Employers focus on winter wellbeing

The start of a new year gives employers a perfect opportunity to promote health and wellbeing benefits. The weather is cold, the effects of Christmas overindulgence are obvious, and the day dubbed Blue Monday, which this year falls on 20 January, is just round the corner.

James Dunningham, operations director at Health at Work, said: “This is a good time for employers to take advantage of new year’s resolutions, the general motivation that people feel in January when they step onto the scales, and special offers in the wider community, such as discounted gym memberships and trials. There is no better month than January to do that.”

Rory Murphy, business and strategy director at Wellbeing People, added: “Employers can do some simple things that are very beneficial to staff, particularly around winter and Christmas time. For instance, explaining to staff that Christmas is a very stressful time and that if they’ve got access to an employee assistance programme, they should use it.”

Many employers pre-empted employees’ new year’s resolutions by hosting winter wellbeing events towards the end of 2013.

Recruitment organisation Goodman Masson hosted its third annual Winter Wellbeing Week for staff in November. The event included health checks, healthy-eating promotions, fitness classes and free flub jabs.

Law firm Norton Rose Fulbright also hosted its inaugural wellbeing event in November. This was the first phase in the organisation’s planned implementation of a holistic health and wellbeing strategy.

The event included cholesterol and blood-pressure tests, on-site massages, promotion of its bikes-for-work scheme, information about local gyms, and seminars on personal resilience and staying healthy during the winter.

Elsewhere, vocational qualification organisation City and Guilds invited students from the London School of Beauty Therapy to provide a day of massages and manicures for its employees.

Roffey Park Institute launched a range of wellbeing workshops for its staff, provided by corporate wellness organisation The Tonic, which also introduced a guide to winter wellness, containing tips to ensure health and energy through December, January and February.

Jeff Archer, owner of The Tonic, said: “The tips help staff stay focused on the simple daily choices they make that will keep them healthy and engaged. It includes sleep tips for the winter months, healthy eating tips to boost immunity, and [information on] maintaining exercise routines through the winter.”

Meanwhile, employers are being recognised for their staff wellbeing efforts. Safety organisation Arco won a Healthy Workplace Award from Simplyhealth for a range of health and wellbeing initiatives it runs at its national distribution centre in Hull, including on-site wellbeing events and health promotions.

Key elements for a winter wellbeing event

  • A benefits fair showcasing health and wellbeing offerings, including gym membership, bikes-for-work schemes, health cash plans and employee assistance programmes.
  • On-site health checks, including cholesterol and blood-pressure tests.
  • On-site fitness classes, such as yoga and pilates.
  • On-site massages, reflexology and beauty treatments.
  • Seminars that cover a range of topics, such as sleep, personal resilience and staying healthy during the winter months.
  • Free flu jabs.