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Health and Wellbeing at Work

Health and Wellbeing at Work

Poplar HARCA commissioned Shortwork to facilitate participatory sessions with all the Estate Services teams in order to gain workers’ insights and experiences relating to health and wellbeing at work, particularly in light of the range of benefits and support strategies introduced in recent years in order to encourage healthier lifestyles for members of the workforce.

The aim was to understand more deeply relevant issues from the perspectives of the front line estate workers, and to identify with them achievable and realistic ways of overcoming barriers that may be stopping them accessing these benefits, and indeed other ways to improve their health and wellbeing.

Shortwork used participatory research techniques to engage with 105 members of the Estate Services teams, including horticultural staff, cleaners and drivers. During six sessions staff shared their different viewpoints and expertise about health and wellbeing at work.
Research findings

Positive aspects:

- Awareness of health initiatives provided by Popular Harca including gym membership, health shield package, and counseling services
- Physical aspects of the job keep staff fit and healthy
- High quality health and safety training and equipment
- Housing association ethos

Negative aspects:

- Low take up of available health initiatives due to confusion about what is available, literacy barriers that prevent access, and lack of availability to agency staff
- Economic factors, such as cost of dental treatments, and the fact that some health initiatives are subsidized rather than free
- Cost of living issues and related stress mean that other pressures in life prioritized over personal health and wellbeing
- Negative environmental factors such as availability of junk food, dog mess, and anti-social behaviour in areas staff work, as well as lack of amenities such as toilets and washing facilities.

Suggestions for change:

- Improve information about health services provided to staff
- Provide fruit boxes
- Improved staff amenities including toilets, washing facilities and drinking fountains
- Regular ‘patches’ so that staff get to know particular areas and people
- Greater respect and acknowledgment of the work Estate Services teams do, to be reflected in career progression opportunities and clear pay structure.

The full report can be downloaded for free here.

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