How does your workplace approach Health and Wellness?

Helen Anderson on September 30, 2018

There's been a lot of talk of health and wellness lately around my office and I wondered what kind of approach other workplaces had to keep employe... [Read Full]
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We have a good overall package including solid healthcare etc.

But a couple things I think we do really well:

  • Truly flexible work schedule we stick to.
  • No regularly scheduled meetings on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday besides Friday wrap up
  • Explicit “no but in seat syndrome” policy. If you are burnt out from the day, you should just go home early. No shaming. People from the team will sometimes work late when they need to or they’re in a groove. There needs to be allowance for getting back that time in other ways.
 

Very good that you care about the time people spend and that they get it back!
I just recently came across an article that working overtime is the no. 1 reason why employees leave the company (german article):

t3n.de/news/das-ist-der-grund-numm...

Short summary:

  • Reason no 1: missing compensation for worked overtime
  • Reason no 2: bad work climate. Collegial environment or the chemistry among the colleagues was not right (65% say so)
  • Reason no 3: too much stress. Enormous pressure to perform, tight timings or goals that are too high (60% say so)
 

I like that idea to curb burnout and getting time back when you work late nights and early mornings. So often it's easy to just do the hours and not think anything of it.

 

An onsite gym or gym membership?
We get a contribution towards a gym, but it's not a gym anyone wants to use so I don't think it gets a lot of takers.

cycle to work scheme where the subsidise the cost of the bike?
I don't think so. We have bike racks in the car park though.

health, life, travel insurance?
We might get some health insurance, I'm really not sure. It's not a big deal in the UK since we have the NHS anyway.

ergonomic workstations?
We have periodic inspections and checks where people come around ans assess our workstation setup, and we can get customised chairs and so on if we need them, but the only person who has had anything I think is one of the big bosses who has a standing desk.

healthy snacks and lunches?
We have a vending machine that only dispenses "healthy" snacks, but by that I mean things that are fad-healthy, like raw cacao or "organic" chocolate.

financial advice or planning sessions?
Not that I'm aware of

social clubs and activities for teams?
Not that I'm aware of

opportunities to work from home or flexitime?
Yes and no. This is very much dependant on circumstances.

a day each year to give back to the community with a volunteer day?
No

access to counselling for you or your family?
Not that I'm aware of

Those in your list out the way, we do have some other things, like

  • We get our birthdays off as a free holiday
  • Irregularities like a "wellness week" earlier this year where we had a gym session and different healthy breakfasts every day. Same value of "healthy" of course.
  • Fortnightly yoga classes

That sort of stuff.

 

healthy snacks and lunches?
We have a vending machine that only dispenses "healthy" snacks, but by that I mean things that are fad-healthy, like raw cacao or "organic" chocolate.

They tried that with us, until signs were put up on the vending machine saying that engineers run on Dew and Monster :P The vender switched to half and half and likely gets much more money from us now.

 

We have free fizzy drinks/soda in a vending machine. The facilities team revealed how many cans we go through in a year. It was pretty scary but if it keeps people going it’s a worthwhile perk

We have a similar thing going on where we work. I think it might be a short-term gain but for a long-term pain. I've told myself that I will stop drinking carbonated drinks at work because of the potential long-term health issues (weight gain, diabetes, etc.).

Every time I try to cut out pop, I never figure out how to replace the calories (at least some of them) with not-pop, so I end up ravenous and give up within a week. It's like my body is too trained after 20 odd years of Mountain Dew and Cherry Coke.

 

Hi, interesting topic!

In the London-based startup I was a former intern at (not sure if I can name it?), we had a few perks to encourage employees to keep healthy habits, although I didn't get to benefit from them myself:

  • Preferential tariff at a local gym club.
  • Health insurance with a "reward practicing" system. The more you practice (cycling, running, gym… as detected via their app), the more points you get which can get you 50% off transport fares and the like. The app also had XP levels, so it encouraged a form of healthy competition for practicing the most.
  • Free fruits delivered to the office about twice per week — apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, easy peelers and more, depending on the time of year.
  • As everyone in the office worked on a computer (whether it be engineering, sales or marketing), everyone had an ergonomic desk chair and could ask for extra computer screens if needed. There were plans to get standing desks as well.

As for wellness, I noticed a few interesting things:

  • Employees had the ability to work from home, as long as they noticed their team. For example, a team member sometimes took a work-from-home Friday so he could get back to France and see his family over an extended weekend.
  • We had plenty of opportunities for social activities, including a so called "Ministry of Fun" (clever reference to the Ministry of Silly Walks) organising events such as Pub Quizzes, a yearly Summer Party. There was also a World Cup betting in which bets were donated to a charity.
  • Volunteers also organised smaller-scale events, such as poker nights or outings. For example, I went to cinemas, an amusement park and had minigolf with colleagues — great fun.

All in all, it made the workplace very enjoyable to work at, and bonded employees like no other place I've worked at before. :) So health and wellness are definitely terribly important.

 

Sounds like a great place to be. What is your current workplace like in comparison?

 

Well, it was! I’m on campus right now for my final year of study, so I am not working. But I did another internship (in France) before that one, and there were a lot of benefits too. But it was a bigger company so I didn’t find the team bonding to be so great.

That's a really good point.

The tradeoff between being in a big established organisation with history, benefits, security and where you can become a specialist is that you may feel like a number. Makes it a tough call when you can be a generalist and see more parts of the business in a startup.

 
  • Health
    • an onsite gym or gym membership?None. But hoping a discounted gym membership
    • cycle to work scheme where the subsidise the cost of the bike?None. I would love to have this
    • health, life, travel insurance?Health insurance only
    • ergonomic workstations?Yes. Regularly checked
    • healthy snacks and lunches?None. Bring your own



    • Wellness
    • financial advice or planning sessions?
    • None.
    • social clubs and activities for teams?None. that i am aware of
    • opportunities to work from home or flexitime?Yes, Work from home but got taken back. We have a flexible time schedule
    • a day each year to give back to the community with a volunteer day?None.
    • access to counselling for you or your family?None. that im aware of


 

So...
yes - onsite gym plus subsidized yoga / bootcamp / crossfit sessions
no
yes
yes on request
onsite caf - has vegan /gluten free / healthy options

yes
yes
yes - in the technology group at least
yes
yes

well for a crown corporation we score pretty well.......

J

 

Health

an onsite gym or a gym membership?

  • We have deals with gyms in the area.

cycle to work scheme where the subsidise the cost of the bike?

  • Yeah, we have this during the summer. It's not fantastic really.

health, life, travel insurance?

  • I think we can get some deals, but not worth mentioning.

ergonomic workstations?

  • We can get desk assessed to get some horrible lumbar support, a wrist rest and desk raisers. Nothing special. I really want a standing desk but it'll be too expensive.

healthy snacks and lunches?

  • Yes, but our canteen thinks chicken should be cooked to within an inch of its life.

Wellness

financial advice or planning sessions?

  • The company pays for an over-the-phone multi-faceted service which includes this. The only thing we need to mention is our company name and they won't ask anything more about us, so it's anonymous. This will probably go next year as it's not as heavily used as they expected.

social clubs and activities for teams?

  • Not that I'm aware of. There used to be a football thing once a week, but very few people went.

opportunities to work from home or flexitime?

  • No.

a day each year to give back to the community with a volunteer day?

  • Several times a year we have children visit us from several local primary schools so they can see a real working environment, etc.

access to counselling for you or your family?

  • As with the over-the-phone service, this is also included.

I'll be honest: A lot of the perks we get from my company are fairly shallow "look at all the perks you get!". These perks can also be incredibly long-winded and difficult to redeem, so a lot of the times it's not even worth the effort. i.e. someone had to wait 2 months to get the free eye-test voucher.

Unfortunately, I work in a call centre, so for the majority of the employees they can't have flexitime, go home early, work what you can, etc. So the company feels it's only fair to treat all call centre employees (including us devs) with the same treatment. Though all non-call centre employees (finance, marketing, logistics, etc) have a lot of these perks.

There are a lot of improvements to be made, to be honest.

 

My company has a budget for noise cancelling headphones because we have an open plan office and it's stressful for (self-diagnosed) introverts. I think that's pretty cool and inclusive :)

 
 

I actually work for an insurance company, so they tend to take these things a little bit differently for us as employees. Overall though, as part of the digital arm of things and being slightly on the edge of things we do have some good benefits.

  • Money each year for exercise equipment, I didn't need it but it covered one of those backyard Ninja Gyms for my sons, so that was nice!
  • In office gym, its on a different floor and while most of the machines are okay (nothing stellar) if you want to run, use a Pelaton, cross trainer, or free weights its nice
  • A couple of days a year to give back
  • A very flexible WFH policy, we can definitely do things when the mood suits us and I do
  • Online training with Safari Online and Linux Academy
  • Financial, Legal, and Mental Health Counseling
  • Free Fresh Fruit delivered once a week
  • Everyone in the office has a standing desk

There are a couple of others, but these are some of the highpoints.

 

My workplace provides alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on Fridays from 4pm, and your choice of bacon, sausage or vegetarian sausage baps once a month.

They also recently got rid of the confectionery they had in the meeting rooms in favour of fruit, although it must be said that certain fruit like bananas go quickly, while the pears stick around for ages (probably because Conference pears stay rock hard for ages). There's also a barista-style coffee machine.

They had a summer party end of July, with lots of booze and an excellent barbecue, and we also recently went on a Pub and Paddle, which involved rowing from one pub to another, having a drink, then rowing back, which was lots of fun. My team has also had film nights in the past.

Healthcare isn't much of an issue as I'm in the UK, but we do have some sort of scheme to cover health costs that the NHS doesn't cover, such as private dental treatment.

We often have seminars on relevant subjects, such as last week when there was one about mental health. Flexible working is widely available, and indeed they've been pushing people to ask about it if they want it.

 

The banana problem is real where I work too. The apples and pears hang around forever and people go between floors to hunt them down.

I like the Pub and Paddle idea. It's tricky to sell the social club idea without making it all about the booze. We've recently done a 'pub quiz' event that was more about the quiz and competition between teams.

 

Health

  • an onsite gym or gym membership? No, but discounted membership to the LA Fitness nearby
  • cycle to work scheme where the subsidize the cost of the bike? I never considered to check with my employer before buying my bike, though they do have bike racks indoors.
  • health, life, travel insurance? Indeed
  • ergonomic workstations? They aren't opposed to you tricking out your own cubicle, but they won't reimburse you.
  • healthy snacks and lunches? No provided food

Wellness

  • financial advice or planning sessions? Frequent retirement planning lunch-n-learns
  • social clubs and activities for teams? Yes, though aside from finding a public Slack channel, they aren't publicised. You need to know someone to get an in as to what is going on, like the beer swap, football, boxing club (first rule about fight club...), Nintendo Switch players, Pokemon Go players...
  • opportunities to work from home or flexitime? Yes, though official policy is strict but up to manager's interpretation
  • a day each year to give back to the community with a volunteer day? Not that I know of
  • access to counselling for you or your family? Almost aggressively so. It's through a third party and every lunch-n-learn has a slide at the end with info on how to contact them

Note I work in healthcare tech, so my employer benefits from me being healthy and not a drain on their insurance and hospitals.

 

We have a pretty good WFH/flexitime policy, but my uncomfortable answer to the rest is "I don't know."

My company has always been a supportive enough place to work, and there is a lot that they would probably do for us if asked, but health and wellness perks have never been properly advertised.

So I guess that is what I would like to see, both in my company and all others: if you're offering access to counselling, ergonomic desks, etc. to those who need them, make sure everyone knows!

 

Very true, if perks and benefits aren't communicated are they really offered?

We have an intranet at my workplace that details what's available if it isn't immediately obvious - free fruit, drinks etc. That helps with the uptake of things like banking advice and extra insurance benefits.

 

In my opinion, for health at work, we should also consider things such as ergonomics. For example, in my office, most people don't have any external screen and work on their laptop, and they are completely sprawled in their chair. What's alarming is that no one encourages them to take care of their posture.
I've also been working in an other office in which we basically had no direct sunlight ... It was a nightmare 😨

 

I have been a DSE assessor and a health and safety rep, and that was part of my remit. The trouble is that it tends to be very hard to get budget for better equipment like ergonomic chairs and keyboards if someone would benefit from them.

 

Where I work:

Flexible schedule, most devs work from home and there are no strict rules if you need to be out of the 'office'. You can take a walk or go to the gym, whatever you do to feel good anytime you want.

Our insurance company also has a plan to give you money for steps (requires a step tracker such as fitbit) called inmotion.

 

What my workplace is currently doing:

  • None of the above

(Excepted for the health insurance, which is mandatory here in France anyway)

What I'd like to see:

  • On-site gym or membership would be nice considering the insane cost of these things
  • Ergonomic workstations would be nice
  • Opportunities to work from home. That's something we almost never see in France, unfortunately (except in a few very big cities)
 

an onsite gym or gym membership?
There is an onsite gym that we can use for a subsidized price.

cycle to work scheme where the subsidise the cost of the bike?
I think there is, but I also think it's mandatory in France. Anyway, it's a good thing. We also have lockers and showers.

health, life, travel insurance?
Indeed, we have those.

ergonomic workstations?
I'm not sure how ergonomic they are, but you can ask for adjustments (I use an elevated desk) and there people having footrests, etc.

healthy snacks and lunches?
Of course, with my wife, we cook great food! It aslo means that we have free food. The cantin is kinda okay and there is always some fish, there is a salad bar. And good beef!

financial advice or planning sessions?
I cannot recall any.

social clubs and activities for teams?
Yes, there are plenty of clubs.

opportunities to work from home or flexitime?
Yes, based on a management approval/agreement for up to two days per week. There is a new experiment about the possibilty of not working during school holidays at all for less money.

a day each year to give back to the community with a volunteer day?
I don't think we have in our site.

access to counselling for you or your family?
I think there is a possibility for that, I haven't used it though.

 

We actually do pretty well where I am with the wellness culture, most of it is driven from corporate management as well, not just the engineering groups which are small in comparison to the overall company.

  • we have financial/legal advice as needed
  • mindfulness seminars, training videos
  • discounts to health insurance/reimbursements for doing metabolic screenings, showing activity with fitness trackers and so on
  • community service time
  • opportunity to wfh as needed
  • no shaming
  • counseling for self and family
  • ergonomic chairs and electronic desks (that adjust to whatever level you need)
    • on my first week there was actually an ergonomic training course we had to go through and pass

  • multiple monitors

  • free fruit a couple times a week

  • on site gym and showers (though the gym isn't the fanciest its adequate)

That's just off the top of my head

 

Translation from Vietnamese:

It is a problem many people suffer from pregnancy, so nosebleeds are dangerous, what are the causes and remedies. Let's find out.

Source

 

The BPO company we are under at provides all of these. But you can say it's just for the sake of company image. But hey! At least they didn't fail. In terms of actually doing it, I guess all of us are in control of it.

Our main account (company who hired us) doesn't provide any of these.

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