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9 workplace wellbeing programmes your company should get inspiration from today

By Kani Talabani
5 November 2021

The work environment can be a stressful place at times, but companies have set out to tackle this issue through new and improved workplace wellbeing programmes that are designed to reduce the mental and physical strain on employees in the workplace, especially in light of the ‘new normal’ imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Workplace wellbeing is about the quality of one's working life and making sure that every employee’s mental and physical health are kept in check. 

This year, the CIPD partnered with Simplyhealth and carried out a survey on wellbeing practices in UK workplaces, their aim being to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on employees and how organisations have responded to this change in circumstances. Only 50% of respondents believed that their organisation had a formal wellbeing strategy in place; on the other hand, there has been a rise in the number of organisations that have taken additional measures to support employee health and wellbeing in response to the pandemic. 

So here's a look at our list of top 9 entities with the strongest workplace wellbeing programmes in the South East.

1. Royal Surrey 

NHS Foundation hospital Royal Surrey believes that an important aspect of the trust is providing a friendly and supportive environment that promotes the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of their staff. 

They recently invested in a new Health and Wellbeing strategy for their staff recruitment process and developed services to support colleagues. The programme is dubbed ‘The Wheel of Wellbeing’, and entails a list of all the services they offer NHS staff ranging from sustainable to mental wellbeing. Employees can partake in divisional recycling projects, gardening projects, mindfulness sessions, assistance programmes, and even choirs. 

2. PwC

This professional services network is one of the largest international networks in the world; but with great power comes great responsibility. PwC has a 5-point-plan set in stone so that their employees can “be themselves and feel and perform at their best”. 

The plan includes: steering towards a health-promoting culture, influencing everyday behaviours to help staff perform at their best, making those in charge accountable and committed to staff wellbeing, embedding wellbeing in everyday business practices, and measuring the impact of wellbeing on staff and the overall business. 

3. Hand Picked Hotels

Described as a “unique collection of award-winning country house and spa hotels”, Hand Picked Hotels offers five options for luxury accommodation in the South East. 

Their website states that the chain is committed to their staff and displays a list of all the benefits and rewards that are available for employees. This includes free meals on duty, live-in accommodation, holiday benefits, retail discounts, training, and development schemes and many others. They also boast of their employee platform called The Hive that entails a recognition scheme, discounts at 850 retailers, and links to more employee benefits.  

4. University of Sussex

Staff wellbeing is on the priorities list at the University of Sussex; their website lists a range of tools and resources for staff to help look after their mental, physical and financial wellbeing. 

In 2020, Sharon Neal, Assistant Director of Culture and Inclusion, led the development of the mental health forum (MHF) to improve the quality of mental health support across the university. They assert that they have increased awareness about training for managers on these sensitive topics and launched a new wellbeing and mental health policy. 

5. The Wildlife Trusts

“The natural world is the foundation of our health, wellbeing and prosperity”, according to the Wildlife Trusts. With more than 500,000 people attending wildlife trust events every year, they reiterate that being around a thriving environment full of wildlife ultimately benefits both physical and mental health. 

According to one of the trust’s studies, 95% of those who volunteered at the trust showed much improvement of their mental wellbeing after just six weeks. They explain that daily contact with nature is shown to lead to reduced levels of stress, reductions in obesity and intellectual stimulation. Their Sydlings Copse in Oxfordshire is one of many nature reserves that offers these wellbeing services. 

6. Mill Ride Golf and Country Club

Golf can be a rough sport, and measures have been put in place for members and staff alike. Mill Ride states in their website that they want to ensure that there is a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. 

The club has appointed a welfare officer to oversee training and development for staff, as well as ensuring there are appropriate safeguarding procedures in place for staff and volunteers. 

7. Hyde Housing

This is a group of non-profit organisations that aims to provide good quality accommodation for those with low-income backgrounds. 

They proudly present a staff wellbeing programme made up of five different sub programmes: Livewell, Copewell, Spendwell, Workwell, and Virgin Pulse Global Challenge. Each of these programmes helps support employees with a wide range of health benefits, coping with stress at home or at work, counselling, and handing out flexible benefits. To help improve their programmes efficiency, Hyde Housing regularly asks their staff about their views on the working environment through a survey process. 

8. Dunelm

Being one of the UK’s favourite furnishing retailers, Dunelm has stated that they are committed to the welfare of all their colleagues. 

They list a number of important programmes such as the one empowering female leaders, aiming to help women with high potential to progress to bigger roles with more responsibility. There is also an increase in access to mentors and coaches; their ‘Lead with impact’ programme helps employees develop their skills. All of their stores, including those located in Newport, came together as a community and donated to healthcare workers during the height of the pandemic. 

9. Blumm Group

Specialising in design and project management, Bluum Group believe that they “humanise working environments”, and create fun, sometimes retro, spaces for workplaces with a mundane look. Their list of clientele includes Porsche UK, Tech Giant HQ, Playtech, and others. Bartosz Bergandy and Dan Keith formed the Bluum Group in 2009; take one look at their gallery of previous projects and witness the various workplace transformations they have helped achieve over the years.