Ireland’s second National Workplace Wellbeing Day will take place on Friday 8th April. Public and private sector organisations across the country are encouraged to participate in the day, which aims to improve employee health through promoting better physical activity and nutrition in the workplace. As part of this year’s activities, employers are being called upon to arrange a “Lunchtime Mile” – a one mile cycle, jog, run, walk or swim for employees in the vicinity of their workplace.
According to research commissioned by the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF), organisers of Workplace Wellbeing Day only one in three workers takes the recommended level of exercise for a healthy lifestyle each week. Three in ten workers undertake no physical exercise during work time with just over a quarter (27%) describing themselves as fairly or very physically active.
When launching Workplace Wellbeing Day 2016 last November, the then Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said: “A healthy workplace is a happier and more productive workplace. That’s true for both staff and employers. We spend so much of our lives at work that it makes sense for so many reasons to foster a healthy workplace. It creates a happier environment, reduces sick leave, increases productivity, and helps to beat the Monday blues. So I would encourage everyone to take part on the day. The Government will also shortly be launching a new obesity policy so I’m encouraged that industry is already taking a role to improve public health.”
The nationwide campaign is supported by Ibec. Danny McCoy, CEO, Ibec said “Improving wellbeing is in everyone’s interest, including employers. In 2014 over 4 million days were lost in Ireland due to absenteeism by small businesses alone. Given the considerable amount of time people spend in the workplace, it’s the ideal place to encourage healthier lifestyles amongst adults. We are encouraging employers of all sizes and across all sectors to get involved.”
On Friday, 8th April, employers are being asked to put a special focus on wellbeing through promoting existing and new initiatives available in their workplace as well as hosting special events for staff, such as the “Lunchtime Mile”. Aramark, Bank of Ireland, the Department of Public Expenditure, ESB, Intel, the NSAI and Waterford Institute of Technology were among the hundreds of employers across the public and private sectors that supported the inaugural event. They organised a range of special events for staff on the day including healthy breakfasts, health checks and talks, exercise and fitness classes, cookery demonstrations and lunchtime walks. Further details of how companies can get involved in this year’s event are available at nhfireland.ie/wellbeing