Workplace Wellbeing – Where to Start?

21 June, 2016

With 25 years of experience in wellbeing it’s clear that there are many ways to start a wellbeing programme. With many companies having wellbeing programmes; the dilemma of starting with a series of events or a more strategic approach has never been more relevant. And often the person who has been asked to manage the programme has little knowledge or experience of where to start. Phil Olding from New Leaf Health discusses the pros and cons of each approach.

#1 Starting with Wellbeing Events

The advantages of launching your wellbeing programme with an event are that if you choose an appropriate type of wellbeing activity; you will put out a very clear message that your organisation is interested in the wellbeing of their staff. The content of the first wellbeing event and the way its communicated is very important and will determine how the programme is perceived. For example, if you provide a multi-topic event including stress, nutrition, physical activity and massage it tells the staff that wellbeing is inclusive and looks at physical, social and mental health.

A wellbeing event can provide the perfect opportunity to gather information about the health and wellbeing status of your employees and their suggestions for future wellbeing activities. The disadvantages of a one off event is that it can be seen as a tick in the box exercise and some what tokenistic. It also creates a situation where you are always looking for new, bigger and better ideas. In short without a more strategic approach it will be more challenging to develop a sustainable wellbeing culture.


#2 Starting with a Wellbeing Strategy

Often wellbeing managers take a more strategic approach. This can be due to having existing strategies and policies that need developing or they are commencing a large structured on-going wellbeing programme. The benefits of this approach are that they require significant investment in the political framework, leadership structures and can be linked to the business plan. A good strategy will encompass the principles of wellbeing by being based on need, equitable and evidence based. The steps of developing a strategy are well documented and if done correctly will produce a plan that will develop the leadership, culture and communication of wellbeing.

The challenges of this approach are that the wellbeing lead needs to be confident and have the status to be able to influence senior management, this involves a lot of ‘making the case’ time and effectively demonstrating how their approach will help meet the business aims.

To find out how we can support your wellbeing programme please contact me

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