H&W LogoDuring March 2016, Alison Biggs, Occupational Therapist and owner of Healthywork Ltd attended the Health and Wellbeing at Work exhibition and conference at the NEC. Now in its 11th year, it is the UK’s leading event for HR and occupational health professionals responsible for the environment, health, safety and wellbeing of work-aged people. Alison found this to be a lively and interesting event and writes about her top take home tips here:

As well as various exhibitors ranging from Ergonomic furniture to fitness apps, there were many organisations advertising all-encompassing occupational health and health and safety services, professional bodies as well as charities providing information about various physical and mental health conditions and solutions.

I would say “Resilience” was the buzz word of the event this year. Resilience is the ability for individuals and an organisation to bend, stretch and flex to support each other and both to recover quickly.

Best resource to take away: The Essential Work and Cancer Toolkit by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Here is a snapshot of presentation snippets and tips which caught my ear:

  • Functional objective measures are the most relevant and beneficial when assessing job tasks.
  • Alzheimer’s can start 2 decades before Dementia so cognitive testing of an older workforce will be ever more relevant in the future.
  • Physical health and brain health are linked. Oxygen for both.
  • Recovery from Fibromyalgia / ME is possible and it is preventable.
  • Better communication of reasonable adjustments, when line managers change – keep electronic records.
  • Workplace technology such as speech recognition, audio note takers, language assist software, video conferences and captioning can assist all users and are inclusive methods for many physical, cognitive, mental health conditions and learning styles to save a business time and can improve its overall professional image.
  • Ease mental health discussions in the workplace with: open questions, discussing their health direct and early on, avoiding clichés, consider their individual needs and connect with them, warm body language, listen, understand, express concern, don’t give advice, communicate clearly and talk about other things as well. Seek medical help if required.
  • One cannot sacrifice health for performance or performance for health – manage both in parallel.
  • An individual with a health condition and their ability to drive a vehicle is not routinely discussed by the GP, so employers may need to get this checked out.

I am now looking forward to next year’s event and hope to see you there.

This post is written by Alison Biggs, Occupational Therapist and owner of Healthywork Ltd, an Occupational Health Services business providing DSE Asssement, Ergonomic Assessment, Functional Capacity Assessment, Vocational Assessment, Mental Health Assessment, Cognitive Assessment and Vocational Rehabilitation Return to Work services, as well as Manual Handling Training and Ergonomic Training. You can contact Alison on alison@healthywork.org.uk  or visit the website at https://healthywork.org.uk

Take Home Advice from Health and Wellbeing at Work NEC 2016

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Ergonomic Assessments at ARK in London and at one of the Academies in Elephant and Castle, South london, assessing the ergonomic needs of teachers.

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Alison has carried out 100s of assessments for AME some of which have involved multi disciplinary work with other stakeholders such as physiotherapists, computer technicians. Her work with the NHS and medical knowledge has brought an enhanced level of credibility to the work based employment assessment that she undertakes.

Clients trust her, she is diplomatic and highly professional at all times even when placed under considerable pressure to meet tight deadlines and juggle conflicting priorities.

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GMG Color Ltd

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‘I contacted Alison a couple of months ago and she came up to see me and my team quite recently, Alison was very thorough with everyone, some people needed an hour with her others just 10 minutes, however everybody got something out of her visit, the visit was informative but not long winded and not rushed.

I was also very impressed with the level of information supplied for each individual after the visit, which has enabled me to order what was needed (however I could have done without the cost this involved!!).

Overall I would highly recommend Alison and Healthywork Ltd’. (June 2017)

Ian Probert
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UNUM

Alison is professional at all times, she is easy to work with, adaptable and open to discussing how, through the reports she produces she can meet the changing needs of her clients.

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The feedback from the staff is very positive and they all found it very interesting. (DSE Risk Assessments and Ergonomics Education sessions).

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We are extremely impressed with the service you have provided and will definitely keep your details on file for any future issues. (FCE performed November 2011)

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An Ergonomic Assessment provided by Healthywork was well worth the money. The chair has been set up correctly, and is now more comfortable for the user and we have purchased the desktop equipment they suggested and this along with correct layout and improved positioning has really helped towards resolving the discomfort experienced.

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Capita Health Solutions

I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Alison Biggs from Healthywork Ltd. The reason is simple: she will provide the service that you require.

Healthywork delivered approx 750 Ergonomic Assessment to the customer Royal Bank of Scotland, and other companies in the RBS group such as in Reading, London, Nottingham, Farnborough. Including Direct Line based in Croydon, London, NIG Insurance, Churchill Insurance, Coutts, and Drummonds all based in London etc. Assessments were conducted all over the UK as bank branch based and regional office based assessments were also required.

Fiona Colegrave

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When standard instructions on worstation ergonomics didn’t result in any improvement in back pain, Alison provided expert professional guidance. This was constructive, practical and demonstrated the value of experience in this area.

Mr Antony Moss

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Our visit from Alison was an eye-opener. We thought that we knew what we were doing but every single team member learned something new. We learned how to use our equipment properly, we learned how to sit properly and we have all made adjustments to how we work since her visit. Everyone in the team has given feedback since that they are more comfortable in their daily work, and one person who has been in pain for months has changed her position and is now pain-free. Alison is friendly, easy to work with and great value for money. As manager, I thought that I would have to invest in a lot of new equipment but the reality is simply that we weren’t using what we had properly. I would definitely use Alison again and will write a workstation assessment into our on-boarding process for any new employees joining our team.

Eleanor Nickerson, Manager CRF Institute/Britains Top Employers