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Working Well is a campaign that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the University’s staff, targeting over 500 staff in the Estates department.

The campaign has won the ‘Impact Initiative of the Year’ award from the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE).

The award recognises an initiative that has a significant positive impact.

The campaign began by aiming to engage the University’s estates staff regarding their health and wellbeing, giving them new ways to manage their health, which would result in a reduced sickness absence.

'the engagement from staff has been phenomenal'

The Deputy Director of Estates, Paul Smith, has said that ‘we are thrilled and delighted that our initiative to reduce sedentary behaviour and increase wellbeing in the workplace has been recognised.’

He went on to say that ‘the engagement from staff has been phenomenal and some great ideas came in, such as self-sponsored walking lunches. Yoga and running groups have been set up, and a University team has now completed both the Bristol 10k and the Bristol Half Marathon.’

The campaign exceeded all expectations. With the help of the University’s Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health activities such as pedometer challenges, discounted physio sessions, ‘taster’ gym passes, and resource cards on stress and healthy eating were introduced.

Common health concerns among Estates staff were also targeted. Scrubber-drier machines have been introduced to replace mopping, reducing the risk of back and wrist pain, and Security Officers’ body armour was reviewed, and now weighs 30kg less than before.

'Bristol have grasped a thorny issue in an admirable manner'

David Tonkin, the Head of Facilities Management Soft Services, told of how ‘in just four weeks’ time, the new running group I’m part of will be taking on the Bristol 10k for the second time. There are 22 of us from the University, including many who have never run before. The Working Well campaign gets the credit for this, and we’ve become a really inspired and enthusiastic group of colleagues and friends.’

Jane White, the Executive Director of AUDE said ‘Bristol have grasped a thorny issue in an admirable manner’, adding that she believes ‘Working Well is replicable across the higher education sector in so many ways and we’d encourage other universities to learn what they can from the Bristol approach.’

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