Rutherford Cross’ Gillian O’Neil is part of the Livingston James Group’s Wellness Team. Here the former fitness industry professional discusses the importance of prioritising employee health and wellbeing as part of creating a supportive and welcoming company culture.
At present, recruiters are seeing a very busy job market, with many more opportunities available than in previous years. This is great news for the jobseeker, making finding suitable roles easier and even sometimes giving them the luxury of choice. On the other hand, this may find the employer asking what more they need to offer to attract and retain good people in such a competitive market.
In addition to the salary offered by an organisation, the culture a company creates for its employees also takes centre stage. There are many factors that play a part in a company’s culture, from the company values, dress code, and office layout, to the benefits, perks, and working model offered. Essentially it is how a company treats its employees and the environment it creates for them working there.
Employee Health & Wellbeing
“I truly believe that if you take care of your employees,
they will take care of your business.” – Richard Branson
A good place to start when thinking about company culture is employee health and wellbeing. This should be especially important after the impacts of Covid-19, which has changed the way in which many of us now work.
Home-working undoubtedly comes with many benefits however, as a result, some people can experience feelings of isolation and even a decrease in physical activity. Both can have detrimental effects on an employee’s mental and physical health. So, if offering a remote or hybrid working model, what can employers do to help?
After working in the fitness industry for over 10 years, it is ironic that since making the move to Rutherford Cross, it is the first time I have had the opportunity to be part of a ‘Wellness Team’. I can say first-hand the positive impact I feel from being a part of this team. Not only is it helping to improve employee health and wellbeing through the ideas and initiatives we action, but it is also extremely rewarding to see the impact of our ideas.
For me, being part of a small team of my colleagues, where we discuss non-work-related topics and plan and action, our ideas have also been a very enjoyable part of it. Encouraging teams like this within a workplace will really help employees come together and get a real sense of belonging within the company, which could in return help combat feelings of isolation if they are remote working.
Yoga in the Office
As part of the Wellness Team, each quarter we aim to offer something different. Just the same as company culture will be a different experience for every individual, we understand what is important to everyone’s health and wellbeing will be different to them as well. This quarter, I have had the joy of offering lunch-time yoga classes to our team. I have been doing the sessions in person in our offices and streaming them online for those working at home to join in too.
After recently making my career change from the fitness industry to recruitment, I felt really privileged to be able to bring something that I am so passionate about into my new workplace. I am a qualified yoga teacher, and regularly practice yoga myself and I have really enjoyed sharing some of the benefits of yoga with my colleagues.
Over the years, yoga has been amazing for both my physical and mental health. My strength and flexibility have improved greatly through regular practice, and I enjoy the feeling of building up to and getting stronger in certain postures. It also helps calm my mind and gives me a little boost after practicing. This has been particularly great as I feel refreshed and focused when returning to work after a lunchtime yoga class.
There have been many studies done to back up the science behind the benefits of yoga such as:
- Decreasing stress by reducing cortisol levels
- Improving brain function by increasing blood flow to the brain
- Improving sleep due to the after-effects of exercise and the mental calming provided by yoga specifically
- Improving cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure through physical postures and breathwork
- Improving flexibility by stretching muscles in specific yoga poses which helps to strengthen the muscle fibers and increase their resilience
The list of benefits goes on, but overall I feel it plays a massive part in bringing the team together and encouraging us to feel better through movement.
Changing career has been huge for me and there has been a lot to learn in the process. However, I could not have asked for a more welcoming and supportive team as the one at Rutherford Cross. The company culture that has been created here is truly the best I have experienced. Our strong company values are shown through the actions of the team, and it is clear that employee health and wellbeing is a priority for the company, something that I believe should be essential for every business.