PEXA – which aims to streamline the remortgaging and home buying process in the UK and Australia- is well regarded for its wellbeing programme – which caters for the needs of teams working across the world. Our past two internal employee engagement surveys have resulted in a +89% result in wellbeing, so we thought we’d explore why employee wellbeing is more than a ‘nice to have’ and share our experiences with legal practices in Wales.
In 2022, our wellbeing programme won an Australian HR Award for Employer of Choice.
COVID has permanently changed the landscape of work and, post-pandemic, employee wellbeing cannot be an afterthought for organisations. As identified by Gallup, employees of all generations rank “the organisation cares about employees’ wellbeing” in their top three criteria when surveyed on what they look for most in an employer, with millennials and Generation Z’ers ranking this as their highest priority (reference).
As employees, we are embracing a new way of working and want more in their lives than just work, we want a job that aligns with our values, and to work for an organisation that allows us to bring our whole selves to work, moving away from the traditional separation between home and work identities. In a climate where talent is scarce and cost of living pressures are dominant, there is much as employers we can do to support team members’ wellbeing, which will also aid in recruiting and retaining top talent, and boosting employee engagement.
A wellbeing programme doesn’t necessarily require significant investment
The good news? Not all wellness-promoting initiatives require heavy financial investment. There are many low-cost, minimal-time options that organisations can activate that will yield fantastic participation and genuine appreciation from employees. It could be as simple as creating a digital space, such as a Slack channel or Teams group, where colleagues can share wellbeing quotes, memes, favourite focus music tracks or meditations. Carving out a place for colleagues to model wellbeing behaviours is contagious, in a great way!
Another initiative could be to introduce a quarterly coffee roulette into your organisation’s schedule, where team members are randomly matched for a 15-minute virtual catch-up with the only requirement to BYO coffee, tea or caffeine free beverage.
Our team members consistently feedback their gratitude for these sessions, enjoying the opportunity to meet someone new or forge a deeper connection with a colleague with whom they’ve only ever talked ‘shop’. This is because the sessions up drive a feeling of social connectedness, which is not only paramount for wellbeing, but crucial to consciously build in a hybrid working world.
To encourage employees to take regular breaks from the desk, we recently inspired our team members in Australia to keep moving and get outside during the southern hemisphere winter and to support our UK team members who were completing the London Legal Walk by running a Global Step Count Challenge. This low-cost, highly engaging activity saw nearly 100 of our employees capturing steps daily with a healthy dose of competition between our two countries.
We have seen great success in introducing a daily ‘wellbeing break’, where all employees’ diaries are blocked for one hour in the middle of the day. The idea of this time is not isolated to eating lunch, rather team members are empowered to choose how they use this time, which could be taking a walk, doing an exercise class or embracing some uninterrupted focus time. Having this in the diary helps others to respect this hour for their colleagues but also encourages our team members to use the time for themselves, as a level of autonomy also drives employees’ wellbeing.
Dedicated time to focus on wellbeing is time well spent
Where there is capacity to make a financial investment in a wellbeing program, we encourage organisations to consider offering time off to employees to focus on their wellbeing.
At PEXA, we have seen amazing uptake and engagement in our ‘wellness days’ benefit, which is a suite of days that can be utilised by employees throughout the calendar year, primarily taken to give people the opportunity to recharge and support their wellbeing. Team members can book in a day in advance or take the leave on the day, and once team members are back at work, we encourage them to share how they spent their wellness day, further encouraging the role modelling of wellbeing behaviours.
Our advice? Just start!
Our employee wellbeing program didn’t start with a detailed set of initiatives in mind. Rather, it was a desire to support and prioritise the wellbeing of our team that prompted us to take the first step, with iterations driven not only by employee feedback, but by external considerations (not in the least the COVID-19 pandemic).
Starting small, particularly with low or no investment initiatives, is a good way to test and learn, and this is particularly the case in today’s rapidly evolving work environment.
Keep the end – an engaged and supported team – in mind, and let this guide the way.