West Midlands businesses have a week left to sign up for Thrive at Work

Small businesses in the West Midlands are being reminded there’s just a week left to sign up for a pioneering project designed to boost their employees’ health and wellbeing.

It is estimated that small businesses in the region could be losing up to £250,000 a year due to avoidable sickness absences.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has set up the pilot Thrive at Work programme, which is offering grants of up to £12,000 to help employers boost productivity.

The WMCA is hoping to get 148 companies to sign up for the new scheme – but there’s only a week left to sign up before the project deadline on September 14.

The Thrive at Work programme offers a free toolkit, support, advice and accreditation for businesses with 10 to 250 employees across Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

The pilot is headed by Supt Sean Russell, director of implementation for health and wellbeing at the WMCA.

He said: “Mental health and long-term sickness can have a huge impact on a small business’s bottom line.

“Staff needing time off for stress and mental health conditions can be better supported to remain in work, or return to work sooner, and that helps businesses with consistency, recruitment and, ultimately, profitability.

“We want to equip businesses with the right tools to help look after their employees’ health and wellbeing, and, in turn, look after their business.”  

Alongside the pilot, businesses can work towards three levels of the Thrive at Work Commitment – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Businesses who show exemplary practice and meet the standard will be eligible for a Wellbeing Award.

Organisations wishing to take part must sign a declaration committing their business to implement the programme, and will be provided with the tools and support to make it work.

Researchers will evaluate how the programme is implemented, interview employees to gauge its effectiveness, and businesses will be asked to feedback on how the commitment is working, its costs and effects.

For more information about Thrive at Work, and to sign up your business for the trial, visit: https://www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/thrive/thrive-at-work/