June 30th, 2016

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Wellness has had just as much, if not more exposure, than sustainability as a business trend not to be taken lightly in 2015. This, as well as the changes to the ERA act coming into effect this year, mean managers need to be more focused than ever on the health and wellbeing of their employees.

Focusing on wellness is a win win for everyone, not just the employee – we have seen a handful of businesses with some pretty unhealthy people and the consequent negative effect that a high sick rate can have on productivity as well as the bottom line.

Wellness can be an ongoing challenge, especially if a business wants to promote wellness but not all staff are as keen to participate. There are a whole raft of different wellness concepts, programmes and businesses to choose from, the trick is to find one that is relevant and motivating for your staff to want to take part in. In the meantime work-life balance has overtaken salary as the number one thing New Zealand professionals look for in a job. While this is really encouraging for businesses looking to make a genuine difference in their employees’ well being, it’s important to remember that this looks different for every employee, so it’s something that can’t easily be “standardised” or put into policy.

We recently revisited our benefits policy with a big brainstorm around all of the different benefits that our team value. We tried to narrow it down by asking ‘if you could pick your top 3 benefits, what they would be’. But what we found was there was no real pattern, other than they wanted flexibility and to pick and mix. So, what we landed on was what we called a ‘work-well benefit’ which includes $1,000 to go towards anything that is work, wellness or lifestyle related. Whatever it is, it is a per person, pro rata, claim on receipt arrangement. Our team are using the benefit for all sorts of products and services – some team members are using it to pay for a fortnightly cleaner to help lighten the load with a busy family for example. We also provide our team with a ‘duvet day’ every year which they may choose to use for additional leave, to have their birthday off, or to simply have a rest day (as long as clients needs are met).

Holding a session to find out more about what makes your team tick and ultimately what they would be interested in getting out of a wellness initiative is a great place to start, whether it’s starting a work soccer team or yoga class, getting fruit delivered, creating relax zones in the office or taking part in cohesive programmes like 70 day game. Businesses with an open culture and high staff engagement levels are likely to find the right match easier than others given their understanding of their employees’ values, but informing your ideas with outside sources such as this and this is a good place to start for any business.

How does your workplace address wellbeing? Let us know about what works at your organisation in the comments below.

 


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