5 Examples Of Workplace Wellbeing Programmes

Wellbeing By Matthew Coombes

There are countless ways that an organisation can improve occupational wellbeing. Wellbeing initiatives aren’t one-size-fits-all, and different organisations and individuals can benefit from different things, but it helps to have an idea of what works for different organisations.

1. ACT

To kick things off, we’re going to talk about ourselves! ACT have implemented new procedures, policies and working hours following the attendance of one of our own NEBOSH Working with Wellbeing training courses. Each of these changes has had a positive impact on occupational wellbeing in the workplace:

Shorter days on Fridays – On Fridays we finish at 4pm. While this might not sound as good as something like the ’80, 100, 100’ system (more on that later), that shorter working day consistently feels like something to look forward to, and each Friday I find that they day flies by.

Get your birthday off – Most of our staff consistently book their birthdays off, so why not just give them the day off and save the paperwork! If your birthday falls on a weekend, you can choose the nearest Friday/Monday, and if you don’t celebrate birthdays, it’s just an extra day of holiday on your leave.

New leave arrangements – The healthcare systems in our area are very busy and many of our staff have been struggling to get important appointments for healthcare, dental care, eyecare (and more) where this previously wasn’t the case. Our previous policy was that these appointments should be booked as a half day through annual leave, and your appointment taken in your leave time. However, this has been updated to a ‘leave request form’ submitted prior to the appointment which details when you will take the time off, how much time you will be taking off and when you expect to work the time back. This allows for extra flexibility with attending healthcare appointments, without using annual leave.

2. ’80, 100, 100’

In Iceland (the country not the shop), researchers took part in a worker trial that was for a four-day working week. What made this trial different is that as opposed to part-time or flexible hours, the trial included;

  • 80% of the time worked
  • 100% of the work required
  • 100% of the pay

The idea is that workers have less time to complete work, making them more efficient, completing 100% of the work required, resulting in 100% of the pay, but in four days rather than five days.

This means that they have more personal time, allowing them to relax, develop outside of the workplace, and achieve things that they will find beneficial to themselves, improving their ‘self-actualisation’.

3. Wellbeing Days

Many companies such as Fibre Marketing have realised the importance of time to recover when experiencing a mental health issue or crisis. Most companies have previously implemented policies that support workers in the event of the death of a significant person in their life, such as a dependant, spouse or colleague.

This is because it is typically better to support a worker while they cannot work due to personal circumstances, than to hang them out to dry and hire someone else.

The same is now being applied to mental health, mental crises and physical health.

A wellbeing day is normally a ‘no-questions-asked’ day off either from your annual leave or in addition to leave, taken at short notice. This allows workers to not come into work when it will be counterproductive to their health or recovery (commonly called Presenteeism).

Wellbeing Days can be a useful perk for staff that have existing or long-term health conditions, or staff experiencing a period of prolonged stress.

4. Employee Assistance Programme

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a programme of support typically offered by an organisation through a third party. This allows employees to contact the service (the EAP) and receive assistance. Typically this includes:

  • Counselling (General and specific)
  • Financial Advice
  • Family advice
  • Domestic situation advice (including domestic violence and homelessness)
  • Health and lifestyle advice
  • Bullying and harassment advice
  • Legal support and legal rights advice

An EAP is a great way to support workers in their personal lives by providing them with access to often costly or difficult to obtain support. For example, counselling costs around £40 per session in our area, and an employee assistance programme can cost the company as little as £6 per person, providing counselling services.

As work is often a barrier to accessing medical and psychological support, a company contributing towards their employee’s wellbeing by providing support can be greatly beneficial to both parties.

5. Flexible working and remote working

The SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic showed us that many organisations thought out the world can operate effectively with the use of remote technologies. While remote working and lone working isn’t for everyone, many employees have benefited greatly with their work, workload, relationships and health from the ability to work remotely.

Therefore, some companies have decided to create new policies and procedures and roll working from home and remote working out to any role that it can be applied to as an option.

This can be great for talent acquisition and talent retention, as staff can commute from further away if it’s less frequent, or not need to commute at all and work from the other side of the country or even world.

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