Whyfield have always been a huge ambassador of the proactive approach, not just in our business model but in a big way around the people who work for the firm and in recognising the importance of staff well-being and creating a positive environment which promotes staff productivity.
Laura Whyte, MD of Whyfield took on the task of developing staff health and well-being within the business from the very beginning and signed Whyfield up for the Healthy Workplace award at the end of 2018.
Laura felt health and well-being in the workplace was an area often glanced over within businesses and wanted to make Whyfield different. The first challenge was to recognise that the role of looking after Whyfield employees needed more than a few squeezed in minutes here and there that the directors could find in their day, it needed focus, planning and someone with a passion to drive the culture within the firm.
The decision was made to promote internally and appoint a health & well-being coordinator. I was successful in the interview process and now spend around 4-5 hours a week concentrating on the internal wellness of the team. This time is within my working week so no long hours and instead I’ve reduced my chargeable accountancy time and I love the variety my job is providing.
Whyfield have been sharing snippets of their health & well-being journey for a little while now but thought it was about time to put pen to paper (something accountants aren’t great at) and fill everyone in on exactly what’s been going on in our workplace.
So what makes a workplace great? For us, it is creating an environment where employees feel safe. We don’t mean safe in the traditional health & safety meaning (although obviously important) but a safe place where people can be themselves and are empowered, encouraged and enabled to be the best they can be within their role.
In order to show our team that we genuinely have their best interests at heart, we’ve implemented several new initiatives over the past 12 months and we’ve summarised these below along with the impact this has had not only on the staff but to the business as a whole:
Healthy workplaces Cornwall. These guys have been incredible with workshops, guidance and support to implement new things into the office. Some of the sessions we have put on for staff though this scheme are: Body composite readings, Fitness sessions, Postural analysis & Healthy eating workshops.
Weekly Fruit boxes – Fresh produce delivered by Cornish Foodbox, allowing staff to make healthy choices when the 3pm lull kicks in.
Exercise bike with a desk, giving staff flexibility to also work from their desk whilst exercising.
Wider selection of fruit, herbal & decaff teas and coffees in the office kitchen and a smoothie machine.
Private health insurance with an incentive & rewards scheme for keeping active. Rewards include cinema tickets, free coffee and discounts on spas and flight.
Eye test vouchers and money off glasses
‘When in need’ Rescue box – containing various remedies for common illnesses, deodorant, etc
Puzzle books and magazines in the kitchen
Revamp of the kitchen to make it a more enjoyable place to relax and unwind, with additional seating & shelving to allow people to use equipment and bring in things from home.
A monthly themed buffet lunch where every member of the team brings in one item and we have lunch together.
Walking routes outside the office and encouragement to get out the office for a walk each day.
In house team building days
Mental health first aid training for every staff member.
Changed working hours to avoid rush hour and make the commute a little easier.
Duvet day – this is a once a year ‘get out jail free’ card where you can take an additional paid day off without notice.
We are also signed up for the Healthy workplace awards which we are working towards and waiting to be assessed at the end of the year. This award will be a reflection and recognition of the changes we have made.
Our latest project was wellness week based around World Mental health day, where we put together different activities including natural oils workshop, walk-a-mile-Wednesday, workplace massage and loads more to encourage the team to place a real focus on their mental & physical heath for the week.
The feedback from the team on the above has been incredible, everyone has been responsive to the changes and fully on board with the vision we have here. They feel valued, respected and as a result productivity is through the roof! The business is growing day by day and working in such a supported environment has meant this growth has been managed with less stress and pressure which can only be a good thing.
I plan on writing regular updates about our Health & Well-being journey but please get in touch if you want to pick my brains. I have been talking to international companies and consulting with local businesses on what we have implemented here and Whyfield are fully supportive of me spreading the word on workplace well-being.
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