Adur and Worthing Wellbeing at Work Programme
A local businessman praised a pioneering programme delivered by Adur & Worthing Councils which offers free health checks for workers.
Owner of the Fat Greek Taverna, Andy Sparsis is one of the businesses to sign up for the Wellbeing at Work programme after recognising that his staff were feeling the strain from working under challenging conditions during the COVID pandemic.
The programme, which is delivered by Adur & Worthing Wellbeing with funding from West Sussex County Council, is designed to help businesses cut staff absences due to sickness by supporting employees to improve their health.
Nationally, 131 million days a year are lost to sickness absence, which costs the UK economy an estimated £100 billion every year. And this figure is expected to rise as the fallout from the COVID pandemic continues.
Remote Working and the Impact of COVID
Remote working has led many employees to feel isolated, leading to reduced mental wellbeing. And the introduction of protective measures such as social distancing and the wearing of face masks in public places has placed extra pressure on staff working in hospitality and retail, which makes up a significant proportion of the Adur and Worthing workforce.
Andy Sparsis said: “As a business, by law, we have to go through various safety checks and risk assessments. This includes making sure our cooks wear chef whites, have the right footwear and are fit for work in a physical sense, but there’s was nothing about mental health,”
“Hospitality is low paid and the hours are unsocial so you have to find ways to make it enjoyable. Creating the time to prioritise workplace health has made a huge difference to our employees.”
The Wellbeing at Work initiative, which is aimed at small businesses in Adur and Worthing, is unveiled by Adur & Worthing Councils and shines a spotlight on the work of the Councils and partner organisations to support those impacted by the COVID pandemic.
Cllr Kevin Boram, Adur’s Executive for Health & Wellbeing, said: “It’s been almost two years since the first lockdown was announced and the pandemic is still far from over. Long periods of being isolated from family and friends, uncertainty about work and not being able to exercise freely have taken their toll on our health and wellbeing.
“We lead with a story about the pioneering Wellbeing at Work programme, which is run by Adur & Worthing Wellbeing. The service offers a free workplace health check for local businesses and is designed to support employees to improve their health, which in turn can reduce sickness absence.”
Cllr Dr Heather Mercer, Worthing’s Executive Member for Customer Service, said: “The power of community has never been felt more strongly in Adur and Worthing than it does now. Communities bring people together, to look out for each other and help to create a sense of belonging.”
“Sadly, the demand on our food projects continues to grow and they are supporting hundreds of families a week. We anticipate this demand will continue to grow as the cost of living crunch is set to hit households of the winter months.”