How to create an effective wellbeing strategy

By Emma Churchill

How to create an effective wellbeing strategy

By Emma Churchill

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England reported that in 2020, 1 in 4 people were experiencing poor mental health.  Whilst the conversation around mental wellbeing is certainly picking up pace, it is still viewed as a bit of a taboo topic. COVID has, without doubt, had a huge impact on our mental wellbeing; with anxiety, loneliness as well as other underlying conditions coming to the fore. 

Many companies are beginning to recognise that there is a need to take better care of their staff. In combination with some really scary statistics plus many organisations seeing either a shift in their workforce with “The Great Resignation” or simply struggling to recruit the right talent, there has never been a more relevant time for them to consider their wellbeing strategy.  As people either look to join a new organisation or reflect on whether it is right for them to stay, it is important for an organisation to demonstrate they are taking care of their teams.  In its simplest of terms, if you have a happy workforce which feels valued, they will be more productive.  In our latest blog we want to explore what we mean by a wellbeing strategy, what the core pillars maybe and of course how we as a yoga and Pilates business can support in achieving this. 

What is a wellbeing strategy? 

A wellbeing strategy aims to improve the wellbeing of a workforce, making the organisation a happier place to work.  The wellbeing strategy can be delivered in a number of ways and can include a range of benefits such as gym memberships, access to therapy, lunchtime yoga or Pilates classes, health insurance, discounted financial products and a wide range of benefits such as subscriptions, discounted meals or days out vouchers, etc.  It is more than just a list of benefits for employees to enjoy but works towards a wider goal of supporting the workforce. 

How do we start to implement one? 

It can be hard to know where to start with your wellbeing strategy if you are starting from scratch, perhaps a slightly easier task if you already have one but perhaps need to refresh and update.  Let’s start from the beginning. 

1. Define the objectives of your wellbeing strategy

Before you make a start on building your strategy it is key to understand what you are trying to achieve by putting one in place.  Objectives of a wellbeing strategy may include reducing absenteeism, reducing employee stress and supporting an improvement in performance.  Whatever is ultimately decided all of the benefits should work together in a coordinated fashion and have the buy in of everyone in the business from the top down, for them to be successful. 

2. Understand what your employees want

Whilst many senior leaders may have a fair idea as to what should be included in a wellbeing strategy, it is really important to also engage with your teams to ask them.  Not only will this help an organisation to craft a plan but create a plan which will answer the most pressing of challenges from the teams themselves. Depending upon the size of the organisation you could ask a questionnaire, run brainstorming sessions or a combination of both to capture all viewpoints and perspectives.

3. Monitor success

One of the key things with any strategy or new approach is to ensure that you put measures in place to understand if something is working, or not.  There are many ways in which you can do this, a good place to start would be to set up quarterly questionnaires to check in on how people are feeling; assess uptake of any courses which are run and run brainstorm sessions for your teams to offer more detailed feedback. 

However you choose to progress, it is important to ensure that you have buy in at all levels within the organisation and that everyone is given an equal chance to have access to the support that they may need. 

What should we include in a wellbeing strategy? 

It can be hard to know what to include in a wellbeing strategy and every business will be different in what they need and what works for them.  Below, we share some key areas that it would be good to consider. 

  1. Emotional wellbeing.  We all know that the pandemic has impacted the wellbeing of many and it is important for organisations to put in place measures to help their teams.  When our emotional wellbeing is in good shape it means that we can think more clearly, make better decisions, react better under pressure and know when to ask for help. Taking care of the emotional wellbeing of our teams could include putting an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) into place, plus offering other support either through line managers or counselling directly. 
  2. Social wellbeing is closely linked to our mental wellbeing and is that feeling of being included in our team.  As an employer it is important to create that sense of community amongst your teams, one way to do this is through team away or planning days.  We have run various Pilates or yoga sessions for clients, which have been a welcome part of the day and we have received some great feedback from those who have attended. 
  3. Financial wellbeing is one of the areas which can cause most stress amongst our teams.  By providing support to those who maybe struggling and access to advice as to how to manage any worries will be really important. 
  4. Physical wellbeing.  We all know that movement can really help to support our mental wellbeing and this is obviously a key way that we can help our corporate clients to offer something slightly different to their teams.  We have run a number of different sessions for different clients from offering lunchtime or after work movement sessions or break out sessions during an away day. You may want to also consider those staff members that are working from home  and encourage them to have a good, safe working environment with a proper seat and desk as they would have in an office. Also ensuring that they take beaks and avoid back to back meetings. 

In Conclusion 

If you are an organisation, looking for a slightly different way to support your team’s wellbeing, why not try a lunchtime or after work Pilates or Yoga session.  There are many benefits to these forms of exercise, in particular in helping to manage stress.  Our Pilates or yoga sessions will help your teams to relax, switch off after a busy day, recharge, helping them to manage the demands and pressures on their time.  Check out our website to learn a little more about us and the benefit to both Yoga and Pilates.

Of course if you would like to explore how this might work for your organisation please get in touch.

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