British Gas plans wellbeing events to target staff health issues

British Gas is to hold health and wellbeing events designed to address mental health and musculoskeletal problems, as well as a four-month walking challenge for its 28,000 staff.

After discovering 60% of staff absences resulted from mental health and musculoskeletal issues (30% each), the company is to tackle these in two separate events this year. Nigel Wilkinson, head of health, wellbeing and the environment at British Gas, said: “We are trying to be more strategic going forward and we have been looking at the biggest causes of absence.”

The firm’s mental health awareness week will take place in April, shortly before the national Mental Health Action Week.

Free massage

Employees will be offered a free massage and a face-to-face counselling session with the firm’s employee assistance provider, Axa Icas. There are also plans to get national charities, such as Mind, involved.

The backcare event, in October, is expected to have physiotherapists on hand to provide advice and existing health
benefits, such as gym discounts, will be promoted. British Gas’s catering providers will offer free snacks and advice about nutrition.

The walking challenge, to be held in April, is provided by Global Corporate Challenge and will see staff count their daily steps with a pedometer and plot a virtual tour around the world.

A survey after last year’s event showed 63% of participants increased their energy levels and 39% said they had lost weight.

“We are not branding this as a health promotion, it is just a fun thing to do,” said Wilkinson.

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