Our MD of Ireland, Peter Russell explores why organisations have a huge responsibility to promote health and wellbeing in the workplace, and why it is in the best interests of employees and the organisation.
Having a healthy workplace and healthy workforce has always been important. But thankfully there has perhaps been an increased emphasis on it in the business world since the onset of Covid-19. The stresses and pressures of the pandemic have brought it into sharper focus. So too has the increase in remote working, which brings new challenges for companies and employees around connectivity and the potential blurring of the lines between work and home life.
The reality is that mental health problems cost the UK economy at least £117.9 billion annually according to a new report published by Mental Health Foundation and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Our view at Telefonica Tech UK&I is that you can’t be a healthy employee in an unhealthy organisation, and you can’t be a healthy organisation with unhealthy employees. A healthy organisation with healthy employees is therefore the sweet spot for sustainable high performance and something that we aspire to achieve at Telefónica Tech.
In early 2022, we commenced a three-year programme called Healthy Place to Work, which is a global standard for healthy workplaces. This significant investment by the company is ultimately intended to ensure better organisational performance through improved workplace health. It is evidence-based and data-driven, and empowers our organisation with the tools and methodology needed to ensure a strategic approach to workplace health and wellbeing.
The Healthy Place to Work survey and technical platform provides the basis for an effective assessment of the company’s overall health and wellbeing strategy, benchmarked against a holistic model. This allows us to assess what aspects of our current strategy are working effectively, and what elements are underperforming and require redesign, additional resources, or complete change. This model explores the workplace’s culture and how it is positively supporting the health and wellbeing of employees. But it also examines aspects of the individual employee’s personal health practices and behaviours. Adopting this twin approach allows us to accurately focus on the genuine drivers of employee health rather than adopting an event-driven, ad-hoc approach of wellness initiatives and guest speakers.
Our strategy has four pillars: Purpose, Mental Resilience, Connection and Physical health. In short, this means that we strive to be a business that our employees identify with and feel connected to, where they find purpose in the work that they do, where they have the management support to do their job well and safely, and where they are supported to be mentally resilient, and physically well.
This approach permeates every aspect of what we do as an organisation right through to our community initiatives and sponsorships. To this end, we have Action Mental Health as our charity partner in Northern Ireland. AMH is a NI-based mental health charity with a clear vision to change the lives of those living with mental ill health and promote resilience and well-being to future generations. AMH was chosen by our employees as our official charity partner. We work with AMH to take part in fundraising events that all of our team participate in and perhaps even more importantly, we work with them to enable our team to gain valuable knowledge and insights from the charity around mental health.
On the physical wellbeing side, we have also recently partnered with Banbridge Cycling Club as the club’s first ever jersey sponsor. Banbridge CC is one of the longest established and biggest cycling clubs in Ireland. It is also a hugely diverse club with a wide range of members of varying abilities from different backgrounds. The partnership allows us to support a club that contributes very positively to health and wellbeing locally. It is also part of our approach to encouraging encourage our team to be physically active through for instance cycling and running, and aligns with our commitment to and promotion of the cycle to work scheme.
It is my firm belief that organisations have a huge responsibility to promote healthy practices in the best interest of employees and the organisation. It is something that has perhaps come to even more prominence due to the pandemic, but it is something that is here to stay and must be built upon.
To find out more about life at Telefónica Tech, our culture, and current opportunities, explore our careers section.