Co-op: ‘Winning in the OH&W Awards has unlocked things’

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As the clock counts down to this year’s Occupational Health & Wellbeing Awards, we continue to look back at the winners of 2020. Convenience retailer the Co-op won last year’s ‘Best mental health initiative’ through its innovative approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of its night-time workers.
Back in November, the Co-op launched a nightshift workers’ health and wellbeing ‘manifesto’ in Parliament, calling for employers to be held legally responsible for the health consequences night work can bring.
The move by the convenience retailer was a logical progression, given how Co-op won the ‘Best mental health initiative’ in 2020’s Occupational Health & Wellbeing Awards for its ‘Night Club’, which brought together night-time workers with sleep researchers from Oxford University and The Wellcome Trust to help improve the quality of their sleep and their wellbeing. Indeed, as we shall see, the award acted as a springboard to enabling the manifesto campaign to happen.
One important element of Night Club was that it was a collaborative effort, and not just in terms of the partners involved, but how it was co-designed by colleagues who would be its primary users within the logistics depots.
As Sarah Eglin, Co-op’s head of people for retail, who worked to establish the Night Club campaign, explains: “It was very much led through our logistics function, our logistics and supply chain director Andy Perry and his leadership team were co-collaborators on this. But then in terms of the design of the content and understanding what worked, and what didn’t, this was undertaken with colleagues for colleagues, and by working with The Liminal Space as part the creative design process we were unable to unlock more potential and break into exciting new areas.
“The Night Club is mobile, so it went up and down the UK and visited all of our depots. We then also did an installation at our support centre in Manchester to bring it to people who, while not necessarily classed as night workers, still see sleep health as critically important – and all of us are in that camp to a greater or lesser extent. It was about how to open a conversation about sleep but also to bring awareness about our night workers and the additional challenges they can face, front-of-mind for the rest of our colleague populati

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