Encouraging workplace wellbeing - Our people

by Guest Blogger, 29 November 2019
Cambridge Assessment International Education Chief Executive Christine Özden in India

Cambridge Assessment's Health and Wellbeing Advisor Dianne Muir explores the value of workplace wellbeing and the wellbeing programme available to our staff.

At Cambridge Assessment we want our people to thrive and to reach their full potential, and this means encouraging a focus on wellbeing. Dianne MuirAs this becomes an increasingly hot topic today, we spoke to Dianne Muir, Health and Wellbeing Advisor at Cambridge Assessment, about the value of workplace wellbeing and the wellbeing programme available to our staff.

What does wellbeing mean to you?

Wellbeing means something different to everyone and it is actually quite hard to define! But to me, wellbeing is how people feel and function; it’s a subjective state relating to physical and mental health as well as social connection, emotional balance and development opportunity.    

How does Cambridge Assessment support employee wellbeing?

At Cambridge Assessment, we are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our people and encouraging an environment where people feel able to talk about mental and physical health.

We have an established staff wellbeing programme, ‘Healthy You’, which takes a holistic approach to wellbeing and is comprised of three strands; ‘Healthy Mind’, ‘Healthy Body’ and ‘Healthy Community’. The wellbeing programme offers a wide range of activities and initiatives to encourage our people to look after their wellbeing; access to onsite fitness classes, wellbeing seminars and webinars, mental health information and guidance, as well as onsite appointments including massage, reflexology and chiropractic appointments.

We recognise that in our busy lives it can be difficult to make time to focus on our health and wellbeing. Through facilitating healthy lifestyle choices in the workplace, providing guidance and information, and encouraging a culture of flexible working we hope to make this a little easier.

Have you seen any change in the engagement with the wellbeing programme in your time at Cambridge Assessment?

We rebranded our Wellbeing Programme in 2018 to focus specifically on Healthy Mind, Healthy Body and Healthy Community. The rebrand coincided with the opening of the Triangle Building in Cambridge, and we’ve seen a huge increase in engagement since. Engagement with onsite activities has increased dramatically, and a number of new staff-led groups have formed including a Cambridge Assessment choir, sewing bee, board games groups and craft group.

The Healthy Mind initiative has also seen huge boost in engagement. Nationally people are beginning to feel more comfortable in speaking about their mental health and this is also true at Cambridge Assessment.  Our group of ‘Healthy Mind Ambassadors’ are on hand to provide a non-judgmental listening ear, and our Healthy Mind Staff Network helps to facilitate the conversation around mental health in the workplace.  We continually review our programme of mental health training for line managers to ensure that they are equipped with the skills to have meaningful conversations around mental health.

What do you enjoy about your role as Health and Wellbeing Advisor?

I’ve worked within the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Team at Cambridge Assessment for around four years and love the variety that it brings – everything from organising training and developing the wellbeing programme, to meeting with individuals to discuss their requirements. I get to work with a huge number of people from across the organisation which is something that I really enjoy. I am proud to work for an organisation that values its people - we know that we can achieve great things when our people are at their best!

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of launching a wellbeing programme in their workplace?

There’s a lot of information out there around the value of employee wellbeing programmes, familiarise yourself with the benefits to build your business case - wellbeing programmes can be mutually advantageous for both employees and their employers.

The first step may be around encouraging honest conversations around wellbeing, making employees feel that it’s ok to discuss their wellbeing issues and their mental health. There’s a lot of guidance available on effective conversations. Put wellbeing on the agenda and engage with managers so they feel confident checking in on the wellbeing of their teams.

You should understand your organisation and your people and provide options so people can make choices relevant to them. Why not start some low-cost activities such as crafting hours, lunchtime walks, breakfast clubs and breakout spaces so people can get together and socialise. Read up on the five ways to wellbeing to get some inspiration!

Dianne Muir

Health and Wellbeing Advisor

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