At Unitas, we’re proud to say that the health and wellbeing of our staff is at the forefront of our organisation and structure. However, as winter comes crashing (hopefully, not literally) into view, we’re reminded of the effect the season has on our team.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can take a huge toll on mental health, while winter illnesses and the increased chance of accident due to adverse weather conditions can affect physical wellbeing throughout our business.
Statistics and Evidence
Research shows that absenteeism costs UK businesses an estimated £100billion per year in lost revenue, and that there is an average of 141.4 million days taken every year as sick leave (this can be broken down to 4.4 days per employee).
With over 400 employees, these statistics could see us losing an average of 1760 days per year to team sick leave.
From a purely business perspective, it makes sense that a focus on employee health is cost effective and allows us to offer a better customer experience.
We know from research that there are numerous reasons for having a robust Wellbeing Strategy. Staff in companies which take care of employee health enjoy 20% more productivity, find that staff are 34% less likely to leave their roles and that they’re 37% less likely to take time off sick.
However, for us it goes deeper than the pure business. Our team are at the centre of what we do and without them, we couldn’t progress and grow. We’ve amassed over 400 professionals and we want to ensure we retain them, keep them happy and give them the opportunity to grow and develop.
We have a dedicated Wellbeing Strategy (found here.) Corporately, we offer a package of benefits which includes:
- Regular one-to-one meetings between staff member and line manager which help to give the employee a sense of purpose as well as ensuring open lines of communication.
- Opportunities for growth, development and learning.
- Health benefits including eye testing, flu vaccinations and specific job-related safety wear.
- Paid sick leave.
- Over-average pension contributions
- Access to counselling via the Dove Service as well as other mental health and support outlets
- Flexible working to fit in with family and other commitments
- Hybrid working (where our business allows)
- Regular training, mental health awareness workshops and toolbox talks and in-house mental health support channels.
In addition, we have a Wellbeing Team which includes Unitas Director Wayne Booth, and which meets on a monthly basis to discuss the work we can do to take care of our team They’ve come up with a variety of ways, both big and small, that we continue to take care of our team – and they can take care of each other!
The team has introduced “Mental Health First Aiders,” among our staff who have received specialist training and are on hand should anyone throughout our business wish or need to discuss an issue either work related or otherwise.
As employers, we provide kitchen facilities and essentials for our teams. We’ve found this has had a massively positive affect and has encouraged better working relationships between teams who share the kitchens.
During September (which we dubbed “Healthy September,”) our Wellbeing Group purchased blenders for every kitchen in our Cromer Road HQ. Smoothie recipe cards were placed out and fresh fruit was delivered twice weekly. With approaches ranging from the “shove everything in and see if it works” to the “follow the recipe to the letter,” we had smoothies galore. We also purchased scales and blood pressure monitors to allow our staff to check up on their numbers.
Wellbeing in October
This month is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Stoptober and contains Back Care Awareness Day (Monday 3rd October), World Mental Health Day (Monday 10th October) and the Wave of Light (Saturday 15th September).
We’ll be sharing messages internally about those awareness days and giving staff advice on the channels they can access if they do need specific support.
Caring for our staff on a personal level might give us great corporate benefits, but it’s also vital that we see the people who work for us as people and treat them with the respect and kindness they deserve.
It’s what, hopefully, makes Unitas a great place to work with a happy and efficient team ready to keep our customers happy and our promises delivered.