How many hours do you work in the average week?
Now, what’s your weekly spend on self-care and well-being?
The average UK worker works over 37 hours per week but can shoot far higher for many of us. That could be over 50% of your waking hours Monday to Friday.
So how is it that companies still spend so little on taking care of their workforce? The global workplace wellness market is worth just 1% of the $4.2 trillion total global wellness economy (GWI’s Wellness Economy Report, Oct 2018).
However, workplace wellness spend is growing.
The GWI predicts Workplace Wellness industry to grow at 6.7% from 2017-22. That makes sense; the business case is clear. Recent research by SOMA Analytics into the FTSE 100, for example, has again shown a strong relationship between wellbeing and corporate performance.
As more and more companies embrace wellbeing at work, those that don’t will be left behind – survival of the fittest.
Just as we did for Mental Health Day, it’s time to make some noise about overall workplace wellbeing. Let’s shine a light on how some companies are leading the way:
As you might expect from a leading advertising agency network, M&C Saatchi take a proactive approach to well-being at work.
“You are at your best when you feel your best – we recognise that”, explains Becca-Jane Schofield (Social Media Manager, M&C Saatchi).
Research by NABS and Mind found 63% of UK staff in advertising and media have considered leaving the industry at some point due to work negatively impacting their wellbeing. 36% of respondents also said their mental health has been either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ over the past 12 months.
Becca-Jane continues, “we know a healthier and happier team makes for better work and will attract top talent to work here”. As an example, Wellbeing Network ‘Together’ was launched on World Mental Health Day to support company-wide physical and mental health. The events, talks and workshops held exemplified the range of activities offered to staff, most of which are organised ‘employee-up’ with the backing of senior leadership and HR.
Even bigger ambitions lay ahead.
Dedicated well-being rooms and ‘happy hours’ to allow employees the space and time for well-being ae in the pipeline. Becca-Jane adds, “The launch has been a massive success and proven people do want to talk about it”.
Mass media and information company Thomson Reuters have over 45,000 employees globally. They solve complex problems, fast. Senior leadership genuinely back efforts to help the team beat stress and stay healthy.
As Geoffrey Williams (Director Global Head Diversity & Inclusion) explained to me: “Our approach is all about inclusion. We respect the need for work-life balance and back it up with action”.
Thomson show respect with balloons. Yes, balloons. So what do they have to do with respect?
Geoffrey explains, “Balloons were how we all shared our appreciation for one another as part of Thomson’s ‘Global Appreciation Day’”. Well-being at work is as much mental as it is physical. Geoffrey goes on: “each balloon had a message of gratitude from one person to another. Simple things like ‘I appreciate sharing lunch with you’ were enough to spark an amazing feeling in the office, long after the balloons fell to the ground”.
Beyond a ‘thank you’ held up in helium, Thomson Reuters also offer more conventional benefits like flexi-working. But they take an unconventional approach to talking about it and actually making it happen. “Our networks are active and really drive change”, explains Geoffrey.
Thomson Reuters’ senior leadership clearly believe in well-being. That has been both the source of innovative ideas and, ultimately, the success of those ideas.
The Strategic design company Designit deliver creative and futurist work, yet a traditional approach is how the team comes together.
As Mikael Nilsson, Global Head of People, explains: “we believe a healthy team is a productive one – we achieve this by promoting physical activities but also eating healthily together”. The latter is truly at the heart of Designit’s culture, something that manifests itself in different ways across 14 offices around the world: “In several offices we have an inhouse chef, providing nutritious food to feed some of the brightest brains around and in others we’ve partnered with external suppliers who understands the important connection between eating and well-being.”, Mikael explains.
Designit also places great value on the time spent eating together, which has always been a core part of building, maintaining and developing their workplace culture. “To our delight, our intuition around the importance of braking bread with your colleagues and its impact on the collaboration of our teams was confirmed by recent research carried out at Cornell University”.
The research Mikael mentions (Brian Wansink et al, 2015) “showed a significant positive association between commensality and work-group performance”. It should act as an interesting piece of inspiration for any organisation looking to enhance team performance, just as Designit has been doing for many years.
Part of the ongoing analysis of Designit’s performance also focuses on the well-being of every single employee. “We have found a correlation between team well-being and key performance metrics for our company, and that is difficult not to pay attention to. Designit isn’t the only company to see similar patterns, so I’m surprised more companies don’t place enough value on this information and use it to evaluate themselves and business leaders. To us well-being is the road to success”.
“Our Team Members’ wellbeing is critical to the success of our business, and our mission to be the most hospitable company in the world starts with them” explained Ben Bengougam, Senior Vice President HR, EMEA at Hilton.
Hilton hotels operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some of the team are on their feet all day, some have manual jobs, whilst others are primarily desk-based.
Hilton’s Thrive@Hilton wellbeing programme reflects all of that. Ben explains “It underpins all of our Team Member programmes and initiatives”. Whether it’s help with financial planning, an early finish to get to a regular language lesson, talks with inspirational speakers, or something altogether different, individuals feel empowered to create a programme that works for them.
Part of Thrive@Hilton is the company-wide ‘Give a Dream, Live a Dream’ programme, in which Team Members to take a month-long paid sabbatical volunteering to enrich the lives of others or pursue personal goals. It has been hugely successful.
As Ben explains, “We know that young people in particular expect more from their employer than a pay cheque. The idea of the Thrive Sabbatical is to give Team Members the chance to recharge and invest their time in what means the most to them – and come back to work feeling rejuvenated.” Check out this video for great insight into workplace wellness at Hilton.
Speaking on business results, Ben says “After the first year of embedding Thrive@Hilton into our business, the impact has been clear; satisfaction scores have improved significantly and Great Place to Work recently recognised Hilton as the world’s second best workplace globally, up seven places since 2017”.
A healthy workforce is a happy and productive one.
Companies that embrace wellness and use it as a competitive edge will thrive. Those that do not may struggle to survive…
If you would like to talk about wellbeing for your workplace then please get in touch.
Chris is the founder of Innerfit, a fitness-centered wellness provider with the belief everybody has the right to a unique relationship with fitness which works.