape the second workshop in the series.

Cllr. James Reeder, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for health, said: “I’m pleased that this important project has had such a good start, with representatives from many local businesses identifying the factors that support employees to be well at work.

This is the first step in what will culminate in joint resources and good practice that will benefit all businesses, aiding workplace wellbeing and potentially boosting productivity for the county.”

 According to John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce:  “Our aim is to make Suffolk the most resilient place in the country and in doing so help address the issues of productivity and absenteeism which costs Suffolk businesses dear.

“It was great to see the first workshop both touching on the key resilience issues for the county’s workforce and generating such a wealth of ideas, experiences and enthusiasm to help deliver this aim.”

Sue Wilcock