Boost is a funded business support service that helps Lancashire business owners and leaders navigate the business support landscape to find the right support for their business. Our Business Support Spotlight series highlights the wealth of support listed on Boost’s Support Hub and available to Lancashire businesses. Today’s spotlight shines on Business Health Matters, developed to support local businesses in improving the physical and mental health of their employees.
The Business Health Matters programme has been developed to support local businesses in improving the physical and mental health of their employees, so that staff are happier, healthier and more resilient.
By delivering training, health screenings and supportive interventions in workplaces, through a network of local authorities and leisure trust staff, employees are empowered to improve their overall health whilst employers benefit from increased productivity within their workforces.
Poor workplace health is of huge detriment to businesses, with physical inactivity costing employers £7.4 billion each year and mental health costing businesses over £42 billion per year across the UK.
In Lancashire, 22.3 per cent of working-age residents within Lancashire are economically inactive, which is 2.4 per cent higher than the national average, and nearly a third of those people are on long term-sick.
This high number of inactive residents is putting a great strain upon our health services and the Lancashire economy. By providing businesses the tools and support to improve the physical and mental health of their staff, our programme aims to reduce the number of employees out of work due to health conditions and make Lancashire a healthier, happier place to live and work.
By helping to improve the physical and mental health of Lancashire employees we are helping to make businesses become more resilient and helping them to cope with unforeseen and unusual occurrences.
As employees return to the workplace (or if they are adapting to new hybrid ways of working) we help them to cope with the impact this can have on their mental health and therefore help to make sure the business is in a strong position to overcome the economic impact of the recent pandemic.
Poor health and a productivity gap are two of the biggest threats to Lancashire’s ability to build back after the pandemic. In terms of a productivity gap this can also be put down to the skills gap that has been identified as an issue in Lancashire. This is where colleges and apprenticeship providers are not providing the skills to match jobs and roles in Lancashire.
This challenge can be overcome by employers and colleges and universities working more closely together to build the right courses and qualifications that support the businesses and employers in Lancashire.
There are tough times ahead. In Lancashire (predominately in Blackpool) the tourism sector has been hit extremely heard. Many businesses have sadly been lost and (unfortunately) for those that survived they are struggling to recruit to allow them to meet demand. For other sectors that are having to adapt to new ways of working (for example, hybrid working) there will be financial implications related to taking on more staff and updating technology.
The economy will recover but perhaps not as fast as other parts of the country for reasons such as health issues which impact people in Lancashire earlier than elsewhere in the country, reliance on tourism related businesses as major employers, people from other parts of the country not wanting to travel until they are comfortable the pandemic to do so.
Also businesses that have closed and not re-opening will have a major impact on the economy due to less local spend from people spending their wages locally.