How do you foster a heathy workplace in which individuals can thrive, remain committed to their job, and where ‘it’s ok to not be ok’.
Focus speaks to Lucy Critchley, HR Advisor at Health and wellbeing award winners Organix Brands about this pressing issue.
What was it like to be the winner at the Dorset Business Awards?
We were thrilled to win the Dorset Business Award for Wellbeing and to have the recognition that all of our hard work, creativity and perseverance has been seen to impact on the Organix’s team work (and home) lives. Since winning the award we have had the opportunity to talk with companies that want to put together a similar initiative or just want some hints and tips to get started or improve initiatives that they have already started. We have also had the opportunity to learn from and get inspiration from other companies, as we are always working on evolving and improving our own programme year on year.
Tell us why Organix has such an enlightened attitude towards wellbeing in the workplace?
When we originally had the idea of building a wellbeing programme 5 years ago, it was easy to see how this could fit with the already well embedded values and fantastic culture of Organix. Organix is an open-minded entrepreneurial company that has always known the value of a happy, healthy and motivated workforce, a wellbeing programme would just aim to reinforce this even more.
What is your ‘wellbeing agenda’?
With support from our Managers and MD, a small budget and utilising the skills of our people, we put together a plan that covered every area of wellbeing, including mental and physical health, financial advice, working environment and work life balance. The plan runs alongside and the needs of the business and our people, we have taken into account where the pressures are through gathering feedback from the entire Organix team. Our aim is for everything we do to be beneficial to everyone, informative, as well as challenging.
Each year we start with the opportunity for us all to have Health Tests, so we can understand if there are areas of our physical health we may want to focus on; and throughout the year there will be numerous events that cover other areas of Wellbeing, which include Mental Health Awareness Training, Resilience Workshops, After work challenges, such as Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle-boarding and Climbing; all one off events chosen to challenge our people and possibly start up a new hobby, lunchtime yoga, healthy recipe demonstrations and nutrition talks, a day off for an organised volunteering event, Finance and Pension advice, flexible working hours where people could have more flexibility to fit their working life around their home lives.
How important is it to create a working space that promotes vitality?
Our office is open plan, light and bright and designed to enhance our working lives. We have music playing and we are lucky enough to have a beautifully designed garden. We spend a lot of our time at work, so the space should help us to stay motivated and enlivened.
Has your vitality programmes seen any improvement in employee engagement?
Our high engagement scores reflect a cumulative impact of a great culture, working environment and benefits; as well as the wellbeing programme which is designed to enhance our teams working lives and its impact is reflected in the positive feedback we get from the team.
What impact do you think technology has had on our wellbeing at work?
Working lives have greatly changed thanks to the help of technology and we actively encourage people to work from home, to work flexible hours and we encourage a working environment where people work the hours they need to, but balance that with time for a life outside of work.
Do you think that attitudes towards mental health issues in the workplace are changing within our businesses?
Yes, but slowly. We have invested in mental health awareness training for all of your employees, so they can understand their own mental health as well as others around them; and recently 3 of us have been trained as mental health first aiders to be able to support our employees at times they need it the most.
Do you think that it is important to develop vitality with learning in-order to produce a thriving business?
Yes, partly. None of our wellbeing programme is obligatory for people to attend, our focus is always on events and training that will give people the opportunity to increase their knowledge, health and wellbeing by experiencing and learning about new things.
How important is it that our business leaders listen and take action on employee vitality?
We always consult our MD and senior management team when planning for our wellbeing programme and we share the results year on year on the impact of everything we have done. From measuring sickness levels, the correlation between attendance of events to engagement levels within each team, and from direct feedback from everyone in the company. If the business leaders done understand the benefit of a wellbeing programme, they will not be able to cascade their enthusiasm towards the initiative to their team.
The results have spoken for themselves, the feedback has been incredibly positive, with everyone realising what a great benefit the programme has been to them, sickness levels have dropped, engagement levels have risen and the majority of our fitness levels have greatly improved.
Even though we are a small team, Wake Up To Wellbeing demonstrated with a targeted thoughtful plan on a limited budget you can not only significantly impact your people’s health and wellbeing both at work and at home, but their performance and discretionary effort too.
Organix are a team of 50 plus employees based in Bournemouth. They are proud to be the number one baby and toddler snack food brand in the UK. And for 27 years have been pioneers in the baby food industry, providing parents with nutritious ‘no junk’ organic food for their little ones and campaigning for better quality and tasty food for children.
They already had a great working environment, culture and benefits, but a few years ago realised that more could be done to support their team through ever changing work and personal pressures. This was when they launched their Wellbeing initiative ‘Wake up to Wellbeing’.
Lucy has been working at Organix for 5 years following a successful and varied HR career over the last 20 years, working for a variety of business sectors including property and finance. She was delighted to get a role within a company that is so obviously committed to improving peoples working lives and to be given opportunity to make a big impact on this through a fantastic wellbeing programme.