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With one in four colleagues facing mental health difficulties every year, it is an issue that organisations, and those charged with the wellbeing of employees, should be focused on. Here at our head office in Leeds, Asda House, we have created a ‘Wellness Hub.’
The Wellness Hub is a permanent quiet area for our colleagues to use for calm reflection, away from the bustle of the office. Overlooking the River Aire, the safe space is for all colleagues to use if they need some time out. The Hub also provides two private consultation rooms used for occupational health. The space was established as part of our wider strategy to engage, educate and embed a positive attitude to mental wellness across the business; it aims to achieve this in two ways.
Firstly, by breaking the stigma around talking about mental health in the workplace and secondly, by creating a central reference point for colleagues to get the information and advice they need and to help equip managers to support colleagues who may be suffering in silence.
Not only was the design colleague-led, but their experience informed the material and advice available.
The idea for this space was created by our Disability Colleague Resource Group so it was very much a project led by colleagues for colleagues. This approach ensured we could be confident we were creating a robust and appropriate solution to address real workplace issues. Not only was the design colleague-led, but their experience informed the material and advice available.
A number of charities have expressed their delight at the launch of the Hub, including Tommy’s, Samaritans and Leeds Minds.
A safe space
It is important to obtain the balance between providing a private safe space for colleagues and allowing them to benefit from services for particular wellbeing needs in a discreet setting and that is what we are working on as The Hub develops.
This initiative forms part of Asda’s unique culture of openness, central to creating an inclusive workplace. By putting colleagues at the heart of the decision and creation process, you can be confident you are not only doing the right thing by them, but the right thing by the business.
We have found that a collaborative approach with colleagues is the right way to create sustainable solutions.
Our next task is to use the Wellness Hub as a catalyst for change right across Asda. We will look at the tangible outputs and colleague focus areas the Hub will highlight and continue to share these messages across our stores and depots, to provide support for colleagues in every area of our business.
For other retailers and businesses looking to focus on mental wellbeing, we have found that a collaborative approach with colleagues is the right way to create suitable and sustainable solutions.
These solutions will reflect a supportive and inclusive workplace where colleagues can come and be themselves at work, not be afraid to ask questions, and see the tangible impact they are having on their workplace people strategy.