Business Healthy Newsletter, 12 August 2020

This newsletter is designed to provide a roundup of news, updates and information that may be useful in helping you to keep your workforce healthy and well. It is written in a way to make it easy for you to cut and paste content to share across your internal communications channels. If there is a way we can make this easier, please let us know here.

Business Healthy is funded and delivered by the City of London Corporation’s Public Health team, supporting the City Corporation’s statutory obligations to ensure the health and wellbeing of the more than half a million people who work in the Square Mile each day.

Follow Business Healthy on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on news and developments in the world of employee health and wellbeing in the Square Mile.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): Updates for businesses

Employers want to keep their staff informed about the Covid-19 pandemic. There is lots of information and misinformation out there, so please ensure that any advice or guidance you are sharing only comes from a reputable source, such as the GOV.UK website.

This information was accurate at the time of sending the newsletter, but please bear in mind that the situation is changing and the most up to date information and guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The UK Government is regularly updating its latest information and advice webpage on the GOV.UK website. Specific guidance is available for employers and businesses on working safely during coronavirus. The guidance covers a range of different types of work and further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen.

Employers must continue to follow health and safety workplace guidance for their sector such as:

  • making every reasonable effort to enable working from home as a first option
  • where working from home isn’t possible, identifying sensible measures to control the risks in the workplace
  • keeping the workplace clean, maintaining safe working separation, and preventing transmission through unnecessary touching of potentially contaminated surfaces

The measures employers put in place to maintain social distancing will depend on their individual business circumstances, including their working environment, the size of the site and the number of workers. The guidance will support employers to make an informed decision.

The importance of prevention and travelling safely

Preventative measures, such as distancing, regular handwashing and wearing a face covering, are the best ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Please help us to continue to share these messages.

The Government is asking people to work from home where possible. Where staff are unable to work from home, they are being asked to follow guidance on travelling safely during the coronavirus outbreak, which includes considering all other forms of transport before using public transport, avoiding the busiest times and routes, maintaining social distance, wearing a face covering when travelling on public transport and washing or sanitising hands regularly. Scroll through for more information on supporting staff to cycle to and from work.

Downloadable information sheets are available at the following links:

An NHS video on the best way to wash your hands can be viewed here. Please watch and share and keep sharing. Thorough handwashing is one of the most effective ways to help stop the infection from spreading.

Preventing and managing an outbreak in the workplace: City & Hackney Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Workplaces

As part of their joint COVID-19 Local Outbreak Control Plan (LOCP), the City Corporation and London Borough of Hackney have published a Standard Operating Procedure for workplace settings. This outlines how an outbreak (two or more cases, or a single complex case, linked to the workplace) will be identified, reported and managed by Public Health England, with support from the local authority, and the role and responsibilities of employers within this process.

The SOP also outlines the process through which information about an outbreak can flow in a timely manner between the setting, the local authority and Public Health England. It is a useful document and has been drawn up with kind feedback from some of our local businesses.

Access the Workplace SOP here.  There is also an SOP available for take-away food premises and mobile catering, and more in development for additional settings; follow the link.

Testing and tracing

By following Government guidance to protect the safety of their workers, as well as other people who may be affected by their business, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

If a member of staff develops symptoms of COVID-19 – whether they at work or working from home – they and their household must self-isolate immediately and get tested for coronavirus. Although this may seem disruptive for businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace will be, and far less disruptive than periods in lockdown.

The test only checks if someone has coronavirus at that point and involves taking a swab of the throat and nose. Anyone of any age with symptoms can access a test. More information about the NHS Test and Trace service can be found on the GOV.UK website and a test can be booked on the NHS website.

The symptoms are:

  • a new, continuous cough and/ or
  • a high temperature and/ or
  • a loss of change in normal sense of smell or taste

The test needs to be taken within the first 5 days of having symptoms, but it’s best to ask for the test immediately, as it may take a day or two to arrange.

For help booking a test, call the Coronavirus Testing Call Centre on 119 between the hours of 7am and 11pm. The service can be accessed by people with hearing or speech difficulties by calling 18001 119 (in England and Wales). To receive the test results you will need a phone number and – if you are booking the test online – an email address. If you do not have either of these, you can nominate someone to receive the results on your behalf. Their telephone number and/ or email address will need to be provided when you book the test.

Essential workers, or those living with essential workers, are prioritised for testing.

Guidance on why and how employers can support staff who may need to self-isolate can be found in the “Supporting workers who need to self-isolate” section of the Government guidance on NHS Test and Trace. This also includes information about Statutory Sick Pay for employees who are self-isolating and not able to work from home, as well as guidance for workers. There is also specific workplace guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

Business tools to support NHS Test and Trace and data collection

Public Health England has developed a toolkit for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to help them in supporting the national test and trace programme.

The sharing of information of contacts is key to testing and tracing, so that if a positive case of COVID-19 is identified, anyone who has come into meaningful contact with that individual can be contacted and instructed to self-isolate and get a test. NHS Test and Trace plays a crucial part in helping life return to normal.

Businesses may have concerns about collecting visitor and/ or customer data and this toolkit is designed to make this an easy process, while ensuring compliance with GDPR and data protection legislation. It includes:

  • FAQ and instructions on maintaining records
  • Privacy Notice template
  • An overview on logging information
  • Materials to help businesses communicate the need to collect data to people visiting their premises

Download the free toolkit on the PHE website.


Can you help?

A City law firm is keen to find out from other employers about what they are doing to support staff and alleviate some of the stresses and strains that they are feeling as a result of their current working arrangements, as well as concerns about a potential return to the workplace in the near future.

If you would like to share insights from your own organisation about how you are supporting staff during this time, please email us at and we will share your contact details with the organisation to arrange a follow-up conversation.


Building back better: Buying in services without selling out

Ethical, City-based cleaning company – Clean for Good – has published a report highlighting how employers can buy in services ethically and avoid serious reputational risks. It outlines how every employer can make a contribution to “building back better” through the way it buys in services, including cleaning, among others. The premise of the report is that every organisation with a budget has the power to effect significant social change.

In addition, the report highlights how COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus health and other inequalities experienced by people working in low-paid and/ or routine, manual or service roles.

The report also includes a six-point checklist for firms to use when considering outsourcing cleaning services.

Access the free report here.

Business Healthy and the City of London Corporation are working with local businesses to help them to support the health and wellbeing of their workforce – whether they are direct employees or not. To find out more about this work, please get in touch with us here.


Planning ahead: Flu season

Flu vaccination helps to protect adults and children from flu and its complications.

Flu can be unpleasant and as well as being more severe for people in “at-risk” groups, such as pregnant women, children and adults with an underlying health condition, and/ or with weakened immune systems, for example, it can also cost businesses if staff take sick leave.

This year the flu vaccine is being offered on the NHS (free) to a wider range of people than usual (see the full list here) and will be available from GP surgeries, local pharmacies and midwifery services.

People who do not qualify for a free flu jab should consider getting a vaccination anyway and employers are encouraged to assist with this, through communicating why and how to get a vaccine and – where feasible – offering to cover the cost to their employees and/ or proactively giving them time off to attend a vaccination.

The flu vaccine does not protect individuals against COVID-19, but can help to alleviate some of the usual pressures experienced by the NHS over the winter months.

The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, before flu starts circulating. But even if it’s later, it’s always worth getting vaccinated and individuals are advised to speak to their GP or pharmacist.

More information on flu vaccines can be found on the NHS website.

Stay tuned for some campaign materials on flu vaccination from Public Health England, which will be shared through this newsletter.


Thought of the Week

“Publishing our From the HEART films is a great step forward for BNY Mellon.  We’re committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of all visible and invisible disabilities and health-related conditions including physical, mental, chronic ill health and neuro-diversity.

But we recognise that our work is not done and we are actively looking for ways to provide additional resources for our colleagues impacted by disability. Everyone deserves to come to work in an environment that encourages inclusion and belonging at every level.”

– Hani Kablawi, Chairman of International, and Executive Sponsor HEART, BNY Mellon’s Diverse Abilities Resource Group. Watch BNY Mellon’s From the HEART videos here.


Coming up…

Anytime Virtual Dragon Cafe in the City – Wednesday 19 August

While normal Dragon Café in the City programming is on a break over August, an “anytime” programme of pre-recorded activities is available for City residents and workers to benefit from over the month, providing an opportunity to release the pressure through free creative activities, including:

  • “Wellbeing and Fatherhood” chat with Speakers Collective
  • Still Life in watercolour workshop
  • Yoga

…and more.

To access a PDF programme for the session and joining instructions, please visit the Dragon Cafe in the City website.

Dragon Cafe in the City patrons are invited to come up with their own “Dragon Creations” using their medium of choice and have them featured in the gallery on the website.

Virtual Dragon Cafe in the City will be returning to its regular fortnightly programme of activities on Wednesday 2 September. You can subscribe to automatically receive the Dragon Café in the City programme into your inbox in advance, by visiting the website and signing up at the bottom of the page.

The award-winning Dragon Café in the City is free and open to anyone working or living in the City and provides a safe online space for them to release the pressure, take a break from their busy routines and engage in creative activities designed to foster positive mental and physical wellbeing.

Bringing the City’s legal sector together: Online roundtable hosted by Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness, Tuesday 8 September, 8.30-9.30am

This online roundtable discussion, aimed at senior leaders from the City’s legal sector, will look at lessons learned and opportunities presented by COVID-19, through the lens of workforce mental health and wellbeing in the legal sector.

It will be chaired by the Policy Chair of the City of London Corporation – Catherine McGuinness. Attendees will also be able to hear from a Partner at Dentons – Martin Mankabady – about the firm’s response during these times.

While the past few months have been challenging for employers and employees alike, this session will be a safe space for organisations to share experiences, best practice and opportunities that have arisen from these significant changes to working practices due to the pandemic, and how these can be harnessed to help support and improve the mental wellbeing of the legal workforce.

The discussion will be conducted under Chatham House rules.

Places are strictly limited. To register your interest, please email us here.

Free NHS-led webinars to help you cope

None of us are superhuman. It’s completely normal to feel anxious and worried about things that feel out of our control.

With this in mind, Thrive LDN is hosting a series of free, NHS-led webinars for all Londoners, focusing on “Coping Well during COVID-19”. These 60-minute interactive sessions offer you the chance to explore ideas and tools to support your mental health and wellbeing during this time.

Upcoming webinars include:

  • Working from Home and Staying Well – Thursday 13 August, 4-5pm
  • Low mood – Tuesday 18 August, 4-5pm
  • BAME Wellbeing, with David Truswell – Thursday 20 August, 4-5pm
  • Money and mental health (covering financial anxiety) – final week of August, to be announced

For more details and to register for the webinars, visit the Thrive LDN website. Slides and recordings from past webinars, for example on “Managing Wellbeing”, can also be found at the link.

Support is available for whatever you are going through and to help you release the pressure. Visit Thrive LDN and for more information.

Everyone loves a freebie

Free online workout classes with City-based boutique gym Digme

City-based boutique gym Digme is offering  a week’s worth of free online classes for City workers, including Yoga, HIIT and Cycle. Regular exercise is great for our physical, as well as mental, health and wellbeing.

To access the free classes follow these steps to activate the code. There is no need to select anything to purchase when redeeming this code:

  • Create/ log in to your Digme account
  • Go to your “My profile” page
  • On the left hand side you’ll see ‘Redeem Voucher’ under the heading ‘Buy Class Credits’
  • Enter code CITYOFLONDON2020
  • Your account is then credited with a 7 online credits to use in 7 days and you can start bookings as soon as you like

For any questions, please contact the Digme team here.

Culture Mile’s “Play Packs”

Together with their partners and funded by Arts Council England, Culture Mile is putting together free Play Packs each month to help get the whole family creative and have some fun.

So far, the monthly Play Pack themes have covered “getting creative together”, “all about you”, and “new adventures”. Each Play Pack includes activity sheets, play prompts and a workbook, as well as stickers.

Access Culture Mile’s fantastic Play Packs here.


New resources

SHP’s new Safety & Health Podcast

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) has launched The Safety & Health Podcast, delivering news, insights and legislation through interviews, discussions and panel debates with some of the profession’s leaders and influencers in short 20-minute episodes.

With COVID-19 transforming the way we think about personal safety and wellbeing at work, there is a real opportunity for health and safety practitioners to influence change.

Episodes aired to date cover an interview with Karl Simons – Chief Health, Safety and Security Officer at Thames Water – discussing mental health in the workplace and safety leadership, and award-winning mental health nurse Stacy Thomson talking about burnout, stress and being human.

Have a listen here.

New tools from Public Health England for employers on developing and evaluating workforce health interventions

Public Health England has published a useful and easy to digest employer toolkit on Developing and evaluating workplace health interventions.

The toolkit is accompanied by:

  • factsheet, outlining a general four-stage model that employers can adapt in developing, implementing and evaluating workplace health interventions:
  1. Analyse
  2. Plan
  3. Implement
  4. Evaluate

The factsheet also includes links to some useful resources, such as a PHE workplace health needs assessment and other survey and questionnaire templates that can help employers to capture baseline data on needs.

The toolkit also provides insights on data collection and measuring return on investment, as well as key actions for evaluating the effectiveness of interventions.

The Mental Health Coalition resources

The Mental Health Coalition is a grouping of the leading mental health organisations, brands and individuals who have joined forces to end the stigma surrounding mental health and to change the way people talk about, and care for, mental illness.

They have made available a range of resources including for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities, as well as resources specific to COVID-19. Access the resources here.

GLA’s translated materials on employment status and rights

The Greater London Authority has made information about different employment rights and statuses, and details of what individuals can do if they are having trouble at work, available in a wide range of languages. Access the materials on the GLA’s Employment Rights Hub and please share with your colleagues and contacts.


Sharing is caring

Share your thoughts or feedback on our newsletter, general musings, or ideas for upcoming events with us –

Did you find this newsletter useful? If you know of someone who would like to receive it, too, they can subscribe here.

We are not precious about our content, so please feel free to share it far and wide.


Previous editions of our newsletter can be found here.