SOME of Dorset’s best-known employers have been coming together with smaller businesses to share ways of improving staff wellbeing.

The Workplace Health Forum meets quarterly to share best practice, learn from experts and look at how to implement or improve current workplace health strategies.

Organisations taking part have included Merlin Entertainments, Hall and Woodhouse, the RNLI, Crumbs and the NHS.

The forum was started by Renee Clarke, who runs Work Well Hub, a Poole-based health and wellbeing consultancy. She said 26 per cent of employers have a workplace health strategy, but 94 per cent of those do not use it.

“Creating a healthy workplace culture isn’t rocket science. With a little structure and vision, all organisations, no matter what size, can create a great working environment in which people thrive not just survive,” she said.

“Workplace health isn’t just a ‘nice to have’. A healthy workforce equals a healthy business with improved performance and improved retention and I want to help share my knowledge to create a region of healthy, thriving businesses.”

Renee ran similar events successfully in the Midlands before moving to Dorset. “Because it’s free, we ask the attendees to host it on a rota basis,” she said.

“I’m trying to use the forum as a platform to educate people on how to start thinking about workplace health and wellbeing and what changes they can make,” she added.

“There are small businesses where the HR manager is running around handling lots of issues and hasn’t got time to do this but wants to do it.”

Chloe Stevens from Merlin Entertainments – the Poole-based operator of theme parks around the world – said: “Since 2017, the Dorset Wellbeing Forum has provided a fantastic opportunity for like-minded people to share best practice in the world of Wellbeing. It enables a sense of community where all members recognise that every accomplishment, no matter how small, should be celebrated. I would advise any business professional in Dorset to check it out.”

Julie Painter, of Poole-based charity Ansbury Guidance, said: “ I am part time and on top of HR, I oversee training and health and safety. Time was therefore not available to undertake a full wellbeing project.

“I found it dispiriting that at every forum meeting I would introduce myself and state that we had still not made any progress. However, coming to the forum each quarter, I have heard how others have taken wellbeing forward in their organisations, and I hear about tried and tested approaches and new ideas. Two colleagues and I attended the forum before Christmas and we were inspired and decided to become the ‘wellbeing’ group to share the load.”