Business

What is your firm doing to promote employee wellbeing?

Offering staff a Fitbit encourages daily activity and often some healthy competition with colleagues

TODAY marks the first day of Novosco Cloud Camp, in partnership with Almac. Students aged 16-17 from across Northern Ireland will gain hands-on IT infrastructure experience and invaluable learning opportunities at Belfast Met over the days ahead.

Professional IT engineers and Belfast Met lecturers will facilitate the camp, which will provide experience in things like networking, Python programming, basic HTML programming, and creating virtual servers. And everyone who attends gets a free Raspberry Pi to learn with and keep too.

The camp is part of our commitment at Novosco to developing and building relationships with the IT talent of the future. In a marketplace where there is high demand for the skills we require, this is important for us. One of our other commitments is to look after the talent that we already have at our disposal – helping us retain our excellent people and develop them to reach their full potential. Promoting well-being is one of the ways that we do this.

In a survey of HR professionals conducted last year by the Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA), half of respondents did not have a well-being strategy in place within their organisation. However, almost all of those respondents either plan to introduce a well-being strategy in 2017, plan to introduce a well-being strategy within the next few years, or have the implementation of a well-being strategy on their wish-list.

I firmly believe that promoting wellbeing among employees is fundamental in creating a happy and healthy work environment for everyone. We strive to engage, motivate and support our employees in physical and mental wellbeing. This is not something that we preach but don’t practice, or do one off programs or events in the year – wellness is a significant part of our company strategy and daily culture.

We encourage staff to eat well, stay active and look after themselves. As part of this we provide free deliveries of fruit, we have a masseuse visit our offices, and we run events for staff such as charity walks and cycles, mindfulness and meditation classes.

We also provide financial wellbeing clinics as well as free health and dental insurance. Any member of staff that would like a Fitbit, can have one, to encourage daily activity and some healthy competition with colleagues.

Our aim is to get as many people involved as possible and to make the activities fun, engaging and interesting. It’s great for morale and team work, as well as helping keep staff fit and well. From a business perspective, that’s fantastic. Happy, healthy, and well staff are more productive, better employees, and they are more likely to stay with us – it’s also the right thing to do.

I realise that it is not necessarily right for all workplaces to promote wellbeing in the same way, or due to various commitments it may be more difficult for you to improve your wellbeing at work.

But workplace wellbeing can be achieved in small steps – get away from your desk for 30mins at lunch time, take the stairs, cycle to work, choose to eat healthier in the office. Or even having some time to sort out your pension in work can be good for mental well-being.

I would encourage all business owners in Northern Ireland to think about the well-being of their staff a bit more and to do something extra to promote well-being. We have genuinely seen real tangible benefits at Novosco from doing this.

Patrick McAliskey is managing director Novosco, an indigenous managed cloud company with offices in Belfast, Dublin, Cheshire and Cork. It employs over 150 people and works for leading organisations across the UK and Ireland, including many of Northern Ireland's top companies, UK health trusts, councils and other organisations

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