Employee wellbeing consultancy package offered to health-conscious businesses

typical workplace

The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) awarded by HEFCE to English HEIs as an annual block grant to support the development of a pervasive enterpreneurial environment through sustained engagement in enterprise activities. Prof Steve Ersser and Dr Ann Hemingway (HSC) were internally awarded HEIF-4 funding to collaborate with academics across BU to develop a consultancy package to promote wellbeing and humanisation in the workplace, building on the success of the cross-School Centre for Wellbeing and Quality of Life (CeWQoL). We caught up with Project Manager Dr Ann Hemingway to find out how the project is going…

The funding is to enable BU to develop a multi-dimensional consultancy package to help businesses improve the wellbeing of their employees.

“Organisations are more dependent than ever before on well-trained, highly qualified and motivated staff,” said Dr Ann Hemingway. “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 research on workforce health and wellbeing has enabled us to achieve a new understanding of health at work which encompasses physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing and the social determinants of health.”

CeWQol has received £250,000 from the University’s 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 Prof Kate Galvin and Prof 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 research expertise from across all the schools in the university. This includes 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 BU has developed a Collaborative Research Space at the Lansdowne campus in which staff can engage in collaborative activity and deliver consultancy training for external organisations.

“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.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the wellbeing and humanisation in the workplace consultancy package should contact Dr Ann Hemingway at BU’s Centre for Wellbeing and Quality of Life on 01202 962796 or aheming@bournemouth.ac.uk.teamwork

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; Mr Clive Andrewes; Professor Yannis Georgellis; Professor Thomas Lange; Dr Eloise Carr; Professor John Edwards; Mr Joe Flintham; Dr John Hallam; Associate Professor Heather Hartwell; Dr Sarah Hean; Dr Ian Jones; Dr Elizabeth Norton; Ms Julie Robson; and Colin Hewitt Bell. 

For further information please see project page on the CeWQoL website.