Health at work is key to new consultancy

Bournemouth Univeristy’s Centre for Wellbeing and Quality of Life (CeWQol) has received funding from the University’s Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) grant to support commercial and public sector firms and charity organisations in their quest to be recognised as healthy workplaces – and achieve formal accreditation through external agencies such as Investors in People and the Royal Society for Public Health.

The package focuses on wellbeing and humanisation – a term being championed by the University (building on the work of Professors Kate Galvin and Les Todres) around the importance of people-centred processes that support wellbeing and the concern with helping employees feel valued.

Organisations will have the unique opportunity to draw on the University’s wide-ranging expertise including human resources management (recruitment and retention), occupational health and safety, healthier communities (nutrition, exercise and sport), and the design of working environments and stress alleviation.

As such the project involves five academic schools – Health and Social Care; Business School; Design, Engineering and Computing; Media School; and Applied Sciences – and the BU Wellbeing Enterprise Network in collaboration with the Centre for Practice Development and the Centre for Qualitative Research.

As part of the grant the University will develop a BU Wellbeing Enterprise Innovation Space at its Lansdowne Campus in which staff can engage in collaborative activity and deliver consultancy training for external organisations.

“Organisations are more dependent than ever before on well-trained, highly qualified and motivated staff,” said Dr Ann Hemingway, who is managing the development of the University’s wellbeing and humanisation consultancy package. “60% of adult waking hours are spent at work, yet 175 million working days are lost to illness, so organisations need to tackle head-on issues around absenteeism but also sickness presenteeism – employees
still turning up for work despite ill health and complaints that can so often result in future sickness absence.”

Dr Hemingway continued: “Our studies of workforce health and wellbeing have enabled us to achieve a new understanding of health at work which encompasses physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing and the social determinants of health.”

“What we are offering organisations is our multi-disciplinary expertise to help them organise their work, their environment, and the communication and social opportunities for their staff.”

Commercial, public sector and charity organisations interested in finding out more about the wellbeing and humanisation in the workplace consultancy package should contact Dr Ann Hemingway at Bournemouth University’s Centre for Wellbeing and Quality of Life on 01202 962796 or aheming@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Bournemouth University staff involved in the project are: Professor Steven Ersser; Dr Ann Hemingway; Dr Paul Stevens; Dr Fiona Cowdell; Professor Les Todres; Professor Kate Galvin; Clive Andrewes; Professor Yannis Georgellis; Dr Eloise Carr; Professor John Edwards; Joe Flintham; Dr John Hallam; Associate Professor Heather Hartwell; Dr Sarah Hean; Dr Ian Jones; Dr Elizabeth Norton; Julie Robson; and Colin Hewitt Bell.