Happy New Year! After the mince pies and festivities of the Christmas period, many of us will be making resolutions about our fitness or maybe considering a healthier eating plan – and I’m sure teams around National Grid will be taking part in the Take 5 challenge.
I’d like to share details of some wider initiatives that we’re looking to make progress on in 2018.
As chair of the wellbeing steering group, I am passionate about doing everything we can to make sure you are as well and healthy as possible, and we have a number of things to update you on.
We’d like to give you the information you need to make good health choices. One of the things we are doing is making available a Haynes Health Manual to everyone. A little more down to earth than some of our other publications, it covers a wide range of conditions and topics. It may prompt you to be aware of an issue and be able to start to take action if it has been bothering you.
It’s easy to put a health or wellbeing issue to one side and not quite get round to sorting out a minor problem. The trouble with that is that minor problems have the potential to grow into bigger issues that can be much harder to address, so we want to do everything we can to encourage early intervention.
One area where this is really important in the workplace is the regular operational health surveillance checks – carried out to make sure colleagues are fit to work and aren’t exhibiting the early signs of a range of conditions. These are important for your own health and are also a statutory duty. Colleagues in Safety, Health and Sustainability are working with operational contacts to improve the process, and I would urge leaders and employees alike to make sure that you make these appointments a priority.
Another area, and one that we’ve been talking about for a few years, is mental wellbeing. We’ve made huge progress in increasing confidence in talking about mental health and, later this month, we’ll be putting more guidance out; including information on how to book mental health first aid training, so do look out for that. We really want people to feel that taking time to talk is valuable and important – not just on Time to Talk day on 1 February but throughout the year, both in our one-to-one discussions and in the daily work environment
I was delighted to see that the recent Business in the Community mental wellbeing survey showed that we are making strong progress in this area compared to industry benchmarking. One area where we excel is the use of our occupational health provision. This is currently being retendered and in February we’ll have an update on where we are with that – and the service we can expect with the new contract when it kicks in in April.
So have a happy and healthy 2018 – and do look out for the material and support that I’ve described.
UK General Counsel & Company Secretary