Forster presents at the London Health Workplace Charter Awards
This time last year Forster were in London’s Living Room at City Hall receiving an award for excellence from the London Healthy Workplace Charter, marking us out as a progressive business interested in doing more than box-ticking on our team’s health and wellbeing. This year they invited us back to present the awards to the 2013 SME winners. The initial pilot project was run across eight London Boroughs, providing a mechanism to support and recognise employers investing in health and well-being through a citywide framework. Employers are encouraged to work towards three levels against each standard: commitment, achievement and excellence and it is about to be rolled out nationwide.
Forster has been following a positive work/life balance agenda for several years. We believe our family-friendly and wellbeing focus has helped our business, delivering excellent staff morale, better customer service and low staff turnover. While wellbeing has long been a deeply embedded value at Forster, in 2011 we wanted to focus our efforts and create a clear campaign to inspire every employee to make positive changes.
We piloted Forster Well , our very own employee engagement programme which incentivises staff to earn stamps across five areas: physical exercise, nutrition, culture, social engagement, community support plus three ‘free’ stamps for extra challenges. This scheme formed a significant part of our Workplace Wellbeing Charter award along with our comprehensive Mental Health policy, developed in collaboration with Rethink and Mindful Employer.
We run weekly yoga and mindfulness sessions in the office and this year introduced a new annual life health (a.k.a. ‘I must get round to that’) day. As an office based business, we try hard to get everyone up and exercising as much as possible by, among other things, giving extra days off to staff who walk or cycle to work, paying 40p a mile for cycling to meetings, providing pool bikes for everyone to use, and offering free cycle confidence training and ‘Dr Bike’ servicing.
Recently we became a founding member of Team London Bridge’s Responsible Business Alliance, an initiative set up to help local businesses off all sizes embrace the latest responsible business practices, including wellbeing. We do all of this not out of some sense of duty but because it makes so much business sense – a happier, more enjoyable place to work means we are all better at our jobs and helps the business to flourish.
Since April this year we have been owned and run by our employees and more dedicated than ever to creating positive social change, both in our workplace and further afield. We are want to share our learnings with other SMEs so if you would like any more information on the Charter or how we could help you follow in our footsteps, please contact me via