The day was organised on a minimal budget by staff from across The National Archives and this year we were delighted to have support from many external organisations including Asthma UK, NHS Stop Smoking, Volunteer Richmond, Richmond Adult Community College, Civil Service Sports and Social Club, Nordic Walking, Cycle to Me, West4Harriers, Fusion, Fit Club, CS Healthcare and Roko Gym.
This year around a third of our staff dropped in to Wellbeing Day to receive health checks and advice or to experience different techniques for boosting their physical or mental wellbeing. Many of our staff have commented on how much more positive and healthy they feel since attending wellbeing events. The events have helped staff to make changes both small and large – one colleague even discovered through their health check that they had high blood pressure, which could have had serious consequences if it had continued to go undetected.
The feedback we’ve received includes: ‘I love this day – this is one of the things I really like about working at The National Archives’, ‘Very enjoyable and informative’, ‘Very engaging, lots of information and the health check showed what areas I need to work on’.
Wellbeing Day is part of a comprehensive range of wellbeing events and information that The National Archives runs throughout the year to raise awareness of health issues, and provide constructive support and information for staff. The aim is to help to prevent poor health arising, to alleviate existing health conditions and maximise physical and mental wellbeing. And we’ve seen some real success: our average for sickness absence has reduced by nearly four days per year per person in just two years, with our 2011-12 average of 5.6 days comparing very favourably with both the private and public sector averages.
As Dr Thomas Fuller (1654-1534) commented: ‘Health is not valued till sickness comes’.