Category Archives: Health & Welfare Headlines

Fostering Mother Provides A Home For Life

Debbie Pike has been fostering for more than 10 years, and this Mother’s Day she wants to educate more people about fostering in the hope that others will consider stepping forward to change a child’s life.

Alongside husband Nick, Debbie is currently caring for two young people, both in their teens, who have been in the couple’s care for more than 10 years.

The couple’s own children fled the nest, Debbie sold her business, and they decided to start fostering with the help of a little bit of encouragement from two friends who were already foster parents.

One of the young people Debbie cares for, Ellie, is now 18. Debbie said: “I genuinely believe in ‘nurture over nature’. It’s completely true in Ellie’s case. You can make all the difference in their outlook on life.”

Debbie and Nick have been supported every step of the way on her fostering journey, and her foster children really are now just like her own.

Debbie said: “My birth daughter has always accepted Ellie and her brother as siblings. Even though there’s a massive age gap – because my daughter’s forty this year – she thinks of Ellie as her little sister. She never refers to her as her ‘foster sister’ – it’s always ‘my sister’.”

One of the things that Debbie has noticed is that although there are similarities to raising her own children, fostering has presented different challenges due to the history of the children she cares for.

Debbie said: “I’m quite protective and I’ve been called a lioness because I will fight for my children. It was obviously different in the beginning because I knew my children from birth and I knew what they’d been through.”

Debbie acknowledges that fostering doesn’t come without its difficulties, but she fully believes that ‘nurture over nature’ can transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people.

She said: “I could sit and cry for both of them having learnt about what they have been through, and sometimes I do.”

“I feel so privileged that they have been able to open up and disclose some of the things that they went through.”

Debbie believes there is work to be done in educating people about what foster care involves and how rewarding it can be, she said: “Campaigns like the John Lewis Christmas one which really celebrate foster care are just wonderful. We need more people to welcome these vulnerable children and young people into their homes.”

“Since we started fostering all those years ago, while there can be difficult days, we honestly haven’t looked back since.”

If you would like to find out more about Orange Grove Foster Care or how to become a foster parent, visit the website here.

Apprenticeships Supporting The Economy

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust recently welcomed its 100th Apprentice with the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group since August 2022 – demonstrating the significant impact Apprenticeships have in supporting the economy.

Macey Denise Brooks, who is the 100th apprentice, has started her Level 2 Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Macey said: “When exploring my options for my future, an Apprenticeship really appealed to me as I like to learn practical skills and being able to apply them in real environments. I’m really looking forward to starting my Apprenticeship and I can’t wait to learn about patient care. I hope to one day become a nurse.”

Since the partnership was formed over 15 years ago, Apprentices have worked across the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trusts’ Hospitals including Pontefract Hospital, Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and Dewsbury and District Hospital.

These include Business Administrator, Customer Services, Healthcare Science Assistant, Healthcare Science Associate, Healthcare Support Workers and Senior Healthcare Support Worker apprentices.

Many of these apprentices have progressed onto the Trust’s Trainee Nursing Associate programme and successfully secured roles as Nursing Associates within the Trust. Others have also continued in their Healthcare Assistant Role or progressed onto degree-level Apprenticeships.

Anita Mason, Organisational Development Apprentice Manager at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’re delighted that we have been able to offer 100 apprentices roles working across our hospitals, delivering services which are fundamental to the running of the NHS. It’s incredibly important that we’re able to inspire the next-generation, or capture those wanting to start or change their career path at an early stage, and our Apprenticeship scheme with the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group enables us to do exactly that. Apprenticeships are not only a fantastic opportunity for apprentices to earn while they learn, but provide them with a foot in the door to what can be lifelong, fulfilling career within the NHS.”

Currently, the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has more than 300 apprentices from the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group on programme.

Lorraine Cross, Executive Director for External Relations and Development at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, said: “We work closely with the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust to help shape and develop our Apprenticeship offering in line with their skills demands and industry standards for hospitals. This ensures we offer a delivery model which suits both the organisations’ and the apprentices needs, providing the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust with a readymade workforce and the apprentices with valuable skills and hands-on experience in their chosen industry. Welcoming our 100th apprentice clearly demonstrates the impact that Apprenticeships have both on a local and national scale and how they can provide a highly-skilled, talent pool for vital organisations like the NHS.”

Acknowledging its collaborative work, the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust was presented with the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group’s Special Recognition award at its Apprenticeship Awards 2023, which took place during National Apprenticeship Week.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust receiving the Special Recognition Award

Level 2 Healthcare Assistant Apprentice, Nina Borowik, also received the Health & Education Apprentice of the Year award for her willingness to learn and take on new tasks.

Level 2 Healthcare Assistant Apprentice Nina Borowik collecting the Health & Education Apprentice of the Year award

Len Richards, Chief Executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I’m exceptionally proud of the success of my colleagues at the Apprenticeship Awards in recognition of all the work we have undertaken at the Trust to support apprenticeships over the years. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the team at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group to further progress this exciting work. Congratulations to all involved for your fantastic contributions. Also, a huge well done to Nina for your hard work and dedication – I’m looking forward to seeing how your career progresses with us here at the Trust.”

Asthma Friendly Schools Praised

Schools in the Wakefield district have been praised for becoming ‘asthma friendly’ and helping pupils stay healthy and avoid missing school.

Six schools were awarded certificates at an event at Wakefield Council’s Town Hall, to recognise their commitment to being safe and inclusive places, where there is understanding and support for asthma management. Information, training, and support is offered to pupils, parents, carers, and school staff.

Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition in children in the UK, with around 1 in 11 children and young people affected.

Raising awareness of managing the breathing condition in schools also aims to help reduce unplanned hospital visits and prevent children from missing out on their schooling.

Councillor Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “Congratulations to all the schools that have signed up to be ‘asthma friendly’ in our district.”

“Our schools are supported by expert teams, and it was great to hear about the work they are all doing to help pupils with asthma, to promote better understanding of the condition, and help children to get the most out of their education.”

Libby Holroyd, Clinical Nurse Specialist for children’s asthma at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Asthma affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood. There are simple ways to keep this condition controlled and it is important that a child has a good support network to do this.”

“The asthma friendly school’s initiative has introduced ways in which a child can be supported whilst under the care of school. The schools signed up to the pledge now have ‘asthma champions’ and trained staff who can identify the symptoms of asthma and create a controlled environment, by having spare labelled rescue inhalers and spacers in school, alongside an asthma policy and asthma registers for each child affected.”

Wakefield now has 36 Schools that have completed self-assessment- more than anywhere else in West Yorkshire and are continuing to work towards achieving asthma friendly status

The initiative builds on the work already undertaken across Wakefield by 0-19 Services and Paediatric Respiratory teams over many years, delivered by school nurses with the support of the Paediatric Asthma Nurses team at Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospital Trust.

How Does Sleep Affect Work Productivity?

Sleep is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health, as well as overall well-being. Getting enough quality sleep is important for our ability to function at our best, both in our personal lives and in the workplace.

Here, Martin Seeley, Sleep Expert and CEO of Mattressnextday shares how a lack of sleep can affect us physically and mentally, and also shares tips on getting a better night’s sleep.

Concentration and Focus: Lack of sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating and focusing, making it harder to stay on task and complete work efficiently. A good night’s sleep can help improve cognitive function, attention span, and decision-making abilities.

Energy and Alertness: Without sufficient rest, workers may feel sluggish, fatigued, and lacking in energy. This can make it harder to perform tasks that require physical exertion or mental effort, leading to a decrease in productivity.

Memory and Learning: Sleep plays a critical role in consolidating memories and learning new information. Without adequate sleep, the brain may struggle to process and store new information, making it harder to learn and retain new skills.

Mood and Emotions: Lack of sleep can lead to irritability, mood swings, and decreased emotional regulation. This can impact communication with colleagues and decrease overall job satisfaction.

How can I get a better night’s sleep?

  1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help regulate your body’s internal clock and improve the quality of your sleep.
  2. Create a sleep-conducive environment: Your bedroom should be quiet, cool, and dark to promote restful sleep. Use blackout curtains, earplugs, or a white noise machine to block out any distractions.
  3. Limit screen time before bed: The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Try to avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bed.
  4. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine: Develop a relaxing routine before bed to help your body unwind and prepare for sleep. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing.
  5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Stimulants like caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Try to avoid consuming these substances in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  6. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Just make sure to avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as this can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.

By making these simple changes to your daily routine, you can improve the quality of your sleep and feel more rested and productive at work. Of course, your sleep quality also depends on the comfort of your mattress and bedding, making sure you are comfortable is the number one thing you can do for your sleep routine.

Rooftop Worker Scheme

Arco, the UK’s Leading Safety Company, is advising businesses that operate within the telecoms industry to ensure all workers are trained in accordance with the new Rooftop Worker – Safety & Access Scheme set out by The Energy and Utility Skills Register (EUSR).

The Energy and Utility Skills Register (EUSR) has released a new training qualification, the Rooftop Worker – Safety & Access Scheme, consisting of 15 units and containing both theoretical and practical assessed elements. The scheme recognises the knowledge and skills required to access flat roofs with a variety of personal fall protections systems.

The new scheme has been developed in collaboration with the Mast & Tower Safety Group (MATS), which consists of organisations that own or manage masts and towers where there are specific and significant work at height and occupational radio frequency (RF) hazards.

Although designed for anyone wanting to work safely at height and understand the dangers of working on rooftops, the scheme will become the recognised qualification for those working on telecommunication infrastructure, with leading telecoms companies stating that completing the scheme is now mandatory to work on their sites.

New training or refresher training, since the 1st of January 2023, must now be completed to the new EUSR syllabus and conducted by an EUSR accredited training provider. Certificates attained prior to this date will remain valid until they expire, including the Arqiva Rooftop Worker training, meaning that the 1st of January 2026 will mark the first time that the only certification in use across the industry will be the new scheme.
According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), a total of 123 workers were killed in work-related accidents in Great Britain in 2021/22, with falls from a height being the biggest contributor, accounting for 24% of these (29 people).

As experts in safety, Arco is encouraging businesses that work in the telecoms industry, to take note of the new scheme and to ensure their staff receive the correct training to best protect those working at height.
Steve Dawson, Manager – Working at Height Training at Arco Professional Safety Services, said: “Falling from height is still one of the most common work-related accidents and is proportionally the largest contributor of work-related deaths, therefore it is vitally important that those who work at height receive the proper training and are undertaking their work in compliance with the necessary regulations and are adhering to industry best practice.”

“As experts in safety, we are pleased to announce that we have become an approved provider of the EUSR (MATS) Rooftop Worker – Safety & Access Scheme, with the training becoming an integral part of our course portfolio to help keep workers safe. Furthermore, we will be offering this training scheme at our new, state-of-the-art training facility in Bracknell, Berkshire.”

Arco Professional Safety Services offer the one-day Rooftop Worker – Safety & Access Scheme course, at its safety training centres in Linlithgow (Edinburgh), Trafford Park (Manchester), Eccleshall (Stafford) and Bracknell (Berkshire).  For more information about the training available, click here.

Sheffield Scientist Receives Prestigious Honour For Fertility Research

A fertility expert from the University of Sheffield has been recognised for his exceptional contributions to pioneering research over the past 30 years.

Professor Allan Pacey is only the 38th Honorary Member of The British Fertility Society in its 50 year history. The prestigious award recognises his life-changing research on infertility, as well as his influential voice in the field through radio, film, television, and live events.

Previous recipients of the award include the late Professor Robert Edwards, who won a Nobel Prize in 2010 for the development of in vitro fertilisation.

Professor Allan Pacey, who is Head of the Departments of Oncology and Metabolism and Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Sheffield, said: “It is such an honour to receive this award – I am over the moon. My association with the British Fertility Society has been an absolute joy and I hope that I have managed in some small way to move the field forward during my career.”

Dr Raj Mathur, Chairman of the British Fertility Society, said: “Professor Pacey is a pre-eminent figure in Andrology and Fertility, whose contributions range from a wide portfolio of research to training of healthcare professionals and improved public understanding of the science of male reproduction. He has been a mentor to several researchers and clinicians and, as a previous Chair of the British Fertility Society, represented the entire fertility sector in the UK at a national and international level. We are delighted to be able to award him Honorary Membership of our Society as a mark of our esteem and gratitude for his work.”

Last month Professor Pacey published a scientific study which found that less than four in 100 men who apply to be sperm donors reach the end of the process and have samples frozen and released for treatments, despite there being a sperm donor shortage.

Additionally, last year he was part of an international study which for the first time discovered a new protein which helps sperm fuse with an egg and could improve fertility treatments in the future.

Professor Pacey first came to Sheffield in 1992 as a postdoctoral research assistant, after obtaining his PhD from the University of St. Andrews and working at a laboratory of the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie. He was appointed as a Lecturer in 1997, Senior Lecturer in 2001 and subsequently promoted to Professor in 2015.

He has appeared on countless TV series, radio shows and in newspapers to explain the science behind human reproduction and infertility.

Previously, Professor Pacey has been recognised by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists who awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in 2014, and in 2016 he was also awarded an MBE by the late Queen Elizabeth II for his services to reproductive medicine.

Downright Special Charity Receives Funding & Support

The Matthew Good Foundation has donated £50,000, plus additional support to produce a promotional video, to Downright Special, a Hull-based charity whose aim is to build a brighter future for children with Down Syndrome by assisting in all aspects of their care and education across Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Originally started in 2007 by a group of parents who wanted to support each other and reach out to other local families, Downright Special quickly developed into an organisation of professionally trained volunteers and staff providing emotional, practical and educational support to families and professionals.

The donation to Downright Special came through the Matthew Good Foundation – a charitable trust established in 2011 by the John Good Group. The John Good Group donates to the Matthew Good Foundation each year as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting charitable causes.

The funding, to be provided over the next five years, will help support Downright Special’s wide range of services for children from birth onwards including weekly play and education groups, training for teaching assistants and other professionals, lending of specialist resources, and promoting inclusion for children with Down Syndrome.

As well as providing funding, the Matthew Good Foundation also helped the charity with additional funding and pro bono support in the co-ordination of a promotional video. The extra support was given as part of the Foundation’s recently launched “Films for Good” programme, which aims to amplify the voices of small charities and projects – whose work is often unseen and underfunded – through the power of film.

Gillian Bowlas, Charity Manager at Downright special said, “We are so delighted to have long term funding from the Matthew Good Foundation, helping to ensure that the future of the charity is secure and that we can continue to grow Downright Special. Over and above, that the additional support and expertise provided to us to make a short video about the charity will be so helpful in promoting the charity to new families who may want to join us and to potential new funders who would like to support us in the future. Matthew Good Foundation have been such a good funder to be involved with. They have been quite unique in getting to know us as a charity to make sure they can support us in ways that are as helpful as possible and allowing us to make use of the expertise that exists within the Foundation.”

Michelle Taft, Executive Director of the Matthew Good Foundation said, “Downright Special is a perfect example of how small charities can make a huge difference to society. We first heard about Downright Special through our members who, through John Good Group’s charitable giving programme, have supported the charity with several small grants over the years. Along with our latest commitment to provide £50,000 over five years, the charity film will help Downright Special connect with their audience and raise awareness so more people can see the incredible work that they do.”

The charity’s new promotional video, which has launched this week, was filmed at one of their popular education sessions at the Bodmin Road Church on Bransholme. Michelle Taft, Executive Director of the Matthew Good Foundation also visited the session to present the cheque to Gillian Bowlas, Downright Special’s Charity Manager.

Workplace Wellbeing Report Reveals Increased Suicidal Thoughts

A study of 4,170 employees has revealed that the amount of professionals experiencing moderate to high levels of stress has increased, affecting 76% of our workforce, a year-on-year increase of 13%. Worryingly, workers experiencing suicidal thoughts has also increased from 8% to 9%.

Data released by global workplace wellbeing provider Champion Health gives an insight into the health and wellbeing of the working population between January 2022 and October 2022.

Financial worries are reported as the leading cause for stress outside of work, cited by 37%, a 23% increase on last year’s report whilst perceived workload features as the highest cause of stress in work (73%).

The data, which has been published in Champion Health’s annual report also revealed that:

  • 60% of employees feel anxious with 56% experiencing low mood
  • Females are 22% more likely to feel anxious (65% female compared to 53% male)
  • Younger workers are most likely to experience anxiety and depression (67% of 16–24-year-olds experience symptoms of anxiety with 61% reporting symptoms of depression and 66% of 25–34-year-olds reporting symptoms of anxiety and 60% claim symptoms of depression)
  • Poor mental health negatively affects the performance of 1 in 5 employees
  • 81% say that they feel tired and 71% rate their sleep as ‘average’ or ‘worse’
  • Over 50% of employees rate their productivity as ‘average’ ‘below average’ or ‘low’ with 61% reporting tiredness impacts productivity
  • The survey showed that people feel most energised to work at 10.21am and are least energised at 3.31pm.

In addition, team culture and feeling supported at work positively correlates with mental wellbeing and productivity. Those who report ‘feeling part of a team’ experience greater positive mental wellbeing and feel more productive.

Whilst the findings point to a decline in our workers health, it’s not all doom and gloom as 98% of employees feel motivated to improve their wellbeing. 42% cite they’d like to boost their energy levels, closely followed by 41% reporting they’d like to lose weight. When asked what the barriers are to making health changes, 47% report willpower as the biggest barrier followed by 43% stating they face a lack of time.

Harry Bliss, CEO and co-founder of Champion Health, says that while the findings are worrying there is a positive in the amount of employees reporting they feel motivated to improve their wellbeing and that business leaders have an opportunity to improve workplace culture and support employees to thrive.

Bliss comments: “It’s no surprise that the last few years have been extremely tough on employees, and I’m really concerned about the findings of this report. The fact that workers experiencing suicidal thoughts has increased is terrifying; whilst a 1% increase from last year to 9% may seem low on the face of it, it isn’t, this means that in a workforce of 1,000 staff, 90 will be having thoughts about taking their own lives which could have a devastating impact.”

“Leaders need to step up and support their workforce, it is not only the moral thing to do but this research shows poor mental health, stress, and fatigue is increasingly affecting productivity, so it is also within the best interests of businesses.”

“Companies can help turn this dangerous pattern around by making employee wellbeing a priority; and doing so goes beyond having much happier employees. It will enable employers to retain great people who are motivated to complete brilliant work, day in, day out.”

Champion Health’s solutions were developed by world-leading academics, GPs, and technology professionals. Through a team of over 100 professionals and academics, the company is proud to have improved health and wellbeing outcomes across the UK and works with companies including Currys, Rabobank, and the NHS.

The Workplace Health Report: 2023 was developed by the Champion Health team with 35 contributors including global heads of HR, suicide prevention specialists and mental health first aiders.

View the report here

Top Tips To Reduce Stress From Cost Of Living Crisis

The lingering stress of the cost-of-living crisis weighs heavily on the shoulders of many, and with temperatures dropping, food prices skyrocketing, and the New Year in full swing, it is bound to have an added impact on the stresses of everyday life. Therefore, people up and down the country are looking for tips and tricks to ease and eliminate as much stress as possible.

CBD experts Simply CBD have revealed some tips that will help encourage stress relaxation and a stress-free routine that you can implement into your weekly routine.

New analysis reveals that searches in the UK for ‘reduce stress’ increased 216% over the past month, proving just how desperate Brits are to find solutions for feelings of overwhelming stress. In fact, searches for ‘is stress normal’ has seen a huge 635% increase over the past month in the UK, showing just how concerned people are about stress levels and how they can impact their health.

Being mindful of your own needs is essential and focusing on self-care will help reduce stress and anxiety tremendously. Some forms of self-care include maintaining a balanced diet and sustaining a healthy sleep schedule but indulging in pampering is often overlooked.

Pampering doesn’t have to break the bank. Forget spa days or trips away; you can easily indulge in pampering at home:

  • Take a hot bath or shower.
  • Pop on a face mask and read your favourite book – time away from blue light from your phone also helps relax the mind.
  • Light some candles and listen to a meditation podcast.
  • Treat yourself to your favourite home-cooked meal (or take away if you prefer!)

Although the thought of exercise can sometimes be exhausting, with long workdays feeling tiring enough, finding the time to get a good workout in can often be the release from a lot of pent-up stress.

Sometimes getting past the mental barrier of doing physical activity is the only thing holding you back from releasing tension and endorphins, aka the body’s natural painkillers.

The exercise doesn’t necessarily need to be intense, and there are many options when it comes to fitting in an hour of increased heart rate:

  • Go on a walk – Whether with friends, family or just by yourself, getting out for some fresh air and moving your body will work wonders.
  • Take part in a local exercise class – there are many different options, such as low intensity Yoga and Pilates, which are great options if you don’t want to do an intense workout.
  • Take part in an online exercise class! – if physically leaving the house to exercise fills you with dread, you will be pleased to know there are thousands of online classes and pre-recorded free videos of workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Listen to music
Listening to music gives the brain a total workout, and we all know how vital brain health is. By listening to music, you can:

  • Reduce blood pressure.
  • Improve memory.
  • Reduce anxiety.
  • Improve sleep quality.

Not only can it reduce stress, but it can elevate moods and clear the way for emotional expression; this is why it is great that there are so many genres of music to choose from; just pick whatever gets you out of a funk and makes you feel good!

Experiment with hobbies
By experimenting with hobbies that you might have put on the back burner, you are allowing your body to remind itself of something you enjoy and take pride in. Hobbies are a great distraction and can be the perfect way to relax and forget about the stresses of everyday life.

If you’re struggling to think of a hobby, it’s never too late to find one! By making a list of all the hobbies you would love to try, you are already one step closer to expanding your knowledge, widening your range of skills, keeping your brain working and mind off all things stressful.

Turn the phone off and stay off social media
In a world dominated by technology, we have everything at the push of a button, making it hard to imagine life without it, but keeping so up-to-date and caught up on social media can sometimes be exhausting and lead to unhealthy comparisons.

By turning off your phone or limiting the time spent on social media, you can shut off the constant updates and remain solely focused on other things that might bring you joy. Instead of getting distracted by technology, you could be reading your favourite books, spending time with family and friends, giving yourself a well-deserved pamper or just taking a nap, whatever relieves stress from your day!

Staff Keen To Bring Green Spaces Into The Workplace

With staff facing another test to their mental resilience due to continued economic difficulties, a new report has revealed that businesses can help bolster wellbeing at work by utilising outdoor spaces and bringing nature into the workplace.

A study by global workplace creation experts, Unispace, has revealed that staff are keen to replicate the positive impact that access to outdoor spaces had on their mental wellbeing during the pandemic as tough economic times lie ahead.

The report, Bringing the outdoors into the office: Why do nature and green space play a crucial role in today’s workplace experience?, revealed that almost a quarter of office workers across Europe believe that their workspace should have more outside space. With research from the Mental Health Foundation revealing that connecting with nature has a positive impact on mental health – with 70% of UK adults agreeing that being close to nature improves their mood, and 49% stating that being close to nature helps them cope with stress – employers are facing a growing desire from staff for better access to the outdoors at work.

The report highlighted that while expanding the office into outside areas is not feasible for all, businesses need to consider how they can bring elements of the outdoors inside instead through carefully designed spaces with natural materials, visible planting, views of nature, ‘earthy’ colour schemes and natural light.

Bringing the outside in: who does it best?

According to Unispace’s study of 3,000 office workers across Europe, businesses in Switzerland appear to embrace the outside environment more when considering how they create a workspace, with 76% of respondents from this destination revealing they had access to outdoor spaces or terraces at work.

Ireland (52%) and the UK (54%) reported the lowest number of offices with access to outdoor spaces, still, the fact that more than half of workplaces provide staff with this amenity is encouraging. Meanwhile, offices in the consumer goods sector reported the highest number of outdoor spaces (74%), with transportation and engineering, and property and real estate reporting the most limited access at 54%.

Antonia Walmsley, Principal of Design at Unispace comments: “There is no doubt that outdoor space and even biophilic design elements in the workplace can have a positive impact on employee health and wellbeing.”

“People saw the benefits of being outside during the pandemic and as we face a tough economy globally, staff are looking to their employers to help support their mental wellbeing. Against this backdrop, it makes sense that the offices of tomorrow should be designed to include elements which relate to, or reflect nature wherever possible, so that existing employees and potential recruits can continue to enjoy the benefits that the natural environment brings as they settle into the new world of work.”