Business Healthy Newsletter, 8 June 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): Information and advice

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 for employers and businesses is available here, which includes guidance 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 are being asked by Government to support staff to work from home wherever possible.

Sharing the message

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.


COVID-19 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.

COVID-19 Testing and Tracing

The NHS Test and Trace programme is now live. 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 in the first 3 days, 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.


Free health and wellbeing support for your workforce

Whether your employees are working on-site, or working from home, they can still access a range of free support services designed to help them with their health and wellbeing. These services can still be accessed online or over the phone, in line with social distancing measures. Please share this information with your staff and colleagues. Information about additional services is available here.

Just opened: City Wellbeing Centre

The City Wellbeing Centre, which has just launched, offers virtual counselling and psychotherapy sessions to workers and residents in and around the Square Mile, whatever their financial circumstances, improving access to treatments that are not available through the NHS.

Counselling and psychotherapy is available to individuals, couples and groups who are experiencing any range of emotional or psychological difficulties. The fee is based on individuals’ income and particular financial circumstances.

The online services are available to workers with usual workplaces located in the postcodes EC1-EC5.

Find out more and book an online appointment by visiting the City Wellbeing Centre website.

Expert and free advice for City workers – City Advice

Financial concerns, debt and other issues may be concerning your employees during this time. City Advice is a free and confidential advice service for anyone working, living or studying in the Square Mile, whether they are working on-site or not. It is commissioned by the City of London Corporation and delivered by Toynbee Hall.

City Advice’s expert advisers can provide advice on a range of issues, including around bereavement, employment, legal and financial/ debt. It can be accessed via telephone and email. Visit the website to find out more.

Support through the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service

Provided by Able Futures on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service provides free one-to-one support to anyone in England, Scotland or Wales who is employed, self-employed, or an apprentice, including anyone who has been furloughed, and who needs guidance about anything that is affecting their mental health in these challenging times.

Support is provided via telephone or video call appointments or email by a qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant (VRC). The service can also provide support and guidance to employers. For more information, visit the Able Futures website.

Free support to quit smoking for good

There are clear links between smoking and increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and of experiencing severe symptoms. A recent YouGov study found that roughly 300,000 people had quit smoking due to COVID-19 and a further 550,000 had made a recent quit attempt for the same reason.

Stopping smoking remains the single most effective thing people can do to improve their and their family’s health both now and in the future.

Despite social distancing measures, there is still plenty of free support available to people who smoke, but who want to quit. City workers, whether they are working on-site or from home, can access the local stop smoking service, provided by WDP Square Mile Health, over the phone or online. Through this service they can access free one-to-one support, as well as nicotine replacement products.

To find out more, visit the WDP Square Mile Health website here.

Sources of information, advice and support for staff who may be struggling with substance misuse during lockdown

  • Drinkline provides free advice and support, on 0300 123 1110
  • FRANK provides free information and advice on drugs, and information on where to get help, on 0300 123 6600
  • The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) helpline, if there are worries about a child or young person, on 0808 800 5000
  • The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa), on 0800 358 3456
  • Childline provides advice for anyone under 19, on 0800 1111
  • One You Drink Less, which offers advice on cutting back on alcohol
  • FRANK, which offers information and advice on drugs and where to get help
  • Down Your Drink, which provides interactive web-based support to help people to drink more safely
  • Nacoa, which provides information, advice and support for anyone affected by a parent’s drinking
  • Childline
  • Online access to mutual support including: SMART Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Marijuana Anonymous

New and useful resources for employers

  • Understanding Mental Health in the Built Environment” – report from The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) looking into mental health and suicide among construction workers.
  • Returning to the workplace after the COVID-19 lockdown” – toolkit from the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM), CIPD, Business in the Community, Mind and ACAS.
  • #YouAreNotAlone Domestic Abuse COVID-19 employer pack, published by Government, which outlines the role that employers can play in supporting their staff or colleagues. The pack includes key messages and campaign materials to raise awareness with staff through newsletters and organisational intranets. UK Says No More has teamed up with Boots UK to make “Safe Spaces” available in their pharmacies across the UK. Safe Spaces are consultation rooms in every Boots branch, where victims of domestic abuse can contact specialist domestic abuse services for support and advice. More information here.
  • City Business Library, which is owned by the City of London Corporation, is currently closed, but continues to offer support to start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during COVID-19. This includes free one-to-one video business advice meetings, access to reliable business information and more. Click here for more information.
  • Radio Local: the hyper-local radio station of the Culture Mile
  • Our City Together: a collaborative project from the City of London Corporation, bringing together cultural organisations and partners from across the Square Mile on a new platform showcasing online music, art, film, lectures, photography and much more.
  • Free question set to consult your employees about returning to work post-lockdown. While some businesses remain closed and employers are being asked by Government to support staff to work from home wherever possible, businesses that are reopening or planning for a return to the workplace in the future are requested to undertake a risk assessment and share the results with staff. They are also requested to consult their workers. People Insight has made a free question set available, covering the following themes: practicalities; timing; preferences; communication; involvement; confidence; and learning.


Coming up…

Business Healthy masterclass: “Supporting employees with cancer”, in partnership with Maggie’s Barts, Wednesday 10 June, 9.30-10.30am

According to Healthy Working Lives, in the UK, over 750,000 people work working age are living with cancer and many of these people remain in work through their treatment. As many as 63,000 people with cancer today want to work, but are unable to do so because they do not have the right support. it is also estimated that by 2030, an extra 130,000 people with cancer could return to work after treatment, with the right support.

Living with cancer, or supporting others through cancer treatment, can have a physical, mental, social and financial toll on individuals and those closest to them.

Under Health and Safety Law, employers have a duty of care to their staff and are obliged to take reasonable steps to ensure their wellbeing, including making reasonable adjustments.

The Maggie’s Centre at St Bartholomew’s Hospital (Maggie’s Barts) in the City provides free and practical support to  people with cancer, their families and friends, including benefits and welfare advice, relaxation therapy and much more.

Maggie’s Barts and Business Healthy are joining forces to deliver a free online masterclass on the morning of Wednesday 10 June for HR/ health and wellbeing/ Occupational Health leads within City firms. Maggie’s Barts will be “virtually” opening its doors to provide practical advice to employers on supporting staff who are living through, or who have survived, cancer, or who may be supporting a friend, colleague or loved one through cancer.

This is a unique opportunity to hear from, and ask questions to, a Cancer Support Specialist without a referral.

The session will also look at how employers can provide support within the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more and book a place here.

Virtual Dragon Cafe in the City – Men’s Health Week special, Wednesday 10 June

The much-loved Dragon Cafe in the City continues to deliver its fortnightly Wellness Wednesday sessions, despite lockdown, helping City workers to release the pressure through a range of free creative activities.

Sessions are delivered virtually and the next session is taking place on Wednesday 10 June and will mark Men’s Health Week, with a “lunch and learn” on Wellbeing and Fatherhood, a talk about modern masculinity, a workshop on typography and lettering, a virtual yoga class and much more.

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.

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

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.

CityAir webinar: “Air Quality awareness in businesses post-COVID-19 lockdown”, Wednesday 10 June, 3-4pm

The City Corporation’s CityAir will be hosting a free webinar for businesses and organisations in the City of London, focusing on ways in which awareness about air quality in a workplace setting can be maintained.

This free session will look at air quality changes since the COVID-19 lockdown, how employers can promote walking and cycling among staff returning to work, freight guidance and deliveries and reducing buildings emissions.

For more information and to book a place, click here.

Coping well during COVID-19: a public webinar series from London’s health and care partners. Session #1 – “Managing Wellbeing”, Tuesday 9 June, 4-5pm

London’s health and care partners are launching a series of weekly NHS-led webinars focusing on helping those who both live and work in London to cope with the impact of COVID-19. Londoners may be feeling incredibly anxious about coronavirus and how it is impacting them, their loved ones and London’s businesses.

The first of these webinars will focus on “Managing Wellbeing” and will outline fear and low mood cycles, as well as exploring ideas and tools to break these common cycles and improve mood.

For more information, click here.


Thought of the week

“Among men, five of the nine major occupational groups had statistically higher age-standardised mortality rates of death involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) than the rate of death involving COVID-19 among men of the same age in the general population.

The major group with the highest rate of death involving COVID-19 was “Elementary” workers…The occupations in this group include those performing mostly routine tasks, such as construction workers, security guards, waiting staff and cleaners.”

Office for National Statistics (ONS) publication on COVID-19 related deaths by occupation (England and Wales, up to and including 20 April 2020).


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Previous editions of our newsletter can be found here.