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Six tips to improve the wellbeing of your employees

Employee wellbeing has been on the agenda for business leaders and HR functions for a while, but the pandemic has put health centre stage, while the isolation caused by remote working during lockdown has shone a spotlight on mental health issues.

Imogen Tinkler, co founder of foraging and food events brand Bangers and Balls, has found some valuable ways to improve the wellbeing of her team. She shares some of her tips with us.

  1. Make wellbeing a priority

Wellbeing is of critical importance and needs to be a priority for every organisation. In recent months, Imogen has noticed an uptick in interest in the foraging sessions she runs for businesses which support wellbeing.

She explains ‘We run foraging activities for businesses where employees get together to find wild food that they can then use in their own cooking. It helps people get some fresh air, feel good about themselves and then make something that bonds them with their work colleagues. It’s really helped with people around isolation. The more our business has grown, the wellbeing element has become stronger and stronger for us.’

But even more important for Imogen is the wellbeing of her employees. She explains ‘Wellbeing is really important in a small team because you all need to be able to work together. We want to grow as a business, so supporting wellbeing is something we want to get right now.’

 

  1. Cultivate an open and transparent culture

One of the most important aspects of supporting employee wellbeing is ensuring employees feel able to let others know they are having issues. Having honest, open lines of communication could help prevent problems growing more serious and create a supportive culture.

Imogen comments ‘We want to make sure everybody understands that wellbeing is a key priority.  At the centre of this is making sure that we are open and transparent in the workplace and people never feel they cannot share things with us.’

‘At Bangers and Balls the team are all still working remotely. We have a check-in at the end of each week where people score from one to ten how they are feeling. We can see if issues such as workload or things happening outside work are impacting them. My team have been very frank and open.’

 

  1. Encourage time away from the desk

If you’re working in a small business, it can be hard work. Imogen believes it’s important to take time out, something that’s not only important for wellbeing, but for productivity too. It’s even better if this time out involves going outside.

Imogen comments ‘When you’re working from home, it can be really easy to sit there and keep going, especially if you are worried that your colleagues might think you’re not working.  But we actively encourage people to take an extra half hour as part of their lunch hour to make sure they go out and get some fresh air. It makes people more productive when they get away from their desks.’

‘I live by the sea and going for a swim is really important to me. I make sure I block that time out as I would do for a meeting.’

 

  1. Offer mental health days

All of us have bad days every now and then when we are not fully focused on work, perhaps when we are feeling worried about something. The Bangers and Balls team are experimenting with ‘mental health days’.

Imogen explains ‘I think everyone at some stage has probably pretended they’ve been sick to get off work, when actually they just can’t function or focus. We’re trialling a scheme where everybody gets two mental health days per year. They don’t need to say why they’re not coming in. We’ve had really good feedback about it from the team.’

 

  1. Socialise together

Just as Bangers and Balls encourages customers to socialise on their foraging events, employees also get together. This social contact can be very important in helping reduce loneliness, especially when everybody is still working remotely.

Imogen comments ‘We have lunch together once a month. Currently we do this virtually, and all make a meal at the same time together on Zoom. We have a bit of a laugh!

It can be very easy to be so busy that you don’t get time to know people properly. When you make the effort, your employees feel valued, and that’s important for morale.’

 

  1. Recognise different working styles

Everybody is different and has preferred ways of working, for example starting at different times. Allowing employees some flexibility to work in the way that is best for them and trusting them to get their work done could support wellbeing.

Imogen exclaims ‘We’re not Dolly Parton – we don’t need to do nine to five! We all work in quite different environments and at different times, something that is perhaps easier as we’re all still working virtually. We’re quite flexible as long as people get their work done. I think you’re able to do that more in a smaller company because you know exactly what the outputs are.’

In order to support different working styles, it’s essential to have the right technology and level of connectivity to be able to work from anywhere and communicate and collaborate effectively.

 

Discover more about Bangers and Balls through their website.

 

Please note that O2 do not necessarily recommend or endorse any of the comments or sources mentioned in this article.



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