Building a healthier workplace, one strategy at a time, with Lucy Cotterell, Mogers Drewett’s Human Resources Consultant
In a world full of workplace buzzwords – ‘productivity paranoia’, anyone? – perhaps the one with the most crucial real-world application is ‘wellness’. A subtle mutation of the old ‘health and wellbeing’, this holistic concept looks at our mental health, our physical health and our financial health in the round: the ways in which these impact upon our work, and how our work affects them. Increasingly, employers are putting robust strategies in place to head off potential problems at the pass.
“Looking after your employees isn’t just the right thing to do,” says Lucy Cotterell, Mogers Drewett’s Human Resources Consultant, “but improves performance and profitability too. If you or I can turn up at work and feel like we’re making a real contribution, we’ll be happier – and we’ll probably do a better job. There’ll be fewer absences, fewer complaints, fewer stressed people: just a happier workforce all round. And this is especially important in the light of the recent pandemic and current cost of living crisis.”
But how to achieve it? Happily, Mogers Drewett offers a range of Wellness Action Plans that set out strategies to do just this, while also alerting workers and managers to triggers that might impact their mental health. Some offer proactive help, from yoga sessions to sports days – prevention rather than cure, you could say – while others are more reactive, designed to address specific concerns. “All, though, are about promoting opportunities for people to look after themselves,” Lucy explains.
Of course, many employers are tempted to treat those factors employees bring into the workplace separately from those that are a direct result of the workplace itself. But doing so ignores the fact that one almost always impacts upon the other.
“If there’s an illness in the family,” Lucy explains, “being flexible about working hours might be the best way to help. But equally, a company that offers private healthcare might look to extend this to the family member. In many instances, it’s simply about being more flexible.”
But what if it’s a fundamental aspect of the job that’s adversely affecting people? This could be overwork, safety concerns, poor management, or any of a hundred factors. “There are many potential issues, but they often boil down to making sure people are treated fairly,” Lucy says. “The solution can be as simple as improving communication. Are there good mechanisms to get and give feedback? Is performance properly reviewed?”
We’re here to help
When Mogers Drewett starts working with an employer , it often begins with managers and employees sitting down to talk through all the things that might affect performance and mental health and wellness are increasingly identified as key performance factors. “We then help design and implement tailored Wellness Action Plans,” Lucy says, “often bringing in Mogers Drewett Financial Planning too. After all, an element of wellness is financial health, so if we can help people get that in order, it takes some of the burden away.”
Naturally, Mogers Drewett’s involvement can be as limited or extensive as you like.
“One useful thing we offer is a retained Human Resources support service,” Lucy says, “as often the problem isn’t to do with the strategy, but with properly implementing it. For employers too small to have their own dedicated HR department, we can perform that function – a perfect solution where the HR function has become part of the workload of the office manager, say. We’re here as a resource, offering expertise in all functions of HR and employment law which all feeds into to a better performing business”