INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: In September 2015, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) ran a story that sickness absence in UK public sector healthcare workers was twice that found in private sector workers. One proposed initiative to address this was to encourage exercise and healthy eating. We aimed to assess and then overcome any potential barriers, then determine the benefits of an exercise at work programme. METHODS: A questionnaire survey was sent to all members of staff in the Department of Urology at our institution. This explored perceived barriers and benefits of an exercise at work programme. Following this we opened 2 exercise programmes, a walking group at lunchtimes and a Qi Gong/ Tai Chi group (led by a volunteer member of staff with considerable experience of these exercise forms) before morning clinical activity started. Each session lasted approximately 15 minutes. Participation was free of charge and entirely voluntary. After a 6 week trial we sent all participants a further questionnaire to explore the perceived benefits and any disadvantages of the exercise at work programme. RESULTS: Of 40 employees in the Urology department, 19 (47.5%) volunteered to take part in at least one exercise at work session. Lack of time was the commonest perceived barrier to exercise at work. We assessed perceived benefits both to the individual and to the department. Reported benefits included improved general wellbeing (87.5%), improved relationships/ friendships with colleagues (75%), better working relationships (75%), improved morale (62.5%), less stress (62.5%), more energy (50%), good "publicity" for the department within the hospital (50%), physical health benefits (25%), mental health benefits (25%), improved fitness (25%) and weight loss (12.5%). CONCLUSIONS: So far as we are aware, this is the only study to date to specifically examine the benefits of an exercise at work programme in a Urology department. Within the limitations of this small study, we have demonstrated that exercise can be successfully incorporated into the workplace, at no additional cost to employee or employer. Better working relationships was the most commonly cited benefit for the department, whilst improved general wellbeing was the most commonly cited personal benefit of the exercise at work programme. We are hopeful that through time the benefits of a happier and heathier workforce will translate into an improved service for our patients.
Lyttle, M., Bake, M., & Mukherjee, R. (2016). LB-S&T-34 IMPROVED WELLBEING AND MORALE FOLLOWING THE INTRODUCTION OF AN EXERCISE AT WORK PROGRAMME FOR UROLOGY DEPARTMENT STAFF. Journal of Urology, 195(4S). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.juro.2016.03.115