How to incorporate public health messages into your employee wellbeing programme
Public health messages point a spotlight on important issues, raise crucial awareness and have the power to influence people into changing their behaviour. They also shape health priorities in the media and government strategies because they are often in response to research and tied to common health concerns that need addressing.
In business, these public health messages are also worth taking note of and utilising as a free resource. Since they are topical, relevant and bring attention to key health issues, they can provide a valuable direction for employee wellbeing programmes and encourage employees to make positive lifestyle changes.
Health and wellbeing go hand-in-hand, so it therefore makes sense to harmonise your wellbeing programme with public health messages so that your employees are given a comprehensive support. By doing this, not only will you raise awareness of important health issues across your business, but you’ll strengthen your overall programme.
How to do it:
Identify the key areas of importance
There are many health awareness campaigns and specific topics of importance that are given coverage in the media and are subsequently supported by the government and public health organisations. To integrate them into your wellbeing programme, the first thing to do is identify what these key areas are.
By looking at health messages in the media and the different topics that recur from key reputable press outlets, you’ll very quickly be able to find the prominent areas to focus on. Public Health England is a useful source of facts, resources and information, and they even provide a comprehensive list of key public health issues that you can leverage. Some of these include mental health, obesity, physical activity, smoking, heart disease, alcoholism – the list goes on.
Your programme features should therefore address some of these significant health matters to create consistency between employee wellbeing and public health messages. For example, offering your employees discounted gym membership ties in with the public health concerns around obesity and lack of exercise.
Capitalise on awareness campaigns
Public health campaigns run throughout the year and are important in helping raise awareness and encouraging people to take action to support their health and wellbeing. Whether it’s a day, a week, or a month, these events run throughout the calendar and provide a great opportunity to harmonise your employee wellbeing programme with public health messages. For example, this month there’s strong focus on raising awareness about men’s health because of Movember. This is something our business is proud to be supporting.
Capitalising on these awareness campaigns will ensure that your wellbeing programme is in tune with public health messages and delivering important information to your employees. Having these key events mapped out in a calendar will enable you to use them to inform the services you provide your employees and the communications you deliver throughout the year.
Mental Health Awareness Week, for example, is a key awareness campaign that you can integrate into your wellbeing programme. Placing a focus on different areas of health and wellbeing, like mental health, ensures that your employees are given a wide range of information and resources which allows you to deliver a higher level of care in the long run.
Get involved in charitable events
Charitable events are often held to raise money and awareness for a variety of public health issues. By actively supporting these kind of events and getting your employees involved, you’ll engage with employee wellbeing and public health messages.
For example, your business could hold a Macmillan Coffee Morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, or you could encourage employees to join together to do an active challenge for mental health charity Mind.
We hold a Macmillan Coffee Morning at peoplevalue every year, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to bring our people together to raise money for a good cause. The event is publicised across our business and everyone is invited to bake, donate and socialise during the morning.
These types of events are important, not only because of the fundraising aspect, but because they portray powerful messages and encourage employees to talk about specific health problems. It also helps to break down the stigma that often exists around particular health issues.
Getting your employees involved in these events can have a positive impact on their wellbeing because they’re encouraged to socialise with their colleagues and make a difference through their actions.
Make work a healthy space
There are also a number of simple yet helpful things your business can do to reinforce public health messages while also supporting your employees’ wellbeing.
Implementing a cycle to work scheme, for example, is one effective way of encouraging your employees to be more active by providing them with the tools to easily acquire a bike. This encourages employees to lead a healthier lifestyle and add exercise to their daily routines.
At the same time, you could simply make sure there’s plenty of fruit available in your office so that your employees can make healthy choices while they’re at work. All of these actions add up to create an environment where the health and wellbeing of your employees is taken care of.
Keep your finger on the pulse
To create harmony between your employee wellbeing programme and public health messages, a responsive approach can also be highly effective. By paying close attention to health messages in the press and taking note of the important areas of discussion, your wellbeing programme will be able to address areas that come into the fore.
For example, if there’s a specific health message in the press, take the opportunity to raise awareness about it through your wellbeing programme, or relate it to existing resources that employees have access to. Your employees will benefit from having this kind of information available to them and knowing that your business’ finger is on the pulse in terms of health and wellbeing.
Proactively endorsing public health messages will help your business develop your wellbeing programme to address more areas and provide a greater level of support to your employees.
In general, by keeping informed of public health messages and integrating key topics, awareness campaigns and events, you’ll ensure that your wellbeing programme remains relevant and effective.