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The ever-increasing importance of Wellbeing

By Anne Neave, Director of HR

We live in an increasingly complex and fast paced world with more and more demands on our lives – both at home and work. It is no wonder therefore that at times many of us feel the pressures of life. The good news is that we are all however becoming much better at talking about our general health, particularly our mental health, recognising the need to think more about our wellbeing in its widest sense.

At Xaar we believe the wellbeing of our employees is critical. Not only do we want our people to be well and healthy for their own personal benefit, but research also shows that companies who have employees with high levels of wellbeing perform better. Happy staff deliver excellent customer service and both our staff and our customers are hugely important to us.

Indeed, the evidence of the impact of tackling risk factors to health such as smoking, physical activity and obesity is clear. A survey of 25,000 health workers found that those who smoked are twice as likely to take time off work, and a study of Transport for London found workers with obesity (BMI>30) take an average of three sick days more annually than those of normal weight (BMI<25), and those with severe obesity (BMI>35) take six days more. By companies helping their employees’ wellbeing the benefit to both parties is mutual. That is why we have launched our wellbeing initiative this May.

Employee wellbeing can’t be seen as a generic, one size fits all approach. It is by its nature very personal and different for each of us. Therefore we have a range of activities so that people can select what suits them personally. These not only focus on mental and physical health, but also cover areas such as defining career goals and providing employee feedback, encouraging all our staff to update their own development plans and discuss progress regularly with their managers.

In fact, we have a huge variety of activities going on throughout the month including games, quizzes, mental health awareness promotions, advice and information, wellness walks, meditation, cycle to work scheme promotions, clubbercise, football tournaments and a sports themed Fun Friday. There really is something for everyone!

Wellbeing underpins engagement throughout Xaar and our management will be leading by example on this, encouraging all their teams’ participation throughout our activities in May and beyond. It’s extremely important that our wellbeing initiative is not seen as being completed within our awareness month this May. It is now part of the way we do things and the support we provide to all employees. As an example, our weekly yoga class for employees highlights a longstanding approach to wellbeing. Yoga provides multiple health benefits – from increased flexibility and lower blood pressure, to being good for the mind through teaching discipline and self-control – and our weekly classes give the opportunity for our employees to continually benefit.

As another example, our private health insurance and comprehensive flexible benefits scheme means people can tailor their benefits to suit their own personal lifestyle, choosing from a number of wellbeing options such as massage, chiropody, optical and dental care.

All Xaar employees also have access to an occupational health service and confidential counselling helpline (EAP) and with all these we think choice is important to enable us to cover the wide variety of differing needs and situations people face. As we said before, wellbeing is not a one-size-fits-all approach, it’s personal and defined by each person’s unique requirements.

It is clear to really succeed, wellbeing needs to become embedded into our culture at Xaar, which means everyone at all levels of the business getting engaged with it. Whilst it won’t happen overnight, I am very proud of the start we have made as a business and believe we are making steps in the right direction. It is now my job and part of all our jobs to ensure we keep the momentum going. Wellbeing is simply too important to be just a month’s initiative; it is now a part of being at Xaar. #WeAreXaar #Wellbeing

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