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Charlie Duff

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How to… Set up a Health at Work programme


Whether you are already running health initiatives in your workplace or just getting started, the British Heart Foundation’s Health at Work experts suggest these practical steps for a successful health and wellbeing programme. 

  1. Create a support group made up of representatives from all levels and across the organisation to help plan and promote initiatives.
  2. Gain support and commitment from senior management from the start. This presentation is a good place to start when building the business case. Aim to involve a management ‘sponsor’ to represent your programme.  
  3. Recruit health champions from within your organisation who are willing to share their skills and organise or deliver initiatives (e.g. a qualified yoga instructor).
  4. Do a ‘Staff Needs Assessment’ or a short questionnaire to find out what activities staff are interested in. You can download templates for this at Provide taster sessions to show action and identify the level of demand.
  5. Create an action plan based on what employees would like, spread over six months to help you focus on what you are going to deliver and when. Remember to start small and build on what you are doing over time.
  6. Hold a launch event to promote new and existing services to employees. Encourage senior management to open the event. Workshop sessions such as a BHF health and wellbeing day can help get colleagues thinking more about their health.
  7. Consider a range of initiatives from lunchtime walking groups, on or off site sports and classes, cooking classes, fruit bowls, stress management workshops, to offering bike parking and shower facilities to enable active travel to and from work.
  8. To involve a large number of staff, organise a challenge event or tournament like a Pedometer challenge (you can download instructions at
  9. Employee awareness is essential for employee participation. In addition to posters, emails and noticeboards, use your health champions to reach out to all staff.
  10. Collect information on your initiatives for example numbers of people participating and hand out a simple evaluation form so you can demonstrate success and continue to improve your programme.

For more free information and resources to promote better health in your organisation, sign up free to Health at Work and receive a Quick Guide to Health at Work to get your started.

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Charlie Duff


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