Leading software and IT company Xperience, with offices in Lisburn and across the East of England, are reaping the rewards of the free Work Well Live Well programme, delivered by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS) and funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA), which is available to local businesses aiming to improve workplace health and wellbeing.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in seismic changes to both the way that work is carried out in many industries, and to the state of the job market. With many organisations experiencing difficulty attracting and maintaining staff due to changes in employee expectations, business owners have been seeking new ways to step up to address these issues. Xperience have found the Work Well Live programme has supported them to scale these hurdles.
Aileen Slingsby, People Director at Xperience, says, “Our ultimate vision is to create a healthy working environment that supports the wellbeing of our people and enables them to fulfil their full potential at work as their authentic self.”
“We initially signed up to the programme as, based on employee survey feedback, Xperience knew that Health & Wellbeing initiatives were a priority for staff, and after a member of our People Team saw the ‘Work Well Live Well’ Programme advertised on Linkedin, we knew it would be the perfect way to kick-start our wellbeing strategy.”
Work Well Live Well is a free workplace health and wellbeing support programme delivered by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS) and funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA). The aim of Work Well Live Well is to help local workplaces to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees through personalised support. As part of the programme, NICHS support organisations with carrying out a health and wellbeing survey, developing a bespoke, 3-year action plan for their team as well as providing access to training, webinars, resources and networking opportunities.
Aileen continues, “We have received Health Champion training for representatives across the company, as well as launching our Mental Health First Aid service following an NICHS supported course. NICHS kindly delivered a talk on stress in our Lisburn office and conducted on-site physical health checks for our staff. We also regularly encourage staff to attend the online webinars provided such as the recent ‘Yoga for Lower Back Pain’.”
“In terms of other wellbeing initiatives, we have increased our annual leave entitlement to 30 days regardless of service, introduced an extra day of ‘birthday leave’ each year, implemented a hybrid working policy, provided annual flu vaccinations, celebrated various national awareness campaigns such as Mental Health Awareness Week and Menopause Awareness Day, provided one to one financial advice sessions for staff, refurbished our offices to encourage collaborative working and dedicated break spaces, and partnered with Guide Dogs UK to provide an animal therapy session.”
“Our employee satisfaction scores have improved by over 10% since we began the programme, with ‘Work & Life Blend’ being the top scoring area in our employee engagement surveys. Our wellbeing initiatives have also been a good opportunity to bring people back together in a face-to-face environment following the pandemic.”
To other businesses considering signing up, Aileen says, “We really can’t think of any downsides to signing up! The initial survey provided us with valuable data which helped us to know where to focus our efforts first in order to make the biggest impact. Christine from NICHS has been a fantastic source of ongoing support and advice, and one of the best things about the programme is that you can take everything at your own pace, depending on the resources you have available.”
Emma McCrudden, Work Well Live Well Programme Manager at Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke says; “As a local charity, our mission is to prevent chest, heart and stroke conditions and support people affected and our vision is a healthy Northern Ireland free from chest, heart and stroke illnesses. We recognise that the workplace is a priority setting for influencing the physical and mental wellbeing of employees and delivering the PHA funded Work Well Live Well programme is just one way that we are working to promote good health in workplaces across Northern Ireland to prevent serious illness in the long term.”
“Xperience is a great example of a workplace which wanted to make a positive change and put staff health first. The initiatives put in place by Xperience have been a great success and have made a real difference to the health and wellbeing of the team. We are now recruiting new workplaces to take part in the programme and would encourage organisations of all types and sizes to get in touch to find out how Work Well Live Well can help them.”
For more information and to register for Work Well Live Well, visit nichs.org.uk/workwelllivewell