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The importance of wellbeing at work

By Alyssa Jaffer | Senior manager

AgencyUK

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June 17, 2022 | 7 min read

When the pandemic first swept across the UK in 2020, many businesses and organizations were quick to support employee health and wellbeing in the short term. Alyssa Jaffer, senior manager at AgencyUK, believes the strongest path to sustainable wellbeing is paved over time, with a variety of initiatives, bespoke resources and supportive spaces for creating inclusive and healthy workplaces.

Despite the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic on working professionals – such as staff absences, long Covid and work-related stress – senior leaders across UK businesses are less focused on employee health and wellbeing compared to last year, according to the CIPD’s new survey research.

AgencyUK on the successful in-house initiatives inspiring growth and wellbeing work.

AgencyUK on the successful in-house initiatives inspiring growth and wellbeing at work

In its latest Health and Wellbeing at Work 2022 report, the CIPD found: “There is less management focus on health and wellbeing compared with the first year of the pandemic.

“Our evidence points to a small but disappointing slip in attention to employees’ mental and physical health. Seven in 10 (70%) of HR respondents agree that employee wellbeing is on senior leaders’ agendas (down from 75% last year), and 60% believe that line managers have bought into the importance of wellbeing (down from 67% last year).”

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The research also found that although most organizations are providing mental health support to their workforce in some form, there is less initiative to reduce stress compared to the early pandemic: “We have seen a small dip in activity to address workplace stress compared with last year and fewer organizations are taking action to increase awareness of mental health issues or to identify mental ill-health among staff who work remotely.”

“Two-thirds (66%) of respondents are extremely or moderately concerned about the impact of the pandemic on employees’ mental health, down from 82% last year,” according to the report.

Particularly in light of these findings, there is a continued need for organizations to support their employees’ mental and physical wellbeing throughout the pandemic and well into the future. Workplaces that promote wellness and a healthy approach to work can differentiate themselves in order to attract and retain top talent, keep productivity levels steady and sustainably maintain a healthy workforce.

At AgencyUK, we’re well on our journey to doing just that – here’s how.

Personal connection through Agency for All

This year, we’ve launched Agency for All, a transformative systemic learning and coaching program for our staff that allows our team members to dive deep into exploring who they are as individuals, not just as professionals.

Victoria Coxen, master practitioner in systemic team coaching and facilitator of Agency for All, said: “Wellbeing is often referred to, considered and reported on as a discrete consideration, when in reality it is an integral part of every aspect of life.

“Companies that have closely aligned external brand and internal employee values tend to outperform companies with unclear or less well-aligned values. A happy aligned team has a direct relationship with a healthy business and enhanced stakeholder satisfaction,” she said.

As a purpose-driven program, Agency for All blends group coaching, psychotherapy, personal development and hands-on experience.

“AFA aims to create a wellness brand inside and outside AUK by bringing depth to accelerate learning and a way of being that co-creates measurable value for everyone in the AUK system: individuals, interpersonal relationships, team relationships, the AUK business, clients and the wider community,” said Coxen.

“This measurable value is both enterprise and wellbeing value.”

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Reconnecting with our environment

Recently, we’ve brought bees back to Beehive Yard, a lovely nook of Bath where our office is located. In partnership with Knights Beekeeping, we’re proactively creating a thriving environment for pollinators, with two hives of honeybees beside the riverbank in our urban vicinity. Metro mayor Dan Norris at West of England Combined Authority helped us welcome our bees and has just launched the Bee Bold Awards to recognize bee-friendly businesses in the area.

Our co-founder Amy Stobie said: “I am very proud to have re-introduced bees to Beehive Yard. My hope is that it will bring the communities together with a shared interest and the bees will act as a catalyst for more positive pollinator improvements within the city. I hope that the other businesses will see how you actually need very little land to make a positive difference.”

We’re also training our staff on beekeeping and we’ve partnered with Wild Walcot for community garden tending.

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Continuous learning and development

We’re providing different opportunities for our team to learn about topics outside of their business area. This year, we’ve hosted a talk on nutrition by registered dietician Laura Clark and educated our team on breast and prostate cancer. We’re always looking for creative ways we can share knowledge with our staff.

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Why it’s important

We’re a mission-led organization. Our aim at AgencyUK is to build a true wellness brand, inside and out, and connect the internal and external aspects of our agency. It’s a mission that forms the basis for all our decisions, and it can only come alive when our team tells us how they feel at work.

We’re proud to report that our AUK team is highly engaged and finds meaning and purpose in our workplace. In our May staff survey, we asked our staff to rank whether they agree on a scale of five. We scored 4.72 for the statements: “I am proud to work for AUK” and “I would recommend AUK as a great place to work.”

Here are our favorite pieces of anonymous feedback from our team: “You care about us, our health and wellbeing and offer us regular opportunities to team-build, personally grow our skillset and move toward a healthier lifestyle, and [it is] just an amazing atmosphere to work in.”

“We are now very socially and environmentally conscious, which makes it a great place to work morally.”

“Allowing continuous innovation and variety in our work. Team-building activities for both internal and external is also a key aspect that AUK does really well.”

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