Staff wellbeing a priority for East Anglian businesses

18/05/2018

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This week is Mental Health Awareness Week which is being supported by the Mental Health Foundation. Tying in with the theme, delegates at yesterday’s Ashtons and HAYS Annual Employment Conference were asked if they were making the wellbeing of their staff part of their business strategy.

 A straw poll revealed that half of the audience were indeed making health and wellbeing a key focus.

The event was held at Center Parcs in Elveden Forest and was attended by over 100 HR practitioners and employers from across East Anglia.

The morning’s programme included a presentation from Susanna Frost, HR Director of Fred Olsen who challenged the extent to which Gender Pay Gap reporting was actually doing what was intended rather than becoming confused with Equal Pay issues in many organisations. Delegates also heard from Ashtons’ Lucy Pakes and Antony Sloan on the subject of Unconscious Gender Bias and Partner Claire Sleep was joined by Saul Margo, Barrister at Outer Temple Chambers who talked about Harassment and the ‘Reasonable Steps’ defence.

The afternoon’s programme saw delegates attending masterclasses on wellness, GDPR and agile working. The conference concluded with a presentation from Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Diversity at HAYS on the importance of diversity and inclusion and case law updates from Ashtons’ newest Employment Law partner Colin Makin who was joined by solicitor Jess Piper.

Antony Sloan, Head of HR at Ashtons Legal said: “As an organisation - and as just individuals operating in modern society - stress is one of the biggest factors on our health, yet mental health concerns are still often taboo. One in six members of the UK work force experiences stress, anxiety or depression, yet worryingly 19% of staff feel that they are unable to speak to managers about how they are feeling”.

He adds: “As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Ashtons Legal have been sharing with staff the “five steps to wellbeing” as researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation. The report suggests we take the time to connect with the people around us, stay active, take notice of our surroundings, keep learning and develop new skills and give our time others. By incorporating these into our lives we will feel a sense of wellbeing which is something here at Ashtons we see as crucial to our good health”.

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