Wellness in the Workplace:
Why it's important, how to care for your staff & 5 of the Best UK Companies to Work for
Our list of UK companies paving the way for wellness in the workplace
Table of Contents
I remember at university, as a cohort we were constantly challenged by one particular lecturer – brilliant, analytical, rebellious, game-changing. He helped to shape a lot of the ways I think about things.
Constantly deconstructing those subconscious beliefs that settle in your stomach a bit like fallen snow – but need to be questioned, challenged, uprooted and examined in the daylight to see what they’re really made of.
He once asked us – sleepy on a Monday morning, bleary-eyed and sipping lukewarm coffee from multicoloured flasks – what does this phrase work/life balance really mean? Should your life really be divided into these two counterparts – as if a job consumes half, and the other half is every-thing else? Could a job not be a-part of your overall life, rather than a separate entity in constant friction with it? Is actually living so unimportant that it becomes the second digit in a ratio to this productivity-obsessed word work?
Why is Wellness in the Workplace Important?
There is a lot of talk about wellness in the workplace at the moment. Companies are beginning to realise that happy, contented employees are vital to the growth of any business. (And aside from the growth of the business – ethical employers will want their employees to be fulfilled because they care about them as people, not as productivity machines).
When we feel physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually supported by our jobs – we probably feel more motivated, have more energy to be creative rather than slogging through exhaustedly, and generally enjoy the work that we do. Jobs are beginning to be viewed holistically. In essence, how can our jobs slot into our overall lifestyle, rather than having to drastically change aspects of ourselves, or life, to accommodate a job?
How Do Happy Employees Impact Business?
- When you really get to know your staff, you will discover their interests and hobbies. When these are nurtured, there could be a whole wealth of skills and talent that can benefit your business. Does someone have a secret love for painting that could be transferred to design skills? Could someone’s passion for baking spark a fortnightly bake-off for staff morale?
- If employees are happy and content, morale will be high. This makes work more enjoyable for everyone
- When staff feel good, and are supported, their productivity & performance will (probably!) increase
- If employees love where they work, and are passionate about that they do – this will spread. Enthusiasm will naturally seep into how they chat to people about their company, and have a direct impact on customers. If a customer can tell someone loves where they work (and are supported and nourished) – they’ll probably be more inclined to like it too. This will boost sales, engagement, and brand recognition.
How Can I Support My Employees with their Wellbeing?
- Really get to know each individual employee. Make regular time to check in with how they are doing at work and how they could be supported. If they are comfortable with it, ask them about their interests, hobbies and goals. Is there a learning opportunity you could help them with? A course you could sign them up to? A free taster session somewhere they could try?
- Create a spacious, bright working environment with plenty of nature. Incorporating plants into the office can be a great way to do this (more on this in our biophilia design blog). You could encourage daily walks outside, or provide free/discounted outdoor activity for staff. Nature is proven to boost concentration, productivity, and support wellbeing
- Financial help – professional advice, pension plans, early access to monthly salary if needed etc
- Flexible working, remote working, and extra support for parents. This could include paid leave, mental health support, and the day off to attend important events such as the first day of school or school play
- Inclusive staff parties. A range of activities so that everyone feels represented and seen – not everyone will love a booze-up at the pub. Ideas could include pottery making, escape rooms or a quiet dinner
- Discounts for gyms or classes, team sports and access to free & healthy food
- Mental health support – first-aid training, counselling services, daily mindfulness etc
- Diversity & Inclusion – tackling systematic prejudice against marginalised groups and efforts to create a more inclusive workplace (for instance, where do you advertise your jobs? Is there a way you could advertise that would appeal to someone usually not seen in your recruitment process? Could the application process be more accessible? What adjustments could be made for a wheel-chair user, or a disabled person with ME or chronic fatigue syndrome, for instance?)
What are the 5 Best UK Companies for Wellness at Work?
Who are they| A charity helping young people aged 11-30 reach their potential
What do they do for their staff| The Princes Trust offer a variety of supportive measures for their staff, including: flexible working patterns; a flexible family-friendly policy (helping working parents to progress in their careers whilst parenting too – they can exist simultaneously); financial wellbeing support, volunteering opportunities, places at events like the Prince’s Trust Awards, cycle to work schemes and more.
Best Bit| ‘A Culture of Kindness’ where colleagues feel supported and motivated to achieve their shared goal: helping young people to flourish
Find out more here:
Who are they| A vegan frozen meal delivery service dedicated to helping people get their 5 (or 7!) a day
What do they do for their staff| Allplants call themselves a ‘family’, spanning 30 nationalities and across 2 offices (superbly named ‘The Veg Patch’ & ‘The Greenhouse’. They offer their staff: birthdays off, mental health support, annual learning allowance, career development opportunities and more. They recognise their responsibility to equalise the employment playing field & create a varied and inclusive team – facilitated through their annual Diversity & Inclusion ‘health check’, and more.
Best Bit| Free breakfast, lunch, snacks & monthly delivery of Allplants grub (yes please!)
Find out more here:
Who are they| The delicious, super-cool Indian restaurant franchise taking the UK by storm
What do they do for their staff| Dishoom have one of the best Careers sections I have seen. They split their perspective on wellbeing into financial (generous pay, shared tips, access to 50% of salary before payday); mental (mental health first aid training for Babus/managers, confidential advice 24-hour helpline available every day of the year); physical (there is a Dishoom Premier League and other sporty shindigs, discounted memberships, classes & yoga sessions).
The Dishoom Learning Library encourages staff to develop their skills in either Babu Masterclass or Kitchen Academy. If you have worked for Dishoom for over two years, you and a loved one are invited to join the gang for a celebration. There are fabulous summer & Christmas parties (as well as fortnightly meetups), half-price cinema tickets, discounts & savings on holidays and clothing retailers, a day-off to take your child to their first day of school and SO. VERY. MUCH. MORE.
Best Bit| Bombay Bootcamp! If you have been a member of the team for five years, or are promoted to Manager or Head Chef, you are whisked away to Bombay for 5 days for a scintillating journey around the city. You’ll learn all about the food, heritage, culture: the experience of a lifetime. How amazing is that!
Find out more here:
Bird & Blend Tea Co.
Who are they| A quirky, sumptuous tea company creating wild and wonderful teas
What do they do for their staff| Their TEAm or CommuniTEA(B&B love a good pun – we’re on board with that) receive: training & development opportunities to help employees follow their curiosity and fulfil their goals; free mental health help; a monthly tea allowance (& 50% off all teas), paid days for you to volunteer with a charity you care about, and more.
Best Bit| Dogs are allowed to come to work too!
Find out more here:
Our local gem!
Who are they| Yum, organic food & snacks for little ones (from 6 months to 6 years)
What do they do for their staff| Organix believe that ‘happy people do the best work’. To ensure their employees are feeling their best selves, perks include: mental health support, training & awareness; free financial support from qualified professionals if needed; monthly massages, veggie boxes and team sports to enhance physical health; an airy and bright office with a communal garden where meetings are often held (and people can sit in the sunny spot during lunch); recognition for hard-work and personal & team achievements, and so much more.
Best Bit| The passion and enthusiasm for their staff & their individual interests. Training & coaching helps staff to develop and grow, whilst staff are allowed to try out whatever activity tickles their fancy (such as rock-climbing or playing the cello!)
Find out more here:
Because we had to include our lovely team too!
Here at Old Green, our small (but mighty) team of women are empowered to work flexibly on days that suit us and are encouraged to pursue our curiosities and interests. Founder Tori believes that a different way of working is possible – and hopes to create adaptable, fulfilling work for people who otherwise may be barred from meaningful occupations (such as mothers). We get to work in the magickal OG studio (which feels like Hogwarts and smells delicious from all of the essential-oil blending… the free aromatherapy is very good for the soul), with endless hot drinks, snacks, funky music and even a selection of eclectic books lining the shelves that we can borrow.
Fancy joining us? Take a look at our current job opportunites here: