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Mayor of London backs healthy workplaces

Last week, more than 50 employers from across the capital, including many City-based organisations, had their commitment to employee welfare celebrated by being awarded the London Healthy Workplace Charter at a ceremony at City Hall. Congratulations to the Square Mile employers who were awarded, including:
  • Landsec
  • Moorhouse Consulting
  • Society of Occupational Medicine
  • Bart's Health NHS Trust
  • JBW Group Debt Recovery
According to the Greater London Authority who oversees the Charter, some 27.3 million working days are lost each year in London because of sickness absence or injury. An estimated 914,300 adults of working age in the capital are affected by common mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, costing London's businesses and industries £10.4 billion each year.

The London Healthy Workplace Charter helps organisations to address some of the biggest challenges that they face, including staff recruitment and retention, sickness absence and employee productivity. The Charter provides a  framework for employers to address these challenges, supporting the development of wellbeing programmes across a wide range of areas, including mental health support, tackling smoking, alcohol and substance misuse, facilitating increased physical activity and promoting healthier eating.

The Mayor of London - Sadiq Khan - supports the Charter and is committed to ensuring employers across the capital are provided with clear and easy guidance on how to improve their workplaces, to enable their staff to flourish.

In total, almost 250 organisations are now accredited, improving the working lives of more than 326,000 Londoners as a result. The Charter is open to businesses of all sizes and in all sectors, including small and medium-sized employers and those in the charity sector. It is a great way to ensure a strategic and structured approach to health and wellbeing, as well as gaining recognition from the Mayor of London for prioritising staff health.

Accreditation to the Charter is completely free and every organisation that signs up receives assistance with the accreditation application from their local borough lead. For City of London employers this support is provided by Toby Thorp (Environmental Health Officer at the City Corporation). To find out more about the Charter, please email Toby here. For organisations outside of the Square Mile, please register your interest here.

Moorhouse Consulting pick up their award (L) and the Bart's Health NHS Trust team attend the ceremony (R)
Quote of the week: "Londoners are our city's greatest asset and our health and wellbeing is vital in making London the fast-paced and successful city it is. These businesses and organisations understand that a healthy and supportive working environment not only empowers employees to give their best; it actually improved productivity. That's why I'm so pleased to see that record numbers are signing up to the London Healthy Workplace Charter." -  Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Next month...
  • World AIDS Day (1 December)
This year marks the 30th World AIDS Day. In the 30 years since its inception, huge strides have been made in addressing the stigma related to HIV and AIDS. But people living with HIV are still vulnerable to stigma and discrimination, fuelled by the fear of HIV transmission. This is despite the fact that modern medical treatments can reduce the amount of virus in an individual’s bloodstream until it is undetectable, and therefore cannot be transmitted to others.

Tackling stigma has payed a crucial role in encouraging the uptake of testing, preventative measures and treatment, which in turn has led to a dramatic decline in London in new HIV diagnoses.

Last week, ahead of World AIDS Day, the City of London Corporation's Health and Wellbeing Board became the UK's first local authority to endorse the global "Undetectable Equals Untransmittable" ("U=U") consensus statement, aimed at tackling HIV-related stigma. "U=U" means that when someone is virally suppressed on HIV treatment, they cannot pass the virus on to others, including sexual partners.

By backing the consensus statement, the City Corporation aims to:
  • Emphasise the importance of individuals knowing their HIV status;
  • Support those living with HIV and challenge the root causes of HIV-related stigma;
  • Reduce barriers to HIV testing, reducing the time between infection and diagnosis, and preventing new infections; 
  • Help improve the mental and emotional health of those living with HIV.
The Equality Act 2010 makes certain types of discrimination unlawful, and as an employer, you may well have an equal opportunities policy that talks about how you will tackle discrimination, but did you know that anyone diagnosed with HIV has the same protections as disabled people, regardless of their health status?

By endorsing the "U=U" consensus statement, your organisation can send a clear message that you recognise people living with HIV cannot pass on the virus if they are taking their medicine correctly. This sends a strong anti-stigma message to  employees, including those in your workforce who may be living with HIV but have not disclosed their status, and marks you out as a responsible business.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, signed the Fast-Track Cities Initiative on behalf of London in January 2018, as part of a major push to reduce the rate of new HIV infections and eliminate stigma in London. Endorsing the "U=U" consensus statement supports Fast-Track Cities and has already been endorsed by over 785 organisations in 95 countries. We would like to see individual businesses in the City to sign up too, to send the message across their half a million-strong workforce, with is both diverse and international.
Those working and living in the City of London can access HIV testing services through the City's new sexual health clinic at 80 Leadenhall, or through the Do It London portal.

To find out more about how your organisation can support "U=U", please register your interest here and the Business Healthy team will be in touch with guidance.

Let's talk about the menopause


Half of the population will go through the menopause at some point in their lives. Usually, this happens between the ages of 45 and 55. In the UK, the average age is 51, though for some women it may start earlier, as a result of medical conditions or treatments.

Many women going through the menopause will do so while working and may need support. Symptoms relating to the menopause can be wide-ranging and may be experienced for many years. The menopause is still a taboo subject in most workplaces; however it can have a big impact on physical, social and emotional wellbeing, including confidence and productivity at work. Having a supportive work environment can make all the difference to an experienced and highly-skilled woman staying in work.

The British Menopause Society has published a series of informative fact sheets for the public, which employers may find useful to better understand the needs of their workers.

We think more profile should be given to supporting women going through the menopause within a work setting and are keen to host a specialist-led masterclass on breaking the taboo around this issue. If your organisation would like to support this session by offering some space and some snacks, please get in touch.

Planning ahead 

Business Healthy has refreshed its Health and Wellbeing Campaigns calendar for 2019, in partnership with the City & Hackney Public Health teams.

The calendar is a free tool for employers based in the City of London, Hackney and beyond to help plan internal activities to support the health and wellbeing of their own staff and even external activities to engage the wider business community. Aligning activities with these external milestones can help boost the profile of a specific issue, as staff may already be aware of it from the press and social media. Internal communications teams may also find it a valuable tool, to help draw attention to specific themes throughout the year. The interactive calendar includes links through to the leading organisations for each milestones, for more information. Access the calendar here and feel free to share it with your colleagues, contacts and networks.

Talking of planning ahead, the Business Healthy team is busy designing a programme of activities and events for our members in 2019. If there is a specific topic you would like to see covered, we'd love to hear from you! Please drop us a line here.

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Business Healthy is funded and delivered by the City of London Corporation's Public Health team, supporting the City Corporation's statutory obligations to ensure the health and wellbeing of the almost half a million people who work in the Square Mile each day.

Copyright © 2018 Business Healthy, All rights reserved.

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