Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service have won Active Work Place of the Year Award at the Bucks & MK Sports Awards 2016.
The Service was recognised, based on the steps we have taken to encourage employees to be more active and impact that this has had on the workplace. We have also been recognised for key sporting achievements and our organisation’s support to local community sport.
What has the workplace introduced to encourage employees to be more active?
In 2015 and again this year, all staff have been offered the opportunity to join the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC). Employees sign up to GCC in teams of seven and join approximately 50,000 teams from 1,500 of the world’s most respected companies (including other fire and rescue services).
The GCC begins with a 100 day virtual journey around the world. The target is 10,000 steps per day, during which you unlock new locations. Each participant receives a GCC pulse (pedometer), which helps to encourage staff to improve their mobility, nutrition and general well-being during the 100 day challenge. Last year 238 BFRS employees joined, while this year 210 employees retook the challenge. Offering this to staff enabled not just improved physical fitness but maximum positive engagement by the workforce. This initiative was supported by Nuffield Health Aylesbury who provided fitness testing and exercise classes before and after GCC.
In December 2015, a dedicated “Fighting Fit” web page was set up to update staff on health, fitness and well-being initiatives and information offering advice and information. This includes regularly updated publications of various articles on nutrition, exercise and well-being and staff are encouraged to publish articles. New gym equipment has been provided at stations for employees to use.
What impact has this had on your workplace?
There has been a considerable impact with an improvement in staff absence levels. Overall absence in the 2015/16 financial year fell sharply by 23% compared to 2014/15. This reduction was seen for both short term and long term sickness. The improvement was made through a combination of reducing musculoskeletal injuries and improving staff mental well-being. Underlying these changes was increasing staff fitness, providing physiotherapy and promoting positive coping strategies for stress, including wellness action-plans. Psychological well-being scores, measured during GCC, showed a 22% improvement in staff stress levels.
Physical health has also dramatically improved. Before participating in GCC, 37% of staff were classed as “inactive” and only 5% as “highly active”. After GCC these figures had more than reversed, with only 2% inactive and 63% highly active. Sleep health and awareness of fitness and nutrition also showed dramatic improvements. The provision of gym equipment on stations has enabled staff to train at their leisure and every station has access to a qualified Personal Training Instructor. Support Staff also have the use of any gym equipment after an induction session by a qualified trainer so they can continue to sustain their overall fitness.
What key sporting achievements has the organisation achieved?
Over the last year key sporting achievements included a Team Fire v Team Police charity football match at stadiumMK and a 480mile Firefighter Charity Cycle ride all helping to raise in excess of £58,000 for the Firefighters Charity.
How have we supported local community sport?
We as a Service recognise we have the opportunity, skills and enthusiasm to improve the health and well-being of our community and have taken positive steps forward to deliver and support projects to achieve a positive impact across Buckinghamshire. Examples of our work include:
The highlights are just a few examples of the work that is continually being carried out within the organisation to improve the health and wellbeing of its employees and community.
Winning the award is a testament to the hard work and dedication shown by all our employees over the last 12 months.