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wellness in the workplace

25 March 2019

The cost of an unhealthy workforce to the UK taxpayer has been estimated at over £60 billion per year (Public Health England).

Given that we spend around a third of our waking hours in work our workplaces are significant spaces for improving wellbeing, so how do companies demonstrate their commitment to wellness in the workplace and promote physical activity and healthy eating?

Devin Consulting has doubled in staff numbers over the last 4 years and is serious about supporting the growing team and helping them make good choices. 

Wellness encompasses both physical and mental needs and much has been written recently to promote the importance of looking after our mental health and removing stigma associated with it, and there are some simple things that can be done in the workplace to help.  Devin has adopted flexi time around some core office hours, this gives staff a little extra time to go to the gym before work, or even just have a bit of a lie-in if they need it.  The important thing is the choice it gives to the team; it shows that the company values their time and recognises that there are commitments outside of work.  Devin’s new talent mapping scheme encourages dialogue and allows for more regular ‘touch points’ throughout the year rather than waiting for yearly appraisals.  It means that any potential issues can be identified and actioned quickly and encourages two way feedback.

Office based work by its nature is sedentary and while it is vital that workspaces are set up correctly to avoid back and neck strain, there are some simple things we can do to promote movement during the working day; encourage the team to get up and speak to their colleagues rather than emailing them, have pool printers rather than individual desk top ones, and if space allows, provide an area away from desks for colleagues to enjoy lunch together.  Devin Consulting also supports the cycle to work scheme and provides bike racks and showering facilities but exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous - simply taking a break from our computer monitors is known to be beneficial, and during the better weather, many of our engineers go for a group walk at lunchtime and take in the views along the quayside of the river Tyne.

Many businesses offer snacks for their staff and this is one of the easiest ways that companies can show their commitment to wellness in the workplace with minimal effort. Until very recently there was a steady supply of biscuits and cakes in the Devin kitchen but we’ve recently switched to offering fruit as a snack option.  There was some degree of skepticism to start with but it has proven to be really popular.  Of course, we’ll still enjoy the Friday breakfast butty from the local café.  And that bacon butty tastes all the better for having made good choices through the week.