Improving staff wellbeing

Mental Health

One in four employees experience mental health problems. Using prevalence estimates from the most recent Psychiatric Morbidity Survey we know that more than 26,000 adult residents of Milton Keynes (aged 18-65 in 2017) are estimated to have a common mental health disorder (10,250 men and 16,390 women).

Further information can be found here Mental health and wellbeing guidance for employees

Many employers already recognise the moral and business case for supporting employee financial wellbeing.  Money worries affect our mental and physical health, which in turn can affect work performance.

The following links from the CIPD provide advice and guidance on financial wellbeing for employers:

Many employers already recognise the moral and business case for supporting employee financial wellbeing.  Money worries affect our mental and physical health, which in turn can affect work performance.

Support Available

  • Mind BLMK is a mental health and wellbeing charity for Bedfordshire Luton and Milton Keynes, providing community support, training, including Mental Health First Aid, and consultancy.
  • Rethink is a local community support service for people with longer term or more significant needs.
  • Talk for Change. Milton Keynes Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is a free, confidential NHS service providing psychological treatment for depression and anxiety disorders.
  • The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts. Tel: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day)
  • Free See the Signs Training - a suicide awareness course, is available for everyone. To find out more about this and how to access please contact us
  • Smile:)MK is a programme of courses aimed at supporting people with mild to moderate depression, anxiety and/or sleep difficulties
  • The Government's money and pensions service provides free, confidential and independent money and debt advice for employees

Smoking and tobacco

Smoking is the most important cause of preventable ill health and death in the UK (PHE 2017/18).   Over 13% of adults in Milton Keynes are smokers. This is higher than the regional percentage.

The effect on your business

The British Heart Foundation states that cigarette breaks cost employers £1,815 a year for each full time worker who smokes. This significantly impacts on the business and the health of an employee as smokers generally have poorer health and on average take 4.4 days off sick more than non-smokers due to the increased risk of health related sickness such as colds and flu, asthma and lung conditions.

What can you do as an employer?

  • engage in the local Healthy Workplace Award scheme 
  • establish a smoking and e-cigarette policy in your business place
  • promote Milton Keynes’ stop smoking service to your employees and allow time off for appointments
  • alternatively provide a support group on business premises for 7 weeks in partnership with the Stop Smoking Service

Support available

Evidence shows that people who receive support from a Stop Smoking Service are 4 times more likely to quit. Milton Keynes Council offers a free stop smoking service with well over half of those setting a quit date managing to quit.

The One You webpage provides free tips, tools and support to help people to stop smoking.

Healthy eating

In Milton Keynes it is estimated that over 69% of people are overweight or obese. On average, obese people take four extra sick days per year (Harvey et al., 2010) which has implications for people’s health and the workplace.

Being overweight or obese leads to an increased risk of many additional health problems such as; diabetes, heart disease, back problems, respiratory complaints, cancers, eyesight problems, low self-esteem, social exclusion and stigmatism.

What can you do as an employer?

  • Engage in the local Healthy Workplace Award scheme 
  • Provide a Shape Up 4 Business course in-house for your staff to learn more about healthy eating.
  • Have healthier snacks and lunch options available in the workplace.

Support Available

  • Sign up to a Weight Management programme by contacting your local free weight management programme MoreLife or with Weight Watchers or Slimming World.
  • For advice, tips and tools to support health and wellbeing please visit NHS Choices.

Better Health

Public Health England has a new app called Better Health which offers free evidence-based support and guidance to those working towards a healthier weight. There are a variety of NHS endorsed apps which will help people to introduce changes that will help them eat better and get active this summer, including the newly updated NHS Weight Loss Plan app.

Visit the NHS Better Health web page where you can download the app: ‘NHS weight loss plan’ via Apple Store or Google Play.

Physical Activity 

Physical inactivity is a high risk factor for ill health and mortality. People who have a physically active lifestyle have a 20-35% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke as well as a reduced risk of diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and colon/breast cancer and have improved mental health.

Over 19% of Milton Keynes adults are classed as inactive (PHE 2017/18). This is higher than the regional percentage.

The effect on your business

Employees who are physically active in and around their working day are 27% less likely to take time off sick.

What can you do as an employer?

  • engage in the local Healthy Workplace Award scheme
  • provide showers
  • provide facilities for activity
  • have walking meetings
  • subsidise gym memberships
  • set up running/walking groups
  • raise money for charity through active challenges.
  • write a travel plan for your organisation.
  • encourage employees to cycle or walk to work – ensure appropriate facilities, such as showers, secure storage facilities are available.
  • provide opportunities for active travel for staff by introducing flexible working policies.
  • Modeshift (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition Scheme) is the national travel plan rating scheme. It is available to support workplaces to deliver initiatives in walking, cycling and other forms of sustainable transport.
  • Milton Keynes get smarter travel provides ideas for sustainable travel. Email:

Support Available

  • being active - a host of resources and information to support adults of all ages and abilities to keep moving at home at Leap.
  • The Sports Development team supports and co-ordinates a range of sporting and recreation opportunities for everyone across Milton Keynes.
  • Health Walks a full list of walks, more information and walk leader contact details are available here. 
  • active travel - for most people, the easiest and most acceptable forms of physical activity are those that can be built into everyday life. 
  • promotion of national events like ‘Walk to Work Week’, ‘Cycle to Work Day’ and ‘National Bike Week’
  • One You  provides resources and advice on physical activity. 

Alcohol and substance misuse

Drug and alcohol misuse has a big impact on the workplace. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) estimates that the cost of alcohol-related absenteeism in England is £1.7 billion per year.

Work problems resulting from hangovers or being drunk at work include difficulty concentrating; reduced productivity; mistakes and workplace accidents.

Drinking alcohol is never completely risk free.  Regularly drinking more than the advised levels increases the risk of ill health.

What can you do as an employer?

Support Available

The Lower My Drinking app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.