In an interview on employee wellbeing, Sir Richard Branson said, “Much like the word 'entrepreneur', the idea of employee wellbeing was an alien concept when Virgin was in its infancy. “While we didn’t openly discuss ‘wellbeing’, the health and happiness of our people was always top of mind. “New and exciting technologies have come along to shape our approach to employee wellbeing, but our attitude has always remained the same—it’s our people who drive our success, so we strive to maintain a healthy and happy culture, and create environments in which everyone can flourish… “There’s no magic formula. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” Wellbeing in your workplace He’s 100% right. Employee wellbeing has to be paramount for all employers in the modern age, in the way it always has been part of the culture at Virgin. Having a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected, where they are undertaking work they feel is meaningful, is essential. From a business perspective, it reduces absenteeism and increases staff retention, morale and productivity, so it’s a win-win situation for both employer and employee. I was interested to see that many of the issues we tackle in today’s In the Loop look at some aspect of this. Could you be a victim of “leavism”, for example? Can remote working affect your employees’ wellbeing? Mental health is rightly climbing to the top of the news agenda and, in a 24/7 society with constant access to technology, pressures on employees are only increasing. Managing this effectively is key for employers and is one of the biggest challenges we face. Give your employees assistance As you might know, one of the Peninsula group of companies, Health Assured, provides employee assistance programmes (EAPs) to companies so that they can offer their staff wellbeing advice and counselling. What you might not know is this: We took more than quarter of a million calls on our EAP helpline last year. The top reason for people calling was concerns around mental health, with people from the 31-40 age range making up the highest percentage seeking our support. Around a third of those who call the helpline will go onto have some type of formal therapy. All of these services are provided in total confidence for the employee and are seen by many as a lifeline. Do right for your people Making sure your employees are supported in this area is becoming less of an option and more of an obligation for employers. It’s also the right thing to do. If you’re interested in an EAP to help your employees—it can work out at pennies per employee per month—then give us a call on 0800 028 2420 and we’ll be happy to talk through the options available.