Health and wellbeing at work: How do you get it right?

With some top firms currently under fire for controversial health and wellbeing policies, how can you get it right?

Employ­ee health and well­be­ing has nev­er been more impor­tant. Proven to reduce absen­teeism, increase pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and low­er staff turnover, HR depart­ments have been adopt­ing work­place well­be­ing poli­cies in spades.

But not every one of them has been well received.

First, we heard about Google, Apple and Face­book offer­ing to freeze female employee’s eggs to help them work through their twen­ties instead of being dis­tract­ed by moth­er­hood. This con­tro­ver­sial perk” was heav­i­ly crit­i­cized for send­ing out the mes­sage that work is more impor­tant than family.

Next, top UK law firm, Kirk­land and Ellis came under fire for their concierge ser­vice”. The pol­i­cy was designed to pro­vide a vir­tu­al PA to staff that could run per­son­al errands, such as buy­ing birth­day gifts or dry clean­ing suits, but end­ed up spark­ing ques­tions over work/​life balance.

So, how can we get it right? For us, it isn’t a case of just tick­ing box­es. Health, well­be­ing and vital­i­ty are the cor­ner­stones of our busi­ness and, over the years, we’ve adopt­ed sev­er­al poli­cies that sup­port our staff, in and out­side of work.

Most of them are sim­ple and don’t cost us a thing. For instance, we have a no lunch at desks” pol­i­cy. We run reg­u­lar, health-focused chal­lenges to get every­one mov­ing, such as re:cycle and step-up. And, we’ve intro­duced flexi-time to help our staff jug­gle their busy fam­i­ly lives with work commitments.

As we’re cur­rent­ly work­ing on a low sug­ar ini­tia­tive for one of our clients, we’re also tak­ing part in Sug­ar Smart Sep­tem­ber – pro­vid­ing staff with healthy snacks and water bot­tles to help them cut out sweet treats. The truth is, if you want to sup­port employ­ee health and well­be­ing, it’s about pro­vid­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties that ben­e­fit the indi­vid­ual and their life as a whole – the par­ent, the part­ner, the friend, the fam­i­ly mem­ber – not just the worker.