Ashleigh Sharman discovers how to create wellness in the workplace — and this time it’s not all about the client.
The buzz-word of 2015, ‘wellness’ is having a moment. From social media to celebrity, community to corporate offices, aspects of wellness are being considered like never before.
The fact we all lead busy lives is a given, so to be able to improve wellbeing and feel calmer, less stressed, healthier, even at peace with our emotions, is nothing but a good thing with many companies getting on board to improve the lives of employees and in turn, workplace performance.
Yoga Australia estimates some 300,000 people currently practice yoga in Australia and chances are these are not only your clients, but your staff.
“Yoga is currently Australia’s 13th most popular physical activity and steadily increasing in popularity but at its heart, yoga is a practice of mindfulness and with regular practice, this mindfulness can be incorporated into other activities and areas of life,” says Yoga Australia President, Claire Nettley.
It follows then that, alongside a business offering for clients and guests — as seen at properties including Golden Door Elysia and Park Hyatt Sydney — that employees also benefit from the practice.
“At Park Hyatt Sydney, we understand the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, both for staff and residing guests,” says marketing communications manager, Maryam Awang.
“For staff it is a wonderful way to encourage the practice of wellbeing and fitness in their everyday lives, and for guests, just because you’re away from home, does not mean you should miss out on the comforts that keep you happy and healthy.
“And our staff absolutely love it! They make the effort to attend the classes because it sets their day off to a good start and a happy colleague makes for a happy working environment.”
And so, in an industry where client care comes first, many beauty businesses are turning their attention to the wellbeing of staff — bringing to life the mantra of inner health for outer beauty.
Wellness at Naked Tan HQ means one of founder Lea Taylor’s famous ‘pampering of the soul’ days. With her friendship circles known to include mediums, clairvoyants, yoga teachers, Reiki masters and intuitive astrologists, staff enjoy mind, body and spirit experiences to enrich their lives and nurture their career.
“I believe it’s as important to care for your spirit and soul as it is your mind and body,” says Lea.
“There is nothing more aligning than an energy session, be it a Reiki massage, chakra healing or something fun such as an intuitive session or having your numerology chart done. We have also offered weekly yoga classes for over a year now and I believe it gives my staff a positive approach to life, creating a balance of physical and mental wellbeing in a tranquil and calm energetic surrounding.
“These sessions maintain positive attitude, motivate and up-lift staff, creating and building on a harmonious team environment,” Lea adds.
Recently putting in place a corporate wellness initiative for employees, BLC Cosmetics offer fully-funded weekly yoga and meditation classes with a professional instructor to all NSW-based team members.
“Yoga is an activity that is flexible with adaptations to suit virtually any participant and because the majority of our team have desk jobs we wanted a way to achieve movement that would also help correct posture by stretching through muscles that shorten by sitting and working at a computer,” explains general manager, Nicola Gleeson, a firm believer that healthy living values don’t stop when employees walk through your door.
“Many of the brands we represent have wellness and health based philosophies, and as the company’s General Manager and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition I want to make sure our team practice what we preach.
“We also wanted to introduce our team to the benefits of breath work and meditation to show them the advantages of a practice that focuses on the spiritual self, as well as physical and mental well-being.
“Judging by the blissed out energy after our classes the biggest benefit is muscle release and stress management. Our team have reported feeling fully revived after a week at work and that the class is the perfect prelude to their weekend. They have also commented on the unity it brings across all departments of the business,” Nicola adds.
Fashion fitness guru Lorna Jane, and Move Nourish Believe (MNB) advocate, practices what she preaches running weekly lunchtime yoga for up to 30 staff, across all departments, in the company’s head office training room in addition to creating other opportunities for wellness.
“We understand how difficult it can be to eat well and fit in exercise when you lead a busy life,” admits Lorna Jane who says she is always looking for more ways to help staff live their very best active lives.
“Our head office has a gym which can be accessed for free by all staff and we recently added a nourishing café providing healthy breakfast and lunch options, plus raw treats for the team. The kitchen always has a topped up fruit bowl for mindful snacking and we are often treated to the results of our MNB team’s recipe testing.”
From entering fun runs as a corporate team to hosting fundraising morning teas with a Lorna Jane twist (think raw treats, tea and frittata), the Lorna Jane philosophy of Active Living is all about getting more out of life by ‘giving more of yourself every day’.
“We want to provide our team with options to support their active lifestyle, encourage team building exercises and of course create a work environment they love being part of every day,” Lorna adds.
Supporting an active lifestyle is also at the core of InSkin Cosmedics’ ‘O Saturday Sessions’. Forming a partnership with personal trainer Nathan Meola, each week Nathan creates a workout video, post or blog published across the brand’s digital platforms — encouraging fitness in the lives of staff, clients and supporters alike.
“The workouts are achievable, adaptable to any fitness level, and based on low-cost and little equipment. They have been a hit with staff as well as our partners!” says digital and social media manager, Cassandra Cocciolone.
“The most notable benefit has been open communication within our team about wellness. Understanding what our bodies need to make our working days successful, supporting one another and the internal encouragement has been a fantastic side-effect of our wellness endeavours. It also seems to have minimised the amount of chocolate coming in the door!”
By now you’ve hopefully decided you want to be a company which lives and breathes wellbeing, and there is perhaps no better example than The Blackmores Campus.
Offering a new generation workplace, staff enjoy a Wellbeing Centre which incorporates treatment rooms for massage, reflexology and naturopathy, a yoga and pilates area, a fully equipped gym with a qualified personal trainer, and a 20 metre lap pool.
Weekly running clubs and meditation classes are also on offer whilst the staff café provides a range of healthy, nutritious meals and refreshments for employees at subsidised cost, using culinary herbs grown in the Maurice Blackmore memorial gardens on site.
“Having the option to exercise, practice mindfulness, eat healthily and be your best at work has very positive impacts on the business,” says Blackmores’ Jess McCallum.
“Staff report being more productive and motivated and staff retention is also very high with many colleagues saying they are more relaxed, healthy and happy.”
So whether you decide to take time out on the mat with your staff, encourage healthy eating or provide fitness incentives, wellness is no longer a private crusade but an interactive one that can profoundly influence the wellbeing of staff — armed with a return on investment that ranks off the charts.