Many companies are trying to get workers back in the office and encouraging them with gyms, free lunches, healthy snacks, table tennis and yoga. If workers are not back in office as much as they were pre pandemic employers will find themselves with unused space. Turning that unused space into an area which will benefit your employees health and wellness is likely to have a significant positive impact on your business. The business case may not be as clear cut as some – the returns may not be attributable in the same way you would attribute a digital marketing campaign, but the case will be valuable and worth investing in.
Wellbeing and performance should not be thought of in isolation as they are so connected. High performance is more likely to be achieved when your employees are at their best and looking after their wellbeing.
I work for Twinings and I am a Wellbeing Champion for the UK&I team, which means that in addition to my regular role I develop the Wellbeing plans for the UK team and work closely with the central HR Wellbeing lead to activate and bring the plans to life. We focus our plan on the four pillars of wellbeing – Physical, Social, Mental and Financial.
To support physical health we have an on-site gym which is open all day and offers spinning, zumba, yoga, strength & tone and circuits classes in addition to being able to personalise your own workout on an impressive selection of equipment. Classes run before work – to set you up for the day, lunch time – to get a break from your desk and after work – to provide a wind down before heading home. Taking a class or using the gym during the day provides much needed movement and creates new energy for the rest of the day. Whilst this provides an opportunity for physical activity, the benefits on mental health are also evident.
The yoga classes are popular and I love to attend when I can. I don’t teach them as I am home based and not consistently in the office. I also find it really enjoyable to attend another teacher’s class and do something to support my own wellness. I have a 55 mile commute to the office and before I started practising yoga I would arrive at work feeling really stiff in my hips and when I got out of the car I would feel the tightness in my psoas. It is likely my psoas muscle had shortened as I was spending too much time in a seated position and not stretching out and lengthening.
There are many benefits to offering your employees opportunities to exercise throughout the day and yoga can really help those who have been seated for a long period of time either on their commute to work or at a desk whilst they are in the office.
As part of my role as Wellbeing Champion I have also led desk stretch sessions where I’ve encouraged small groups to take a break at their desk and carry out some simple exercises which will correct their posture or relax their shoulders. The sessions were between 5-10 minutes at a time, and the sounds of relief and oohs and aahs made me realise how much this is needed.
Corporate wellbeing plan
Corporate wellbeing plans need to consider physical health, mental health, financial management and emotional wellness. Simplicity is often key, try not to over complicate, focus on what your employees need, speak to them and understand how you can better support them in this area. Share your plans and continually evaluate and develop.
Recommended yoga poses for office workers
Asanas such as a three legged downward dog opening at the knee and stacking hip on hip really help to stretch out the muscles around the hip, crescent (or any lunge) is great and asanas which open across the chest and draw the shoulders back into the spine help to re-balance my shoulders after spending the day at a computer.
I have recently started to share breathing techniques with my colleagues as I have experienced the benefits when I have practised breathing techniques such as box breathing before an important meeting or presentation. It really helps to regulate my heart and allow me to fully focus.
What can you do to support your employees with their wellness
Workplace wellness and looking after your employees so they can continue to thrive is so valuable. Consider your overall business strategy and how your wellbeing experience can align to what you are trying to achieve as a company.