September 2018: Workplace Health

Workplace Health

Many of us spend more time at work than we’d like to, so workplace health is really important. 
Healthy workplaces are not just important for employees; they also help employers reduce sickness absence and productivity. On average, employers lose 5.7 days in the private sector to sickness absence, but some are more absent than others. Take two examples from recent NICE guidance on workplace health:

On average, obese people take four extra sick days per year. In an organisation of 1,000 employees who work the national average week of 39.1 hours and are paid the national average hourly wage of £15.52, this equates to more than £126,000 a year in lost productivity.

On average, a person who smokes will have 33 more hours off sick per year than a non-smoker. For an organisation of 1,000, in which 25 per cent smoke and are paid the national average hourly wage of £15.52, this absence equates to a loss of more than £128,000 a year.

The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames fully endorses the London Healthy Workplace Charter. The Charter is:

  • An evidence-based accreditation scheme with 8 standards
  • Coordinated by the Mayor of London’s Office, supported by Public Health England and backed by leading employers
  • Supports and inspires employers to create health-enhancing, engaged and productive workplaces
  • Delivered in partnership with 26 boroughs, including the City of London

The benefits of the Charter are:

  • An evidence-based template to design your employee wellbeing strategy (with a long track record of success)
  • Proven strategies to enhance employee health and increase engagement and productivity
  • Fully-funded consultancy and support from an expert in workplace health & wellbeing
  • Recognition as a top employer in London – to promote your brand and attract top talent

The 8 Workplace Charter Standards

  • Corporate support and wellbeing

Creating a working environment which is conducive to health and supported by senior management.

  • Attendance management

Effective data collation and how it’s used to reduce and monitor sickness absenteeism. How is long and short term sickness managed?

  • Health and safety

The systems the organisation uses to monitor and improve health and safety.

  • Mental health and wellbeing

How the organisation protects and promotes the mental wellbeing of staff and reduce stigma.

  • Tobacco

As the leading cause of premature death and illness, how does an organisation go beyond the minimum legal requirement to address this?

  • Physical activity

How the organisation actively promotes the importance and benefits of regular physical activity.

  • Healthy eating

Ways in which the organisation actively encourages and enables staff to eat healthily.

  • Alcohol and substance misuse

The way an organisation responds to problematic use of alcohol and other substances.
If you are interested in signing up to the Workplace Charter please register online at

Below are a list of resources you may find useful. resources on workplace health
London City Hall on workplace health
MIND charity on how to promote workplace health
NHS smokefree
​Kick it, free local advice to stop smoking