Workplace wellbeing, a hot topic on the agenda at present. Gaining traction during the recent pandemic as a result of lockdown restrictions, it was at this point employers appeared to take note. Daily touchpoints, walking meetings, mental health days all started becoming the norm, however as restrictions eased old habits die hard, and soon many began falling back into their old routines. Unsurprisingly, t felt to many as though wellbeing was simply dropped off the agenda and it was back to the old corporate ways. Yet, companies were and are still talking more than ever about employees wellbeing. Although it seems not all are getting it right. Wellbeing isn’t letting people WFH one day a week, and it's not having a fruit bowl in the office. It is about having employer supported activities, programs, and/or policies designed to support healthy behaviour in the workplace. I recently polled my network on LinkedIn and was shocked that 42% of people didn’t think their employer had anything in place to support their wellbeing. In contrast, 21% said their employer was doing enough, and 21% felt there were some things their employer was doing well, but they could do better. That’s a staggering 63% feeling under-represented where wellbeing is concerned. In a world where we are more informed than ever, statutory holiday/pension or a laptop to WFH tick box ‘benefits’ are simply not going to cut it. In fact, they aren’t even benefits, most are a legal requirement. As we see more Gen Z enter the workplace, and hear more about how they have higher expectation of the workplace than those before them, moving to new roles that can give flexibility, mental health support, shared values, as well as the usual salary and career growth, employers need to be more savvy about what benefits and opportunities they can offer to increase wellbeing in the workplace. So, what are the new and innovative ways employers are seeking to enhance employee wellness? One that has been common in the US market at the big tech and startups for a while now, is unlimited holiday allowance. In the US market where there is no statutory regulations on holiday requirements this is totally ground-breaking, but does it work in the UK? Interestingly, with no limit to your holiday allowance the average amount of days taken off work are 21-22 days per year. Now, in the US where there is usually little to no paid holiday allowance this is HUGE! But in the UK where we have a statutory allowance, (20 days plus 8 days bank holiday) ironically this is actually less leave taken then most workplaces offer! Despite this, interestingly we are now seeing more and more UK based companies introduce this benefit. Some of the most exciting benefits offered to staff, are the employees services themselves, which is a fantastic way to give your employees passion for what they do and who they work for. AirBNB for example, offer all employees up to £500 per quarter (£2k per year) to stay anywhere in the world! Coupled with a great annual leave policy this is really promoting employees to get away and take time for themselves. In my current role, what I appreciate the most is the flexible working policy. I go into the office in London between 1-4 times per month depending on my workload/projects. Working from home the rest of the time gives me the flexibility to do nursery drops offs and pickups, get my food shopping done (usually on a Tuesday lunchtime) coupled with an early finish on a Friday means I get to have a work life balance to fit around my young family. Part of my role and remit covers wellbeing at Pro and we are constantly banding around thoughts and ideas to the leadership team to help push for new ways of working and to address the wellbeing of our employees. Is there more we can do, 100% yes! But as long as we continue to change and adapt and work towards making the working environment a great place to bee with wellness at the heart of it as a business we are always going to be ahead of our competitors.
Jun 15, 2023