WHO CAN HELP YOU
Greater Manchester: ambition for walking
Walking is the most accessible way to get moving more. Whatever your age or ability, taking a few extra steps every day is a great start to a more active lifestyle.
At GreaterSport, we’re supporting the Greater Manchester ambition to make walking part of our region’s culture. This means creating safe, attractive and supportive environments for people to walk as part of their daily routine (both within their working day and their leisure time) and develop a wider active lifestyle.
We want Greater Manchester to be a wonderful place to grow up, live and work, and grow old. If more people make walking more part of their daily routine, collectively we can support an improvement in air quality, reduce congestion, improve our health and wellbeing, and contribute to greater productivity, that’s great news all round! Transport, planning, greenspace, health partners, businesses, community organisations and people in communities are all working together to achieve this.
Why should workplaces get involved?
Physically active employees take 27% fewer sick days than inactive employees. For a business, that represents a significant financial advantage of having an active workforce.
It is a well-known fact that to support good health and wellbeing we should all try to move more and sit down less. The Chief Medical Officer’s guidance recommends that we reduce our sedentary time. Therefore, encouraging staff to walk more as part of the working day is one way to support a more active, productive and healthy workforce. Moving around the office more, taking the stairs, and standing workstations are all great ways for you to get started.
Benefits of walking for employees
Increased activity has excellent long-term health benefits. These include supporting muscles and bones, improving lung capacity and bone density, and helping prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions and diseases.
However, for employees struggling to get on board with an active workplace, it’s great to know that there are immediate short-term benefits of an active lifestyle too. In the workplace, these advantages include:
- Immediate, short term stress relief
- A renewed approach after a good night’s sleep
- An opportunity to notice things about the environment around you
- Feeling invigorated and more productive after an active work break
- An opportunity to informally chat with colleagues
To maintain good health and wellbeing, it’s recommended that we’re active enough to increase our heart rate and our body temperature for a total of 150 minutes a week. That may seem a lot to begin with, yet walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day (for example, walking instead of driving to work) counts as activity towards this goal. To make an active workplace plan accessible to every employee, split this 30 minute target into three, ten minute chunks. A walk to the bus stop at the start and end of the day and a ten minute lunchtime walk all add up.
Encouraging employees to walk more
Walking is the simplest way to introduce more activity into the working day. In fact, evidence shows that more people want to walk more, and they see the benefits. However, they need a little support and encouragement to get moving.
As an active workplace employer, this is where you step in. There are many ways to offer opportunities to walk more as part of day-to-day roles. The approach you choose will depend on the nature of your business, its values and priorities, and what is important to your staff.
Positive messages to get more of your employees walking at work include:
- It’s never too late to start
- Doing something is better than nothing: every step makes a difference
- Start small and build up gradually: just 10 minutes walking at a time counts towards your weekly activity levels
- It’s a great stress release
- Walking increases productivity and concentration
- Using the stairs burns four times as many calories as walking on the flat, and strengthens your leg muscles
Ways to include walking in the working day
With the right environment, most of us can take more steps at any time without the need for specialist equipment. However, some of your employees may need a little more gentle encouragement. Why not try:
- Netwalking: the opportunity to talk to project teams, people from different functions, or people doing similar roles from different sites/organisations. It’s a chance to spark new ideas.
- Walking meetings: a great way to hold your one-to-one or team meetings, and get a fresh perspective.
- Social walks at lunchtime: get a group together to head to a sandwich shop.
- Use the stairs: beat the morning and evening rush waiting for the lift. If your desk is on the top floor, you could start with walking just a few flights of stairs.
- Set up a collective challenge: as a team, walk a specific distance over a set time period. Make this meaningful to staff: it might be up to the summit of Everest, down to a London-based office, or to the city hosting the next Olympics. Make this even more engaging by connecting it to a fundraising cause, or record the challenges on apps or shared-access platforms.
- Litter picking: supply litter pickers in an umbrella stand by the doors, and encourage environmental awareness too.
For more information on GM Walking contact:
Do you support colleagues to enhance their own wellbeing? Are you looking for a simple, accessible physical activity to promote?
This GM Daily Mile Toolkit has everything you need to launch a Daily Mile campaign in the workplace or encourage staff working from home to take up a Daily Mile. The step-by-step guide, top tips and the downloadable marketing and promotional resources in this toolkit will help you to achieve your goal.
The toolkit is divided into 6 sections.
- Planning a workplace GM Daily Mile.
- Sharing health and wellbeing benefits.
- Promoting a GM Daily Mile Walk.
- Walking with others.
- Motivating colleagues.
- Celebrating progress and success.
For more information and resources you can visit The GM Daily Mile Toolkit for Employers and Workplaces here
As a population, we're sitting down too much. From siting at our desks at work and lengthy commutes to binge-watching Netflix and scrolling social media, we're spending long periods inactive.
Because of this, more than 1 in 4 of us do less than 30 minutes of activity each week. This is startling: in fact, we should be doing 30 minutes of activity each day.
That Counts! is a campaign aiming to redefine what it means to be active. For employers creating an active workplace, it’s a crucial way to get everyone moving more. It dispels the myth that activity needs to be long, difficult and intense. You can be active at work simply through everyday activities: they all count! It may be walking to one further bus stop, a stroll round the block at lunchtime, or walking to a colleague’s desk rather than picking up the phone.
Of course, looking after your employees’ physical wellbeing in the small ways can have a big impact on your business. Active employees demonstrate increased productivity and have fewer sick days.
The posters above are a great starting point for your workplace. Simply put them up by the stairs or on the canteen door, and remind your team that every single step they take makes a difference.
The modern working environment can be problematic. Record-high employment figures hide major problems. Our region spends and increasing amount of time at work, yet finds greater dissatisfaction in job roles. Most troubling, poverty rates have risen for every type of working family.
At GreaterSport, we know this needs to change. Alongside the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter, we’re supporting a productive and healthy workplace. We know that our region’s businesses grow and succeed based on the skills and engagement of their staff. And one way we know to increase health and satisfaction at work is through an active workplace.
At GreaterSport, we’re incredibly proud to be partnering with the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter to support productive and healthy workplaces. Contact our team to find out how we can help you.
For more information on how to get involved with the GM Good Employment Charter visit www.gmgoodemploymentcharter.co.uk
Skills for Growth SME
Skills for Growth – SME Support is a fully funded tailored service to help up-skill your employees and improve business productivity.
With more and more people working from home it can be difficult to ‘check-in’ with colleagues and ensure they are performing well. Through the Skills for Growth advisors and network of specialist services, they can help you implement strategies to ensure you are managing and leading your team in a remote environment and they feel supported.
Skills for Growth have many services to support SME's which include.
- Develop your team with skills
- Maximise future growth
- Reshape your business
For more information on how Skills for Growth can support you visit their website here
Sport England - Active Employee Toolkit
Sport England have produce this great resource full of tips and tools employers can use to support the health and wellbeing of employees through physical activity.
Sport Englands research shows that many people are finding it tough to stay physically active under coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions, yet there is growing evidence it’s more important now than ever for both employee and business health.
This toolkit is designed to help you support your employees to stay active over the coming weeks and months. It provides advice, tips and shareable resources so you can enable your teams to build more movement into their working day.
To find out more and to download the toolkit visit the Sport England Website
The health benefits of walking or cycling to work are well known. However we've learned that employees are often worried about using methods of travel as they feel it may be inconvenient and add more time to their commute.
To promote active workplaces, the challenge is to persuade people currently driving to work to change their commute. We want to show them that walking and cycling can be quicker, cheaper and less stressful. Moreover, they are significant ways to make activity integral to the working day.
At GreaterSport, we work alongside Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) sustainable journeys team. The team work with businesses in our region to encourage them to offer more opportunities for staff to travel sustainably. As well as cycling or walking, this includes car sharing and using public transport: a walk to the bus stop or train station is one way to increase activity levels. This support can cover both commuting and business trips.
GreaterSport are pleased to be working with Workplace Movement to add another way to support Active workplaces to be healthier, happier and more productive, with less stress, lower absence and better performance.
Workplace Movement comes with a range of tools, resources and support and is designed to make a positive impact right across your organisation. Your own Workplace Movement online dashboard puts you in control. Choose a package that works for you, however your team are based at the moment.
- Workplace Movement benchmarking tool
- Staff wellbeing survey
- Online resource library, including remote working guidance
- Training courses, including new online sessions
- Bespoke activity tracking challenges
For more information visit the Workplace Movement website www.workplacemovement.co.uk
Workplace Movement Workshop Testimonials
“Worth taking the time out of your day to pause and think about these wellbeing tips - especially recommended over Covid and the gloomy winter months for mental and physical wellbeing!”
Rebecca - PwC
"Brilliant session - very informative in a way that makes you more likely to take action after being inspired. I got to a lot of talks and often feel inspired, but with Rener Wellbeing, I feel inspired and more likely to take realistic and achievable actions"
Judith Richards - DfT
The benefits to improving employee wellbeing, such as boosting employee health and happiness, are proven. By enabling your staff to work on their wellbeing, you will also impact your business’ bottom line by reducing absence and turnover rates, and boost productivity, engagement, satisfaction and performance at work. Rener Wellbeing can help your business create a working culture that enables your staff to integrate wellbeing into their work and personal lives for the long term.
GreaterSport and Rener Wellbeing have partnered up to help companies in Greater Manchester enable their staff to sustainably improve their wellbeing, in line with the Good Employment Charter.
Rener Wellbeing looks at wellbeing through a holistic lens by focusing on physical activity, mental health, nutrition and sleep. They make sustainable improvements to the health and wellbeing within organisations. Rener Wellbeing takes a personalised approach, responding to the uniqueness of individuals' lifestyles and preferences, as well as organisational cultures.
They have worked with organisations across industries of all sizes, including companies such as Metro Bank, WeWork, Culture Trip, Kneesworth House (Priory Group’s largest hospital), and Loughborough University’s startup lab.
Rener Wellbeing designs and implements full wellbeing strategies for organisations as part of their Workplace Wellbeing Consulting service. The four main steps they take to implement bespoke wellbeing strategies are:
- Highlighting why wellbeing is essential for health, happiness and work to all staff
- Evaluating where your organisation is on the wellbeing journey
- Designing a bespoke wellbeing strategy based on the evaluation
- Implementing and iterating the strategy over the years to ensure the impact is sustainable
You can see how one strategy Rener Wellbeing developed had an impact on Shift8*’s employees’ health and happiness, as well as improved their bottom line in their newly released case study. By reducing their absence rates, decreasing their turnover rates, increasing their productivity and doubling their in year sales (in just three months), the strategy provided a return on investment of 1:250.
Rener Wellbeing can also provide support with:
- Designing and running tailor made wellbeing workshops
- 1:1 wellbeing support, using their five stage process
The Business Health Group
Physical Activity is just one way you can help support employees health and wellbeing. Business in the Community and Public Health England have produced some information on how you can also support other areas of your wellbeing policy.
The toolkit they have produced will help support healthy eating, healthy weight management. The toolkit will give you information and guidance on what to look out for when supporting colleagues in these areas.
Becoming an age-friendly employer
Increased activity in the workplace is for everyone. No matter what the age or ability of your employees, each and every one of them can get moving more.
At GreaterSport, we know that inactivity levels rise amongst older members of the population. Whilst we understand the reasons behind this, we know that there’s much we can do as a region to support older people to become more active. The workplace is a great place to start.
One way you as an employer can support your team is by becoming an age-friendly employer. Doing so makes sure that both you and the older members of your workforce can access the support needed to get everyone involved in workplace activity. By becoming an active workplace, you’re providing an environment for everyone, irrespective of age, to include physical activity in their day-to-day lives. Supporting workers with long-term health conditions, such as those that often occur as we age, also helps them to positively transition into retirement with a daily physical activity habit.
The importance of muscle strength and good balance
From around age 40 onwards, our muscles are prone to wasting away. This can impact balance, leading to trips and falls, workplace injuries, and long periods of absence.
As an employer, promoting the importance of improved muscle strength and balance exercises has multiple benefits. The ‘super six’ balance toolkit below is a simple and effective starting point. Activities such as heel-toe walking can be done whilst moving about the workplace, and toe raises can be easily included in meetings.
The Centre of Ageing Better, an independent charitable foundation, can give you great advice and support. You can find their ‘Becoming and Age-Friendly Employer’ publication here: www.ageing-better.org.uk.
Activity Alliance’s Ten Principles
Ensuring everyone in your workplace can be involved in activities is hugely important. When considering activities for your team, it's important to think about whether they are accessible for everyone.
The Activity Alliance are specialists in disability inclusion. They’ve developed ten principles to support employers to enable active workplace strategies that are suitable for everyone, including those with disabilities. The below video might be helpful to you.
At GreaterSport, we want to support workplaces to deliver a complete approach to health and wellbeing. One You will help you develop a rounded approach to your health and wellbeing policy.
Making better choices today can have a big impact on your employees' health. One You is here to help your employees get healthier and feel better with free tips, tools and support. Whether it's moving more, eating more healthily or checking yourself – One You can help make small, practical changes that fit in with life.
One You is from the NHS and includes programmes you may of heard of like Couch to 5k and campaigns such as Stoptober but will also give you advice for the body and mind.
For more information visit the One You website www.nhs.uk/oneyou/
Cyclescheme is an employee benefit that saves you 25-39% on a bike and accessories or even more. You pay nothing upfront and the payments are taken tax efficiently from your salary by your employer.
The cycle to work scheme allows employees to obtain commuter bikes and cycling accessories through their employer, whilst spreading the cost over 12 months and making unbeatable savings through a tax break.
For more information visit the Cyclescheme website here
Commute Smart is an exciting series of videos brought to you by British Cycling, covering all aspects of commuting by bike on the roads of Britain, whether you're an experienced commuter, or cycling into work for the first time.
In the bid to encourage more people to choose their bike as opposed to jumping in the car when they head back to work British Cycling have produced a series of Commute Smart videos. The videos cover all aspects to commuting to work safely and with confidence with loads of useful advice.
To watch the videos and to get more advice on cycling to work visit the British Cycling Website Here
Diabetes My Way is a one stop website which provides free online self-management support and education for people living with diabetes in Greater Manchester.
There are 3 elements to Diabetes My Way:
- Website – provides advice and information for people living with diabetes
- Platform – people living with type 2 diabetes can register to access their GP practice diabetes data to support self-management.
- Elearning Courses – a range of free QISMET accredited Elearning courses
- Platform – people living with type 2 diabetes can register to access their GP practice diabetes data to support self-management.
The website contains a range of information, videos and resources to support anyone with diabetes, their families and carers including information on possible complications of diabetes, weight management support and lifestyle advice. Visit the website to learn more
People living with type 2 diabetes can register to view their GP diabetes clinical record. Registering allows you to see in a clear, visual way your latest diabetes test results (such as HbA1C and cholesterol), helping you manage your diabetes, set goals with support from your healthcare team and track your progress. Find out how to register by viewing our step by step guide.
Diabetes My Way also offers a range of QISMET accredited structured education (e-learning) courses covering type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes, and using an insulin pump.
Want to know more? Visit Diabetes My Way
Looking after your health and wellbeing has never been more important.
Type 2 diabetes is now more common than ever. 3.9 million people are currently living with a diagnosis of diabetes in the UK with 12.3 million people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.
You may be more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes if you’re:
- Not physically active
- Over 40 and white, or over 25 and African-Caribbean, Black-African, Chinese or South Asian
- Family members have a history of diabetes, heart attack or stroke
- Blood pressure is high
The good news is more than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by helping people to make healthier choices.
Healthier You is a free NHS programme for people at risk of Type 2 Diabetes. The programme has supported thousands of people in Greater Manchester to make small changes to their lifestyle and reduce their risk of diabetes.
On Healthier You you'll learn
- What is a healthy diet
- Way to add physical activity into everyday life
- How to remove barriers that get in the way of making healthy changes
- Life changing skills and knowledge for long term success
- Skills to stay motivated
You can use the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool to find out your risk and join the programme if you are eligible.
Just visit the Diabetes UK website
Finding out your risk of Type 2 diabetes only takes a few minutes. It could be the most important thing you do today....
If you have any questions about anything in the Active Workplaces Toolkit, or want to start your journey toward becoming an Active Workplace, please complete the form below.