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Promoting wellbeing in the workplace with a ‘Walk and Talk in the Park’

Group in the park

Changing how we think about mental health in the workplace is becoming a top priority for employers, with research showing that by improving staff well-being, businesses can increase staff retention and morale, and reducing costs associated with sickness.

With this in mind, Bracknell Forest’s Economic and Skills Development Partnership (ESDP), supported by Bracknell Forest Council, brought businesses together to enjoy a sunny day at South Hill Park on 23 May. South Hill Park provided the perfect setting for an outdoor event aimed at inspiring business managers to invest more in the wellbeing of their staff. Not only was the event held outdoors, but no electronic technology was involved – a challenge both for the speakers and the audience!

30 attendees from more than 15 businesses from across Bracknell Forest attended the talk followed by a ‘Walk in the Park’. Three speakers shared their knowledge on improving workplace wellbeing.

Karen Shaw, representing the national campaign, Time to Change, provided an overview of the seven key areas where companies can make a difference to the wellbeing of their staff. Delegates were encouraged to raise awareness in their businesses, to consider how they could practically implement changes, identify wellbeing champions and ambassadors, and overcome barriers to discussing issues such as men’s mental health, the menopause, and LGBT inclusivity.

Michaela Gartside, from HR Department, explained how businesses can improve their performance by implementing an effective health and wellbeing plan, and providing line managers with the appropriate training and skills to support their staff in coping with mental health challenges both at work and at home.

Martin Doherty, from the interior design company Overbury, shared his experience in using workplace design to enhance employee well-being; including the importance of allowing natural daylight into workspaces and linking with the outside environment. He emphasised the need to be aware of the wellbeing of lone workers, who are often isolated from their work colleagues.

After an update on Bracknell’s proposed Business Improvement District, the attendees had the opportunity to participate in the Walk; a demonstration led by Stephanie Stevenson of ‘mindful’ walking skills aimed at reducing work-related stress.

Councillor Marc Brunel-Walker, Executive Member for Economic Development and Regeneration said:

“Mental health in the workplace is a priority for Bracknell Forest Council. We support the important work that ESDP does to inspire businesses to invest more into the wellbeing of their staff.”

More information about workplace wellbeing can be found in these four podcasts.

The ESDP holds regular events for Bracknell Forest businesses, each focussed on a different topic. To find out more about upcoming events and the organisation’s activities please contact


Nationally ineffective support for stress and mental health contributes to the resignation of 1 in 8 staff. Over 20% of staff have called in sick when workplace stress has affected them (Mind).

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