Lend Lease launches wellbeing days

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Employee Benefits Live 2015: Lend Lease has introduced paid ‘wellbeing days’ for staff to use to rest and recuperate, so they can return to work and perform at their optimum level.

The scheme has been launched on a trust basis, with staff expected to take one wellbeing day per quarter throughout the year at their own discretion, ensuring that they manage their workload accordingly.

The initiative is part of a health and wellbeing scheme that the property and construction organisation launched last summer.

As part of her presentation on the scheme at Employee Benefits Live 2015, Gemma Bourne, head of social sustainability at Lend Lease, said: “We knew there was a business case for health and wellbeing [around] maintaining sustained high performance, so [we wanted a scheme that enabled staff to] perform at their best now and be safe.”

She added that it was also key for the organisation to create a culture with which to attract its future workforce.

The research phase of the project involved Bupa health checks for Lend Lease’s 18,000-strong workforce, to produce sufficient data with which the employer could identify strategic health and wellbeing hotspots around which to target appropriate interventions.

Bourne said that the organisation’s previous lack of data was due to the absence of a robust sickness absence reporting system.

Lend Lease identified three hotpots across its workforce as a result of the analysis: mental ill health, high blood pressure and fatigue.

In response, it has launched a network of 84 mental health first aiders, which has been tasked with spotting the signs and symptoms of employees suffering with excessive stress levels and triaging them to the right support system.

The organisation has also launched a Fitbit loan scheme, enabling staff to loan the fitness gadget, which monitors users’ daily activity and food intake, for up to three months by way of a reminder for them to keep track and in control of their own health and wellbeing.

Finally, Lend Lease has worked with Healthscreen UK to scan employees at risk of sun damage for melanoma, which has resulted in the detection of 23 cases of skin cancer. Flu vaccinations are also now available to all staff.

According to Bourne, the organisation’s employee engagement survey, which it undertakes every two years, has shown a 5% increase in employees’ commitment level to the organisation as a direct result of its health and wellbeing efforts.

The employer invests £400 per employee per year in health and wellbeing, with the latest scheme funded through its foundation, which is an internal business unit that was launched to develop and benefit employees 30 years.