Studies indicate over 1/2 of adults and 2/3 of young people said their mental health worsened during lockdown. Because of this, it is important now more than ever for employers to monitor wellbeing. As part of AYOM’s development of people, we have introduced the "employee assistance programme".
Back in February 2019, AYOM achieved our 1st ever IIP accreditation. Investors In People is a standard for those looking to create a positive and engaging workplace. As part of this programme, we have annual reviews with a focus on progress made. With the world in so much turmoil this year, we have had to make a lot of changes. We’ve introduced working from home and altered our communication. We have also however had an eye on our teams, their wellbeing and mental health. Health.org released figures that indicate during the pandemic, many people were seeing increased worry. 63% worried about the future, 56% felt anxious and 49% suffered from boredom. This could be down to lack of seeing people, working by yourself or being furloughed.
As we returned to work, AYOM's HR team investigated how to help our employees. The second lockdown has seen over 99% of staff transformed into work from home. With the above stats in mind, we decided to join the employee assistance programme.
The programme, overseen by Health Assured aids staff and their families. This includes access to several services including:
- Critical incident management
- Counselling services
- A health & wellbeing portal
- Bereavement services
- Access to the My Healthy Advantage app
The service allows employees to contact specialists for issues including emotional problems, financial distress and legal support. Services include CBT, consultancy, coaching, legal advice and more. The most impactful change of the service though has so far been the app.
My healthy advantage
Health Assured's app has already been a big hit just days into its debut. The app contains useful features including health checks, mood checkers and wellbeing programmes. The 4-week programmes provide a range of assistance for lifestyle changes including:
- Staying hydrated
- Quitting smoking
- Coping with change
- Managing pressure
- Reducing caffeine
- Sleeping better
- Eating healthier
- Improving energy levels
Several employees have pledged to try the programmes for personal reasons. Dan from the marketing team has taken up the drinking more water programme. He said "during lockdown I have had mornings where I've woken up with some headaches. I've also had other signs of dehydration. It's something we often overlook so I thought it'd be a good idea to follow the daily check list. Hopefully I’ll improve my general health.""
He's joined by Operations Manager Zoe who aims to improve her sleep patterns. She told us "with working from home, and being in a small flat, I work in the living room. I then head to the bedroom when I finish to chill out. It's made my bedroom less of a sleeping place and more a living room. I think that this, plus the added pressures of lockdown has brought on some insomnia. I'm hoping to make use of it and have a nice December!"
Not ending there, Laura in the collections team is joining in, opting for the sleep plan and improving energy. Laura has made use of a feature of the app called "bright TV" which are short videos from people who have experienced issues with their stories. The videos include their experiences and how they worked through their problems.
We've also had positive engagement from other departments including Customer Services, HR, Lead Generation and Sales. We hope to provide an update in 4 weeks time to see how the team are getting on.
Ongoing people strategies
HR Manager Linzi has strived to introduce a scheme like the EAP for some time. As part of our strategy to grow and improve, taking care of our teams is high in the priority list. While improving our brand, performance and market share are all important, we can’t do it without happy, healthy teams.
Speaking about seeking out the programme, HR manager Linzi was very pleased to have brought the programme on board.
"I became aware of Employee Assistance Programmes some time last year during a work seminar. If we were to have one employee benefit, I hoped it would be this. It can be difficult to think of an employee benefit that will appeal to everyone. This though, felt like it could be of use to all."
"It's not a hollow offering. There are real, genuine intentions behind what we want to give to people. We want to improve wellbeing. We want our employees to be happy and healthy. The Employee Assistance Programme offers real, professional, and qualified support. It will go a long way in helping us to achieve this goal. It’s a huge benefit for employees, managers, and immediate family members."