Exclusive: Marks and Spencer introduces free staff physiotherapy

Marks and Spencer physiotherapy
Credit: patat / Shutterstock.com

Marks and Spencer has launched a free physiotherapy service for any of its 60,000 employees that are affected by a musculoskeletal (MSK) issue.

Through a partnership with Pam Physio Solutions, the retailer’s employees will be able to refer themselves for free advice and up to six free physiotherapy sessions. After making a phone call, they will receive a text back confirming the details of their appointment within one to four days, and will be offered advice about self-treatment, hands-on physio sessions or education on how to correct poor posture that leads to pain, depending on their needs.

Marks and Spencer managers will be made aware that a referral has been raised so they can allow the employee time off for the appointment. Promotional videos, lanyards, key fobs, posters and leaflets are also provided in order to reach all of the retailer’s employees, including those on the shop floor and in warehouses who do not have computer access.

Sarah Manlow, head of colleague wellbeing for Marks and Spencer, said: “Although we had a physiotherapy service in place before, employees could only access this if they were referred by their manager. We wanted to unlock access to physiotherapy and improve the employee experience by giving all our colleagues the chance to pick up the phone and refer themselves, allowing them to take proactive ownership for their health and wellbeing. Retail roles are physical, colleagues are on their feet all day, are often lifting, unpacking and stacking products, so looking after MSK health is really important.”

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“Early intervention matters because the sooner employees can be helped to recover from a joint or muscle issue, the more likely they are to be able to remain in work while they recover, which is also good for their financial and mental health.”

Simon Croker, colleague services service manager for Marks and Spencer, added: “Although there’s a cost involved, we know that by helping people to stay fit and well, we are impacting their personal wellbeing while also improving their levels of attendance.”