Healthy workplace bulletins, news and campaigns

Monthly Workplace Health Bulletin

October - A Focus on Domestic Abuse

A focus on Domestic Abuse

Download the October bulletin

Read the accessible version of the October 2023 Bulletin - a focus on domestic abuse


September - A Focus on Women's Health and Wellbeing at Work

A focus on women’s health and wellbeing at work

Read the September bulletin.

Workplace Menopause Support Women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing demographic in the workplace. At this stage in their careers women are often at their most successful, productive and experienced. Yet it's in the workplace where many people struggle most with menopause symptoms, and many women end up reducing their hours, passing up promotions or leaving their jobs altogether.

Menopause Xplored Interested in the Menopause Xplored workshops? FREE training available using immersive film with VR headsets and expert guidance on the menopause for small and medium businesses in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire.

Sign up here and when dates and venues are set, they will contact everyone who has signed up to advise the venues and invite you to join them for a workshop that suits your availability. Wellbeing of Women is a UK charity led by women’s voices to make changes with representation that is inclusive and diverse. About us

Wellbeing of Women also offer a Menopause Workplace Pledge. Sign the Menopause Workplace Pledge

You will also find a range of FREE resources on menopause on the Workplace and Wellbeing resources and services webpage click here

More women are entering employment over recent years, making up 48% of the national workforce. Women's health and wellbeing are essential considerations for any workplace, as evidence shows women face unique health challenges, including:-

  • Menopause
  • Menstruation
  • Gynaecological conditions
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress and burnout
  • Caring responsibility

Recommendations for workplaces:- Ensure sanitary products are freely available Adopt flexible work practices and appropriate workplace adjustments Establish a taboo free culture with open communication Ensure engagement and enabling women to have a voice Carry out risk assessments Develop supportive absence management policies Develop a domestic abuse policy Provide health and wellbeing information to all women Raise awareness of women's health challenges at work.

If you need help to improve the health and wellbeing of your workforce please visit the Healthy Workplace webpages. You will find a range of resources and FREE Workplace Health and Wellbeing Service Offers and information about the Health Workplace Standards.

Support for Pregnant Women

Women can now self refer for pregnancy and maternity care as soon as they are pregnant. For more information in your area click on the links below:-

Would you like to be added to our mailing list for more information on:

Please email the Workplace Health Team at

August - A Focus on Smoke Free Workplaces

A Focus on Smoke Free Workplaces

The Stoptober campaign increases the odds of making a quit attempt in October by 80%. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to promote this health campaign! You can find out more on our campaign webpages

The Stop Smoking Service offers FREE level 2 advisor training to committed BMK workplaces seeking to set up an in house stop smoking support service.

To book a place please contact

The Healthy Workplace Standards are a best practice framework which will support you to become a smokefree workplace. Register now and the Workplace Health Team will help you to achieve your smokefree goals and a healthy workplace award.

Are you a smokefree workplace?

Did you know that the average smoker takes more sick leave than a non -smoker and smoking breaks also cost an employer on average £1,815 per year? Every employee that quits will improve their mental health, have higher energy levels and after a year, will halve their risk of heart attack.

The workplace offers an ideal opportunity to encourage and support employees who want to quit and create a smokefree environment by;

  • Signposting individuals to the Stop Smoking Service
  • Designating a smokefree champion
  • Offering basic awareness training for employees
  • Offering advisor training for employees
  • Developing a smokefree policy
  • Working to achieve the Healthy Workplace Smoking and Tobacco standard
  • Designating the entire site as a smokefree workplace

How can the Stop Smoking Service help you and your employees?

The Stop Smoking Service is there to help your workplace to become a smokefree environment with the assistance of friendly advisors.

  • Free resources including posters and leaflets to improve awareness and help employees access the service
  • Advice in policy development
  • Support for individuals to stop smoking, either online, in person, individually or in a group. Check out this video for one service user’s experience
  • Very brief advice training on quitting
  • Stop smoking level 2 advisor training enabling the workplace to support employees in house to stop smoking. Your workplace will be rewarded financially for each successful quit!
  • Workplace drop ins and support for your wellbeing events
  • Free lung health checks for employees aged 55- 74

For more information or to access the Stop Smoking Service please contact :

You are invited to a FREE breakfast Workplace Health and Wellbeing event at The Forest Centre Marston Moretaine on 26th September 2023 to meet a range of Health and Wellbeing provider services, hear presentations focusing on inclusive employment and be part of the Health Workplace Awards. To book please click here.


July - A focus on suicide prevention in the workplace

See the signs FREE suicide awareness training

This training is an introduction to basic suicide awareness for those who live or work in, Bedfordshire, Luton & Milton Keynes. The training is delivered online, and the session is 2 hrs 30 minutes. Book your place now.

As an employer, you have a legal duty of care to your employees, but with people spending a third of their waking hours in the workplace, there is also a moral duty to support and care for your workforce. Moreover, employees need and expect sustainable and mentally healthy workplaces, which for some workplaces requires culture change.

The Healthy Workplace Standards are a framework which will support you to make these changes to the benefit of your business. Register now and the Workplace Health team will support you in your journey to improve the health and wellbeing of your workforce and achieve a healthy workplace award.

The Baton of Hope Workplace Charter is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to achieving the mental health standard.

The workplace Health Team will also connect you and your employees to a range of free mental health and wellbeing support services and training.

Let's talk about suicide prevention

Talking about suicide can be difficult, it can be hard for workplaces to know where to start on suicide prevention. Workplaces provide a crucial role in suicide prevention which includes reducing stigma and misconceptions, listening to colleagues and directing people to the right help. It is important for workplaces to promote a positive and comfortable mental health and wellbeing culture and ensure there is a suicide prevention strategy. The Baton of Hope below is a new growing movement to support workplaces on suicide prevention.

Between 2019 and 2021, 182 people died by suicide in Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. The rate in Milton Keynes was the highest with 91 people and data tells us that men in their 40s, working in routine and manual occupations are at most risk.

The Baton of Hope suicide prevention campaign

The BOH UK is designed to be the biggest suicide awareness and prevention initiative the UK has ever seen, opening up necessary conversations and prompting appropriate actions. The specially designed baton is touring UK towns and cities for two weeks this Summer, and came to Milton Keynes on 4th July 2023 to raise the profile of this issue. To find out more click here

The Baton of Hope Workplace Charter

The BOH Workplace Charter enables workplaces to support and prevent suicides in the workplace. The Charter is achievable and relevant to workplaces of all sizes and has 6 principles:

1. Make suicide awareness, support and prevention a workplace priority.

2. Use clear and consistent messaging about suicide for internal communication and

induction training.

3. Implement suicide prevention, early detection and supportive services.

4. Embrace those with ‘lived experience’ of mental ill-health or suicide.

5. Promote crisis services and other resources providing suicide prevention advice,

counselling, training and support.

6. Promote the charter to increase suicide awareness, support and prevention.

Organisations committing to the charter show employees, clients and potential recruits that they are committed to the principles and support a move towards a zero-suicide society.

Register your interest in the Workplace Charter for suicide support and prevention.

George Sullivan is a suicide survivor who is determined to raise awareness and understanding of depression, suicide and mental health as a whole. George believes everyone deserves help and advocates support in every workplace. See George’s video here

You are invited to a FREE breakfast Workplace Health and Wellbeing event at

The Forest Centre Marston Moretaine on 26th September 2023 to meet a range of Health and Wellbeing provider services, hear presentations focusing on inclusive employment and be part of the Healthy Workplace Awards.

To book please click here.




June - A focus on training opportunities

The WPH team have collected a range of FREE training opportunities for ALL workplaces across Milton Keynes, Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire.

If you need help to improve the health and wellbeing of your workforce please visit the Healthy Workplace webpages. You will find a range of resources, the FREE Workplace Health and Wellbeing Service Offer and information about the Healthy Workplace Standards.

One of the five ways to wellbeing is to keep learning click here for more information. Being in ‘good work’ is good for your health and wellbeing. Good work is

defined as having a safe and secure job with good working hours and conditions, supportive management and opportunities for training and development.

Education and training supports employees to develop and progress in work, which not only results in better employment rates, it can create an environment where your employees feel valued.

A happy, healthy workforce makes great business sense!

The following Health and wellbeing training opportunities are available: -

  • Financial Wellbeing - Protect your staff from Illegal money lending. Stop Loan Sharks
  • FREE online training courses teach you the skills and confidence to have a potentially life-saving conversation with someone you’re worried about.        Zero Suicide Alliance
  • The importance of taking breaks webinar. The Bank Workers Charity

You will also find a range of FREE training opportunities on the Workplace Training and Webinars webpage click here, including the following:-

Image of winners receiving their certificate for Healthy Workplace Standards

Congratulations to 2 of our local workplaces who were presented with their Healthy Workplace Awards by the Mayor and Mayoress of Milton Keynes at our successful workplace health breakfast event in May! Delegates at the event heard from a range of speakers about free inclusive employment services, and were able to chat to many health and wellbeing service providers throughout the morning. Thank you to all of the stall holders that attended, that included, the stop smoking service, domestic abuse awareness and menopause awareness. The next breakfast workplace health event is being held on Tuesday 26th September 2023 at the Forest Centre Marston Moretaine Bedford MK43 0PR.

Further details will be published nearer the time.

May - Open the door to a more active workforce

With longer days and shorter nights support your employees to make the most of getting out and getting active to improve your physical health and mental wellbeing.

Regular physical exercise of 45 minutes 3 to 5 times a week can improve mental health. Employees who are physically active take 27% fewer sick days than inactive

employees (British Heart Foundation 2016). Being physically active is a protective factor for many physical and mental health conditions. Mental Health Awareness Week is an ideal time for us all to think about mental health. Click here to find campaign resources for workplaces.

As an employer you have a great opportunity to support your employees in a variety of activities that include:

  • Promoting active travel across Milton Keynes, Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire
  • Reducing sedentary working by encouraging active breaks and providing adjustable standing desks
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles by offering healthy food choices, running health campaigns and competitions, embedding a positive health and wellbeing culture.

If you need help to improve the health and wellbeing of your workforce in Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes please visit the Healthy Workplace webpages. You will find a range of resources the FREE Workplace Health and Wellbeing Service Offer and information about the Healthy Workplace Standards.

You will find a range of FREE training opportunities on the Workplace training and webinars webpage click here, including the following:-

  • Morelife are a Public Health commissioned weight management service. They are offering a stakeholder webinar on Tuesday 25th April 12:00-12:30, which will be of interest to employers managers and HR/wellbeing leads. The webinar will include information about their digital programme.

You can sign up to this webinar using this link:

You will be able to access the zoom details via Eventbrite on the day.

Don't forget - You are invited to a FREE breakfast Workplace Health and Wellbeing event at The Ridgeway Centre Milton Keynes 23rd May 2023, to meet a range of health and wellbeing provider services, hear presentations focusing on inclusive employment and be part of the Healthy Workplace Awards. To book, please click here

March - Spring into the new financial year

Newsletter March 2023

Now is the time to plant the seeds of improved employee health and wellbeing.

Are you an employer of choice? There is a strong business case for promoting a happy healthy workforce which boosts productivity and retention.

The best place to start is to explore your workplace culture or climate because this is where the most effective gains in health and wellbeing sit

The Healthy Workplace Standards provide a best practice, evidence informed framework and award scheme which will support you to create a positive climate and reap the benefits of a blooming workforce!

For more information, please click here.

For further resources and services visit:

Monthly matters

  • You are invited to a Workplace Health and Wellbeing event at The Ridgeway Centre on 23rd May 2023 to meet a range of health and wellbeing provider services, hear presentations focusing on inclusive employment and be part of the Healthy Workplace Awards. To book, please click here

  • The CIPD have published a fact sheet on culture and climate.
  • The Healthy Workplace Standards have been mentioned on 3 Counties Radio. Listen at 1 hour 26mins.
  • £1 million fund for fresh ideas to boost health at work - The Government launches a competition for businesses to bid for a share of £1m to stimulate innovation in Occupational Health
  • The Workplace Wellbeing team at the University of East Anglia and RAND Europe carry out research on wellbeing and productivity. For more information go to


Mind@work March 2023 - Read the March edition of Mind@work

February - A Focus on mental health and wellbeing at work

  • Poor mental health costs UK employers up to £56 billion each year. But for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, £5.30 is saved in reduced absence, presenteeism, and staff turnover (Deloitte, 2022).
  • Did you know that one in 6 adults will have experienced a common mental health disorder in the last week? That’s 17% of your workforce.
  • In 2021, stress depression and anxiety accounted for almost 10% of employee absences (ONS)

To address this, ask yourself a few challenging questions: 

  • Do I really know what’s going on with my employees?  
  • Do I ask or give employees an opportunity to tell me how they are feeling?  
  • Do I know what to look out for? 
  • Do I know how to start a conversation about mental health and wellbeing and what would I do or say of someone opens up?

 Take a look at this short video exploring mental health and wellbeing in the workplace Mental Health in the Workplace | Promoting Wellness and Self Care

Update on resources and services

Whole Self
  1. My Whole Self Day is Mental Health For All (MHFA) England’s campaign for workplace culture change. Find out how to get involved in the lead up and on the day Tuesday 14th March here                                                                                                                                                                                         
  2. Access to Work Mental Health Support Service resources for Employers. This FREE service is available to those at work who need support with mental health, coping skills and workplace adjustments. The services are all under a single Maximus’ brand. You can reach out to one of the team on 
  1. The Milton Keynes Recovery & Wellbeing College (MKRWC) provides FREE courses and workshops focusing on mental health wellbeing and recovery. The new timetable until April 2023 is available to download from their website.  The Bedfordshire Recovery College 2023 Spring Prospectus (Jan-March) is out now. Click to download it here: The Bedfordshire & Luton Recovery College Spring Prospectus 2023.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  2. The Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service (Talking Therapies service) offers FREE wellbeing workshops and group coaching sessions to workplaces and anyone who works or lives in the Bedfordshire community. Some workshops are pre-recorded please check out our website.  If you are interested in arranging a live session (face to face or digitally), please feel free to contact the service at  The Milton Keynes Talk for Change service improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT), this is a free, confidential NHS service providing psychological treatment for depression and anxiety disorders for Milton Keynes residents. Talk for Change also offers FREE support and advice services to workplaces.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  3. Check out our Workplace Health webpages for more FREE training opportunities including See the Signs suicide awareness training, as well as more resources and services to support Mental Health and wellbeing including FREE mindfulness yoga at work.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  4. The Healthy Workplace Standards are a best practice framework and award scheme which support improvements in health and wellbeing at work. The scheme is open to all businesses across Milton Keynes, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough. For more details, please contact the team at

January - Warm spaces in your local area


For Bedford Borough residents

Warm Spaces | Bedford Borough Council – link here is to the list of warm spaces on offer many of which are libraries, church’s and community halls etc

For Central Bedfordshire residents

Warm Spaces | Central Bedfordshire Council – Link here to the list of warm spaces through local libraries and community centres. The leaflet from BEDSRCC offering a warm space in Houghton Regis is also offering additional support at these.

For MKCC residents

The MKCC cost of living winter plan is attached below which gives details on warm spaces.


Workplace Health News 

Information about this winter’s Flu vaccination

Flu vaccination: who should have it this winter and why

The UK Health Security Agency has today (11 August) published guidance which explains the importance of the influenza (flu) vaccination this winter 2023 to 2024.

This guidance explains how people can help protect themselves against flu this winter. It includes information for, eligible adults and pregnant women, and encourages people at increased risk from flu, or who care for someone vulnerable, to have their free vaccination.

Share this information with your workforce to help protect them and others, and reduce sickness absences.

Employees need to take breaks to avoid poor performance

Research published in the Journal of Business and Psychology (Dec 2022) reported that although heavy workloads make employees feel a greater need for a break, they may actually discourage employees from taking breaks at work despite causing high levels of stress, fatigue, and poor performance. Ensuring your employees have a realistic workload and take regular breaks is crucial to maintaining productivity.

Insecure employment is linked to poorer health outcomes

Insecure employment is linked to poorer health outcomes

Precarious employment and workplace health outcomes in Britain (Social Science and Medecine Vol 320 March 2023)

Workplaces with precarious employment arrangements, including zero hours contracts are significantly unhealthier. Those with the most insecure form of employment perform particularly worst. Precarious employment may become ever more prevalent as organisations contend with economic fallouts from shocks such as Brexit or Covid-19. This may lead to sub-standard health outcomes. The positive influence of trade unions on working conditions has largely been decimated and the workforce in Britain is ageing. These combinations may pose significant challenges to public health including mental health crises.

Sickness absence on the rise according to ONS

The number of working days lost to sickness in the UK hit a record high last year, according to official data. Minor illnesses were the main reason for people to take sickness absence, although COVID-19 was still a big factor, the Office for National Statistics said.

FT: UK lost record number of working days to sickness in 2022, says ONS (£)

Resilient line managers are a key workplace priority

Line management tends to be associated with increased responsibility and accountability in the workplace, and can be a challenging and high-pressure role. More resilient line managers are more likely to continue to perform despite work stressors. According to an article by IOSH magazine,  line manager resilience tends to increase with increasing years of line management. Exercise, hobbies/interests and socialising are also significant predictors of resilience. For more information please visit  

Higher obesity levels linked to lower productivity in England

A report by former government adviser Richard Sloggett, has found areas in England with the most overweight and obese people also have the lowest rates of productivity, showing “obesity is an economic as well as health timebomb”.

Guardian: Higher obesity levels linked to lower productivity in England, research shows

Health at Work Bid Pot

Government launches competition for small and medium sized businesses to bid for share of £1m to stimulate innovation in Occupational Health.

£1 million fund for fresh ideas to boost health at work - GOV.UK (

News from the Guardian on the recruitment of Happiness officers

News from the Guardian on the recruitment of Happiness officers: does every workplace need to hire someone to bring the joy?

A lawyer at a top London firm has suggested recruiting a chief happiness officer. Could this be the answer to mid-life burnout and the great resignation?

Are organisations doing enough to meet employee demand for flexible working?

The CIPD records an increase in requests for flexible working and there out of five workplaces already offer this, but there remains unmet demand. This CIPD report on Flexible and hybrid working practices in 2023 | CIPD explains more.

Health and Wellbeing Campaigns

Annual Campaigns

Annual Campaigns
Date Title of Campaign  Website Link
January Dry January

January Drink free- not just for January
February LGBT History Month - LGBT+ History Month (
March  International women's day International Women's Day: Women & Work (
April Stress awareness month National Stress Awareness Month | Office of Human Resources (
April On your feet day On Your Feet Britain (
May National walking month
National Walking Month | Living Streets
May Mental Health awareness week Mental Health Awareness Week | Mental Health Foundation
June Loneliness awareness week
Home | Loneliness Awareness Week
June Healthy eating week 2023
Healthy Eating Week - British Nutrition Foundation
July Alcohol awareness week
Alcohol Awareness Week | Alcohol Change UK
August Cycle to work day Cycle to Work Day is August 3rd - Cyclescheme
September World suicide prevention day World Suicide Prevention Day | Campaigns | Samaritans
October Black history month
Black History Month 2022 - Time for Change: Action Not Words
October Go sober for October 2023
Go Sober | Macmillan Cancer Support
October Stoptober Quit smoking - Better Health - NHS (
October National work life week National Work Life Week - Working Families
October World menopause day World Menopause Day 2023 - British Menopause Society (
November Movember
Movember - Changing the face of men's health - Movember
December 16 days of action against domestic abuse 16 Days of Activism - UK SAYS NO MORE
December National grief awareness week


Plan your next campaign

Stress awareness month in April 2024

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern-day stress epidemic. It is the time when we have an opportunity for an open conversation on the impact of stress.

Stress Awareness Month 2023 - The Stress Management Society

On your feet Britain – 25/04/2024

On Your Feet Britain is a FREE and FUN way to reboot and energize your workplace habits.

Get your workplace and co-workers to take part in On Your Feet Britain® – the national activity awareness day when 2 MILLION desk-based workers across Britain participate in a variety of fun and simple activities to #SitLess and #MoveMore at work.

On Your Feet Britain (

National walking Month – May 2024

Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve our health and stay connected to the community, helping us feel less lonely and isolated.

To find out more about this campaign click here.

Mental Health Awareness week 2024 – 13-19 May 2024

Being active is important for our mental health. But so many of us struggle to get enough exercise. We know there are many different reasons for this, so this Mental Health Awareness Week we want to help people to find moments for movement in their daily routines. 

Find out more by clicking here.

Healthy Eating Week – 10–14 June 2024


Everyone, including early years settings, schools, workplaces and community groups are encouraged to ‘Give it a go’ this Healthy Eating Week.

Information and resources will be provided for early years, schools and workplaces around the following themes:

  • Get at least 5 A DAY
  • Stay hydrated
  • Move more
  • Focus on fibre
  • Reduce food waste

All you need to do it register here.