Image: Ben Smith Image: Ben Smith

Everyone seems to be talking about staff wellness in business at the moment and although it’s much discussed, companies often see it as a tick box exercise rather than as a genuine means of improving the wellbeing of their team.

2015 saw a huge increase in the media discussing the importance of ‘switching off’, and conversations being more open surrounding mindfulness and this is something that our staff have fully embraced. Whereas once you may have considered the ability to work through lunch as a skill, with the mindfulness ‘revolution’ and campaign’s such as Stylist’s ‘#reclaimyourlunchbreak’ we’re seeing more businesses taking pride in looking after their team and encouraging a healthy working life and work/life balance. 2016 sees us continue to expand this area much to the praise and enjoyment of our team.

We’ve recently implemented weekly wellness sessions where our staff take part in yoga and relaxation classes and receive complimentary massages. These sessions exist outside of the allocated lunch break, in order to ensure that staff have time to socialise with colleagues and enjoy their lunch. With a regular teacher attending the office there is the opportunity to request specific areas of focus and participation is always high. Surprisingly enough, our free massages score extremely high in staff satisfactions surveys! Our CEO, Andy Alderson, is an avid user of the mediation app Headspace and his genuine interest in mindfulness techniques has impacted positively on the business.

Striving for a healthy work life

There’s no hiding from the fact that sitting at a desk all day and snacking too will lead to the pounds piling on. In order to try and combat this, free gym membership for staff is always a warmly received staff initiative. Not only does it encourage exercise but it is also a lifestyle choice and really helps get people in a more active frame of mind.

I feel employers can also help to influence what staff eat. If there are vending machines in the office, workers will be likely to grab a bag of crisps or some chocolate as a snack, but if fruit is on offer for free. This will probably become the snack of choice. We’ve found that daily fruit baskets are always well received, we ensure that they are replenished daily and I make a fruit salad each morning.

If a gym membership isn’t a possibility within your business, why not organise a team sports club? Not only is it a fantastic means of mixing with your colleagues and allowing them to bond with colleagues they may not have previously spoken to, but it’s a great way of making exercise fun and more bearable. Our weekly ‘Runarama’ running club results in much laughter and has prompted staff to sign up for charity fun runs and even marathons. Personally, I’ve lost four stone and like many other staff, my health has improved dramatically since working here. A positive outlook and good habits are infectious, and we take care to encourage each other at Vanarama and reap the rewards.

It’s no surprise that in order for a business to deliver outstanding customer service, you need a workforce that’s both motivated and engaged. Through investing in this area, you ensure that staff are well looked after which impacts on customer service and ultimately the bottom line of a business. We undertake countless wellbeing and charity days and our involvement in the non-league football sponsorship and our recent service ninja’s customer service program are just a few ways in which we are taking care of our staff and ensuring that Vanarama is a brilliant place to work.

Leaving work with a smile

There’s a definite correlation between staff wellness and service, and we’d like to think that a healthy team is a happy team too.

Your staff form a large part of your fabric as a brand and that should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. In order to deliver outstanding customer service, you need a workforce that arrives and leaves work feeling healthy, stress-free and motivated and we are continuing to nurture this through our wellbeing strategies.

By Steve Mark, brand director at Vanarama