Each year the UK’s most popular new year’s resolutions stay consistent. Get healthier, make more money, and be happier top the list. There is a growing onus on business owners to ensure working conditions support employees to meet these goals.
In the release of its recent annual report in December, consulting firm Protiviti reported attracting and retaining staff as one of the top risks facing business owners in 2019. This was classified as a higher risk than it has been to business stability in 2018.
Rob Hingston, Head of Origin, chartered member of the CIPD and former Head of HR at David Lloyd has compiled pledges Bristol business owners can make in 2019 coupled with the resources to keep them, in order to support both company and employee in reaching their goals. Rob shares his thoughts below each point.
Put into place initiatives to support work/life balance
Give your employees a greater sense of control and ownership over their lives and promote work/life balance in your organisational culture in 2019. This can include offering flexible hours to allow people to work around their commitments, encouraging people to work from home and ensuring your annual leave policy is adequate and that people are encouraged to take it all. You will need to lead by example and ensure your team know that you are focused on productivity and not presenteeism.
“To ensure you pay more than just lip service to this look for workspace which has 24/7 opening hours so that if staff are working outside of regular office hours that security is in place, so they feel safe. If you are a small business, consider taking an office in a coworking space so employees are guaranteed company if they are an early riser or like to make up time at the weekend,” says Hingston.
Make wellness a priority for employees
Provide access to exercise to promote fitness and a sense of wellbeing. This could include choosing an office with a gym on site, providing the benefit of a corporate gym membership, organising lunchtime group personal training sessions or ensuring your workplace is flexible enough that people feel they can leave at 5pm to get involved in a local team sports league.
“Origin Workspace provides an in-house gym, studio and a roof terrace where yoga classes will be held in the summer. It also offers regular workout + network sessions which draw 30-50 participants per session which are free and open to non- members. To encourage team spirit, it enters teams of members for local events such as the Simply Health Bristol 10k and family events such as the Colour Run and the annual CHSW Santa Run. Origin Workspace also provide safe and secure bike racks and a drying room for wet kit and showers if you prefer to incorporate exercise into your commute.”
Take mental health seriously
Invest in training a member of your team to be a mental first aider to ensure you know as a business how to identify, understand and help someone who might be experiencing a mental health issue. Encourage your team to bring their whole self to work to promote engagement and trust.
‘This year we are looking at various options to train our staff to become mental health first aiders.”
Support employees to make good choices
Help your team remove the barriers to living a healthier life by providing access to the tools that allow them to do this.
Whenever food is provided by the company make sure you have healthy options available e.g. a balanced selection in the vending machine, at company dinners and through suppliers that cater for meetings.
Try to balance team get togethers so they aren’t always focused around alcohol or food but could be a challenge you do together e.g. Locked in A Room, Tough Mudder or a local fun run.
‘Simple measures like providing a weekly fruit bowl and regular treats of smoothies underpin this message.”
Invest in space that boosts productivity
We spend a lot of time at work so your ‘ideal world’ checklist if you are seeking out an office should include providing employees with natural light, access to outside space and avoidance of air conditioning.
“Origin Workspace offers ergonomically-designed work spaces and the building is flooded with natural light. We have also invested in natural ventilation. Two terraces provide outside space. From the rear terrace there are sweeping views of South Bristol and the front terrace offers an outlook across Berkeley Square. If you need a change of scenery, there are lots of opportunities to work from different parts of the building as well as your desk including the lounge and the terrace.”
Provide opportunities for employees to collaborate, build clout and connections
Encourage your team to attend training courses and network. It will boost their confidence and may even bring more business your way.
“Our ever-evolving events programme welcomes experienced speakers to inspire business thinking, and networking events to encourage collaboration. Our ‘How I did it’ and ‘Business basics’ series, are led by business leaders. We also play host to respected third party support organisations, like LinkedIn Local, Enterprise Nation and a range of relevant meetup groups. Our events are open to members and non-members.”
Think about purpose and profit
Businesses need to make a profit in order to sustain themselves, but it doesn’t have to be the only reason for being. There is value in incorporating social good into your business plans in order to engage both employees and customers in your mission.
“Origin Startup alumni, Kings Grooming is a good example of a purpose driven business. It is an ethical aftershave and grooming brand with a mission to empower men to live healthier and happier lives. They also fund men’s mental health projects.”
In terms of fulfilling the goal to make more money, this comes from lower absenteeism and staff turnover which means lower recruitment costs and a more engaged and productive team. This in theory should lead to greater profitability and therefore more money to invest in salaries.