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Jeff Archer

The Tonic


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Workplace wellbeing: Alternative rules of engagement


Jeff Archer explains how wellbeing initiatives can be used in a variety of ways across all levels of a business to engage and motivate the whole workforce.

When you’ve exhausted traditional methods of engaging staff, and employees have become immune to all the latest exciting initiatives you’ve introduced to help raise performance, how can you inject enthusiasm and energy into your workforce and create an environment where staff are ready, willing and able to focus fully on the tasks at hand? 
You may feel that it’s not the responsibility of the employer to look after the health of the workforce but in a world where cutting absence and improving engagement are top priorities, perhaps it’s time to explore how healthy initiatives can actually become viable business solutions. 
Effective wellbeing solutions can encourage an inspiring atmosphere of health and high performance and equip staff with new strategies and tools that enables them to perform to the best of their abilities. So how can wellbeing best help business achieve the ultimate dream of healthy, positive, motivated, engaged staff in every department?

Do something for staff they wouldn’t do for themselves

We all like to think we’re in good shape but there’s only one way to find out if we really are or not and that’s by screening for key health indicators such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and bone density. Most people would love to know their numbers in these areas but chances are they won’t make time to go and have these indicators measured by themselves. 
An office that arranges for regular screenings to take place on site not only gives staff a great perk, but also will benefit from the positive action staff take on discovering how they’ve performed. Arrange these screening sessions at periodic intervals and you’ll guarantee ongoing good habits. Regular screenings become a talking point, a feature of the business calendar, and keep people on the straight and narrow between events.
On a business level, monitoring improvements with key health indicators such as a group reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol or body fat provide great material for internal and external PR.
Providing the opportunity for staff to consult with a wellbeing expert has been shown to increase participation in some programmes fivefold. Once again, it’s unlikely that individuals will seek out this resource in their own time, but if they know there will be an expert on site regularly and they know they can speak confidentially about their specific health, fitness, food and lifestyle objectives, they’ll jump at the chance. These appointments can provide the key that unlocks amazing results for many people and can provide life-changing moments that staff will be extremely grateful for. In return the business benefits from individuals experiencing renewed energy and effectiveness, which translates into increased productivity.

Change your culture completely

Wellbeing initiatives are flexible and democratic. They appeal to staff at every level of a business, primarily because everyone has a vested interest in feeling good.  
Senior executives don’t usually have a problem engaging with their professional roles – after all they’ve spent a lot of time working themselves into those positions but what they do care about is their effectiveness. They want to be as efficient as they can be in order to move onto the next level of their career development. Target this group with wellbeing initiatives that demonstrate how to manage energy better, stay focused, exercise effectively, sleep better and eat well in the midst of a busy week or a hectic travel routine and they’ll seize this opportunity with both hands. 
On a wider scale, for many businesses, the challenge is getting people to turn up for work and giving the job their full attention while they are there. Again wellbeing initiatives can provide an attractive solution.
Offering staff an environment where they can attend fitness sessions, yoga classes, walking or running clubs provides then with opportunities to fit activity into their day as well as a great reason to get themselves into the office. Implementing some sort of theme, challenge or team element will encourage a much wider take up of initiatives and also gets people talking about health and wellbeing in a positive way rather than complaining that they feel lousy. 
Arranging bite-size presentations on key themes such as eating well in the office or how to get a great night’s sleep, and tying this in with health screenings and advice on what to do with the results provides staff with information they can act upon while at work, and can also use to benefit their home life, family and friends. Providing staff with something they weren’t expecting from work but which can enhance all aspects of their lives is a brilliant way to engender loyalty.

Add value

In reality, most people don’t go to work to get healthy. They want a job or a career and to earn a salary. Employers who fulfil the basic requirements and then go the extra mile by enabling staff to optimise their health and wellbeing into the bargain are delivering a great incentive that helps both to retain good people and attract top talent. Wellbeing initiatives help organisations to stand out from the competition and send the message that the business cares about its employees, not just as members of staff or cogs in the wheel, but as individuals to be valued and this is a message that can make the difference between engaging staff fully and missing a great opportunity.

The bottom line

Recently there are many more statistics available relating to wellbeing initiatives so whether you’re looking for an increase in productivity of 8.5%, a return on investment of £4 and upwards for every pound you spend in this area, or you’re simply looking to make your office a great place to work, the right wellbeing initiatives will put money in the bank for the business and a smile on the face of your people.
Jeff Archer is director at The Tonic, a health and wellbeing consultancy helping businesses and their staff achieve peak performance
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Jeff Archer


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