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.