In a post-pandemic world, wellbeing has never been more important within the workplace. Regardless of the size of the business, implementing strategies to boost the mental and physical health of the employees will ensure that they not only feel safe and secure coming into the office, but that the benefits also help them reach their full professional potential.
The foundation of our pioneering community-led workplace environment relies upon the new and innovative ways in which we continually enhance the wellbeing of all those working at Birchwood Park.
Embedded into our culture, workplace wellbeing is very much a cornerstone of the park’s success as we continue to expand upon our status as the North West’s largest out-of-town business destination.
As our parks’ philosophy focuses on the relationship between wellbeing and productivity, we look to help all occupiers empower their employees by providing them with state-of-the-art facilities and ready-made wellbeing initiatives available through our Parklife app.
We truly believe that the office is much more than just a desk, it is an important factor in achieving a great work-life balance.
Calling in the experts
With a community of 6,000 people from 165 companies, we want to continue to inspire and nurture Birchwood Park’s community. Khalil Rener, the wellbeing expert and founder of Rener Wellbeing, who has previously hosted instalments of Wellbeing Webinar series, was invited back by an occupier to deliver a comprehensive and intensive day focusing on employees’ health, happiness, and ways to develop bespoke wellbeing services.
The multinational home appliances and consumer electronics company, Haier, were taken through an immersive Healthy Minds Champions Team Day which was broken down into three sections; team building, developing your own wellbeing action plan and best-in-class reminders on how to support your peers’ wellbeing.
All the work Rener Wellbeing do is tailored to the groups they work with. Therefore, the entire day was formulated through a tailored approach to meet Haier’s specifications in order to maximise the value for each individual participant.
To begin their workshop, Haier employees were given ‘ice-breaker’ tasks to feel comfortable and engaged with each other as well as the Rener Wellbeing team. Firstly, all participating employees were instructed to walk in different directions, until the game leader told them to stop, walk, clap and then jump. Soon after, complexities were added. The instruction to ‘stop’ now meant ‘walk’ and ‘walk’ changed to ‘stop’, and then ‘clap’ was swapped with ‘jump’.
With their communication and listening skills fully activated, participants further broke the ice by introducing themselves and revealing an interesting fact or a funny story, whilst also reaffirming why they chose to become a Healthy Mind Champion.
The next stage involved visual aids. Rener Wellbeing presented a series of photographs of different landscapes, cities and animals, and asked all participants to choose one that best reflected their current mood. We are often not aware of our feelings, which can therefore make it difficult to know what we need to improve our sense of wellbeing. These exercises helped the healthy mind champions to check in with themselves and also become more comfortable to share how they feel with the wider group, normalising that topic.
A fun game they played after, to encourage some creativity, was a best ‘photo caption’ contest, with everyone in pairs being invited to come up with funny or interesting captions for cartoons.
To additionally encourage more team bonding and collaboration opportunities, the next task involved paper, cardboard tubes, and Sellotape. Dividing into small teams, the goal was to make an animal, with a backstory, a superpower and a reason why it would be a good healthy mind champion– in a 20-minute timeframe. Once the modelling was completed, each team presented their animal, articulating an entire back story.
Bespoke wellbeing action plan
To ensure all occupiers gain the most out of the services provided at the park, we are committed to providing services that deliver the most transformational impact. It was therefore important that as part of this day, Haier employees acquired the necessary skill set to develop a bespoke wellbeing action plan that is fit for purpose and long lasting.
This is exactly what working with Rener Wellbeing provided Haier employees; the tools and tips to develop and execute their own bespoke wellbeing strategy. The process started with the introduction of Rener Wellbeing’s holistic approach to mental health, physical activity, sleep and nutrition.
As part of this session, each individual Healthy Minds Champion reinforced their own knowledge on each area of wellbeing; the impact these can have on mental health, happiness and work, and discussed the most effective methods to manage through the areas.
To finish, each participant developed a tangible wellbeing action plan, which was tailored, realistic and adaptable to their own barriers and enablers within each area. The benefits were clear to see. Every action was designed to make their lives and the lives of all Haier employees more manageable, no matter how busy their professional responsibilities become.
Supporting the wellbeing of peers
The penultimate session of the day combined all the learnings from each session and review the role of a Healthy Mind Champion.
Participants were encouraged to share their own ideas and thoughts of what this role entails, and how this can be transferred to any existing wellbeing provisions at Haier. Providing best practice advice, Rener Wellbeing explained that many colleagues have different barriers, enablers and aims to wellbeing, and educated participants on the ways in which Healthy Mind Champions can meet these differing needs.
Whether that’s holding one-to-one conversations about wellbeing, practical tools to encourage and enable wellbeing in the workplace or bespoke action plan development, each individual participant finished the day better prepared to actively help colleagues improve their mental and physical health.
We are proud to say that the day was a complete success and demonstrated the innovative methods that are available for all those working in the Birchwood Park community. But don’t take our word for it, here is what the Haier Wellbeing Champions had to say:
“It was a very valuable refresher. Turning the focus from what we do for others to how we improve our personal wellbeing to then help others through our actions was my key takeaway.”
“It was great to get together as a TEAM, hearing others’ stories, experiences, and ideas from all who took part. It was good participation from all.”
“This has been really beneficial for me. Working as a team and coming up with what each site really needs to help with the wellbeing of our employees is hugely valuable.”
Khalil Rener, Director and Wellbeing Consultant of Rener Wellbeing, comments: “Prioritising the health, happiness and wellbeing of employees is very much an essential part of creating a positive company culture.
“However, this doesn’t just happen overnight. Supporting the physical and mental health of a workforce requires education and consultation. Having previously worked with many local and global organisations, and spending time with Haier beforehand to understand how they wanted the day to run, we were able to tailor specific activities that further enhanced the company’s culture and management support when it came to wellbeing (such as the team building aspect at the start of the day).
“Birchwood Park’s existing services already do a fantastic job to promote the importance and effectiveness of improving workplace wellbeing. With an abundance of onsite activities such as gym and fitness classes or outdoor boot camp and running clubs, to live music lunches and movie nights, the park ensures that all employees get the most out of their life and their role here.”
“Through a holistic approach to wellbeing, which covers mental health, physical activity, sleep and nutrition, social wellbeing, manager support and more, we consulted the champions about techniques and tools to support each other and themselves, whilst also helping them develop tangible wellbeing action plans that would have long last impacts. The day was a great success for all who were involved.”
Martin O’Rourke, Commercial Director at Birchwood Park, adds: “The concept of ‘workplace wellbeing’ is not an entirely new one, but as we’ve gone through significant changes in how we work, it’s now more essential than ever that employers learn what wellbeing in the workplace truly means – and how to implement a better strategy to better support their staff.
“This is why we’ve developed our very own dedicated Wellbeing Hub, which offers a wide range of best practice advice and tips to help it easier for businesses to achieve greater wellbeing at work. This includes our workplace wellbeing handbook, employee wellbeing calculator and our ready-made wellbeing package, which includes the on-site gym Alive & Well, in addition to entire weeks dedicated to wellbeing throughout the year.
“To provide even further value to our occupiers, we’ve also continued to collaborate with Khalil Rener of Rener Wellbeing, to give employers the essential tools they need to thoroughly review, devise, and implement appropriate employee support systems in the workplace.”
To find out more about the wellbeing initiatives here at Birchwood Park, please visit our Wellbeing Hub here: https://www.birchwoodpark.co.uk/wellbeing-hub/.