Interview with Emma James, Physiotherapist
Emma James runs a physiotherapist clinic in Hemel Hempstead. She firmly believes that taking her services into the corporate world can provide huge benefits to the organisation and to staff members. Emma was good enough to answer my questions on this topic.
What benefits do companies get from inviting you into their offices?
There are many benefits but they generally fall into two main categories. It demonstrates an investment in the staff that they really do appreciate and this can be part of the reason they demonstrate loyalty to the employer and are less likely to move on. The costs of attracting, selecting and employing staff can be significant.
As part of a health screening program it can help to stop small health issues becoming more serious hence keeping staff healthy and cutting down on the expense of absence. There are many other benefits such as simply cutting down on the length of time it takes staff to get treated as it does not involve a trip to another location.
What will you typically do for organisations?
The services we are asked to do vary but could range from helping with an initial medical of staff, running a clinic once a week or once a month through to carrying out workstation assessments and holding pilates classes.
Are there any particularly interesting examples of this approach in the pipeline?
Yes, I am talking with a secondary school in Hertfordshire. Teacher absence has a huge cost associated with it – this is from items such as sick pay and costs of alternative cover. This is apart from the problems associated with lack of continuity in the teaching that the pupils face.
The school administrator has a handle on what these costs are per year. We are hoping to provide a pro-active wellness program for the school staff. The objective is to stop small health issues becoming large ones so the staff health is better and the teaching more efficient. This will obviously be better for staff and students but after the program has been running for a year we will be able to compare before and after costs.
Can you relate any specific success stories that have happened already?
Not with names attached but recently we treated a senior member of staff at Customs and Excise. They needed a disabled badge in their car and due to a bad back were only working at 10-15% of capacity. After treatment from us at their workplace they now function at full capacity and as they are a public servant this is good value for taxpayers.
What levels of ‘buy in’ do you experience from the staff of organisations that invite you to help them at their workplace?
It differs from company to company but also on how it is funded. If the company provides the service for free to the employees then the buy in is high, if it is provided via insurance then it tends to be moderate and if the individual has to pay (even a subsidised amount) it tends to be low.
One of the services that you supply is workstation assessments. What do you think of doing these via online tools? How do you like to do them?
I know lots of companies think these are useful tools but I think they then tend to be more of a tick box exercise and don’t really deal with issues properly. The best solution I have found is a human doing the assessment ( who is medically qualified) who then had access to simple implements such as lumbar rolls or footstools so that problems can be assessed and dealt with immediately.
Your clinic is very busy and I know you were treating someone famous last night. Can you say who?
No I can’t but I can say that they are a household name pretty much the world over!
Emma James can be contacted via her clinic in Hemel Hempstead to arrange help for your staff or to make individual appointments.
Tel 01442 870686