Work Ready is committed to advancing the well-being of employees by providing bespoke dietary resources and workshops to enable workers to implement better food habits within their working day. Work Ready were a proud partner of ‘This Can Happen 2020’ event which ran last week, focused on workplace mental health. BDA’s Partnership Officer & Work Ready Programme Coordinator attended the event, here she reviews some of the insightful topics and reflects on how Work Ready can be a tool to serve employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
The event was an immersive 3 days full of insightful content on mental health from across the globe, utilising virtual stands and live talks from the studio and from people’s homes.
What we eat and views on self-confidence, body and diet was explored throughout the conference. Key Speaker Joe Wicks, said he encourages his colleagues and employees to look after their mental health by being a motivator and example, through living the mission statement of being fitter, healthier and happier.
He also touched upon awareness that being in the exercise and fitness industry can impact people’s perceptions of their bodies. He emphasised those who show signs of body dysmorphia should seek professional support.
This is certainly reflective when working in dietetics too. Employers need to consider how implementing a healthy eating strategy could impact their employees.
During some of the talks, sensitive topics and some personal stories were shared. I was moved by Obesity Stigma panelist Jessy Richards who opened up about how her employer had made her feel marginalised because of her weight. Discussions were had that gluttonous and laziness are often associated with obesity and that the stigma begins in school years, being the number 1 cause of bullying. Even health care- professionals have stigmatising views which affect referrals and treatment. Obesity stigma has strong links with mental health concern.
It is vital that wellbeing and mental health should be a focus over weight loss.
When receiving any recommendations around food and health, explore any conscious and unconscious bias there may be towards people with obesity. WHO reports 18.7% who are obese experience stigma, for those with BMI 40+ its 38%? For conscious bias explore your Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies. Then review where unconscious bias might rear its head, such as hiring decisions, workplace activities etc
Work Ready dietitians are not the ‘food police’
When a Work Ready Dietitian assesses a workplace, be aware this could raise anxiety amongst employees. It’s important to highlight Work Ready dietitians are not the ‘food police’ and are looking at a variety of factors when assessing dietary needs within a business. This could be access to water, how workers utilise breaks, what time are people working (shift workers), how physically demanding are the roles, amongst many other things. Work Ready focuses on how food can make us feel, and improve overall health.
Social prescribing should be a focus, to help avoid medical interventions.Baroness Dianna Barran MBE
Another session explored overcoming loneliness and social isolation at work. Statement that social isolation is as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes today and lead to people being more likely to suffer with Dementia and Depression. Surprisingly the ONS loneliness stats released last week showed 16-29-year olds are twice as likely to report loneliness than the older population.
Danielle Young (Regional Human Performance and Care lead Shell) shared that physical health focus is important to mitigate these risks. At Shell they focus on sports including football games to encourage workers to come out of their cabins, be active and socialise.
Baroness Dianna Barran MBE (Minister for Civil Society, Minister for Loneliness) said that as a community ‘social prescribing’ should be a focus, to help avoid medical interventions.
Another Key topic area was on, why we are still having this conversation around mental health in the workplace? From the facts and figures shared 3 very important questions to ask when delivering or developing any wellbeing strategies, Who will run and own it? What data do we have to assess needs? How do we know it’s working?
1) ownership is everything 2) data is the key to inform focus on where help is needed 3) keep agile to changing employee needsDr Monika Misra Head of Health and wellbeing EMEA GSK
Work Ready Dietitians have a variety of resources and activities they can share with an organisation However it all begins with a need. What are the needs of your employees? Our Work Ready Dietitians ask what you want, see what you need, design and deliver a bespoke programme, and review its effectiveness.
Before the closing session with the Keynote from Tony Adams MBE, we saw the global youth panel discuss global mental health and raised the most simple yet profound message:
Employees are humans first and then employees.Global Youth Panelist at This Can Happen
Workplace human beings aren’t a separate entity to home human beings! Particularly now more than ever, when the lines of home and work are blurred with increased homeworking, furlough and isolation. At the core people are whole humans in every setting.
For more information of how Work Ready can help your organisation and the wellbeing of your employees visit https://www.bdaworkready.co.uk/how-it-works/
To enquire for an individual nutritional assessment read more here https://www.bdaworkready.co.uk/product/individual-nutrition-assessments/.
If your organisation is interested in sponsoring or accessing any Work Ready Webinars please get in touch https://www.bdaworkready.co.uk/product/workshops/