Healthy and Ethical Workplaces

Thames Water offices on the Thames, Reading - by Callum Cromwell

The Healthy and Ethical Workplaces (HEW) programme

The aim of this programme is to encourage all organisations to develop a sustainable approach to employee health and wellbeing based on a solid, values-based ethical culture.  

Extensive research shows that a strong, ethical culture based on values provides a solid foundation for workforce wellbeing.

If people are respected at work, feel that they are being treated fairly and have a belief in the broader impact of their work, they are likely to be happier and more engaged and less likely to leave the organisation. Further research has shown that people who are engaged are also more productive, so this is a win-win for employees and employers.

Mental health issues in particular are an increasing concern in the workplace and we aim to inspire and educate individuals, from the CEO to the new intern, to understand the role they can play in creating a healthy and ethical workplace.

The social and business cost

Stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest cause of sickness absence in our society.

In the UK, chronic stress affects half a million people, leading to 11.7 million working days lost. This accounts for 45% of all days lost due to ill health, and the costs mount up to £5.2 billion (Health & Safety Executive, 2016). In the USA, chronic stress has been linked to 120,000 premature deaths and $190 billion in healthcare costs (Goh J, et al 2016). It can also decrease immune system function, increase inflammation and exacerbate depression.

Poor mental health costs the UK economy between £70 and 100 billion each year (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2015).

Poor mental health can also lead to physical illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. To compound matters, we don’t always make the right choices when it comes to looking after ourselves. For example inactivity is the fourth leading cause of global mortality (World Health Organisation, 2010).

Programme description

We plan to help organisations in Reading act to improve the wellbeing of their workforce through:

  • Events that provide inspiration, motivation and mutual support
  • Identifying champions within organisations to promote healthy and ethical workplaces initiatives
  • Providing training on creating a healthy and ethical workplace and support for champions and decision-makers
  • Working together with other organisations on ethics-based health and wellbeing initiatives
  • Connecting businesses with health and wellbeing expertise and signposting relevant resources
  • Sharing success stories and examples of best practice

Are you a healthy and ethical workplace champion or could you become one?

During 2019 we’re aiming to identify 50 HEW champions at organisations across Reading and the surrounding area and provide support to help them to make an even bigger positive difference.

  • Are you passionate about helping to build a values-based ethical culture inside your organisation?
  • Do you want to develop a sustainable health and wellbeing programme with firm ethical foundations?
  • Or are you simply frustrated by a lack of focus on core values and workforce wellbeing?

If any of these sound like you, please get in touch

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Ethical Reading is a new not-for-profit social enterprise. We need your support in order to create online training resources and to continue running inspiring events and raising awareness of ethical issues. Thank you!

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