Banks Group in good shape with ‘better health at work’ award success

February 22, 2012 | Group News

A North East company’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of its workforce has been recognised in a regional awards initiative.

Property and energy firm The Banks Group has achieved the Bronze level award in the Better Health At Work initiative, an NHS scheme which recognises and celebrates the hard work and commitment of local employers who are improving the health of their workplaces and their employees.

The scheme provides tangible benefits for everyone involved, with employees benefiting from access to a wide range of health support services in their local area and companies benefiting from implementing a health framework which enables them to bring together health activities in a structured way.

Employees also have an opportunity to increase their personal knowledge of health issues and share their enthusiasm about health with colleagues by becoming a health advocate within their organisation, and several Banks staff members took up this opportunity to help ensure that information about healthy living was being properly communicated through the entire organisation.

Specific assessment criteria are set as part of each company’s progress towards gaining Better Health At Work accreditation, with an assessment carried out on site by the scheme’s local co-ordinator in which staff are interviewed about what they’ve been doing and evidence of company actions and achievements is reviewed.

Banks reached the initial Bronze standard in just six months – half the time that it ordinarily takes to reach this milestone – and is now looking at going for the Silver award this year.

Some of the measures introduced by the company included introducing fruit and healthy options to the tuck shop at Banks’ Meadowfield headquarters, signing up to the corporate health and fitness with Durham County Council to provide employees with a discounted membership rate and providing information to staff on monthly themed health and wellbeing initiatives, such as cancer awareness, healthy eating, allergies and diabetes. 

Community relations co-ordinator Emily Hunter, who acted as one of the scheme advocates, says: “Taking part in this scheme makes sense from everyone’s point of view – the staff gain greater awareness of health issues and practical help in improving their own and their families’ well-being, and the company gets improved employee morale through the changes that are put in place.

“We had a really positive response to the scheme across our workforce, which is reflected in how quickly we managed to get this Bronze award, and we’re certain it’s giving our people the information they need to make better lifestyle choices both at work and elsewhere.”

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “Our employees are our greatest asset and the key to our business success, so it’s only common sense to take steps like this to improve their health and well-being.

“Just taking a few relatively simple steps towards improving the health of employees can result in benefits to business, the economy of the region and the quality of life of those who live in the North East, and we’d very much recommend other local firms looking at how they might get involved with this very worthwhile scheme.”

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