Wellbeing at Bright Horizons – Tackling stigma and offering meaningful support

Bright Horizons is very proud to sponsor This Can Happen. With 1 in 4 employees in the UK experiencing a mental health challenge this year alone, supporting the wellbeing of our people has never been more important for both the individuals and our organisation.  Research has shown that mental health challenges are the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK and are significantly impacting people’s ability to grow and thrive both at home and in the workplace. Poor employee mental health is also proving costly to employers, both in terms of productivity and engagement, at an average of £1,035 per employee per year.

Tackling the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace and providing meaningful support is therefore paramount. At Bright Horizons, we have recognised this and are committed to creating workplace cultures where our people feel happy, supported and able to bring their whole selves to work.

Supporting Working Families

With a growing number of people balancing work alongside family life, a key part of our approach is to provide solutions that enable families to be at their very best. Our 2018 Modern Families Index told us that for the majority, family life comes first but the pressures of balancing work and family life are taking their toll, with a third of families feeling burnt out all or most of the time and identifying work as the main cause. The impact is certainly significant too, with an equal number failing to take enough exercise, eating unhealthily and arguing with their partner as a result.

Flexible working is something that we are committed to offering and last year, we were delighted to launch our new Bright Start programme: revolutionising the workplace for those who must be present. Bright Start has enabled our nursery colleagues to pursue and continue a career in a sector that they might have otherwise thought not possible; becoming a permanent team member, receiving training and development and being offered opportunities for progression – all the while working completely flexibly on days and at times convenient for them.

And we haven’t stopped there.

Following feedback from our annual Employee Experience Survey, we have also recognised that wellbeing goes beyond flexibility and it must be widened to continue to provide additional relevant, meaningful support for all of our people across the UK. After careful consideration, we have enhanced our wellbeing approach to include three intertwined strands: Emotional, Physical and Financial. Each strand has its own impact on mental health, and our approach is to support employees to be healthy and happy at work, as well as at home.

Emotional Wellbeing

Our emotional wellbeing support tools are numerous and include an Employee Assistance Programme; use of our Occupational Health Advisors; plus our online ‘I WILL’ resources which provide information and support tools on the 16 most popular health and wellbeing topics. We are also delighted to have introduced free access to a variety of training courses to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace as well as provide managers with tools to help their team members.

Physical Wellbeing

We recognise that caring for a loved one who is ill, disabled or elderly can be valuable and rewarding, but without the right support, caring can have an impact on an individual’s physical wellbeing, job, finances and social life. Last year we teamed up with Carers UK to offer carers in our workforce ‘Digital Resource for Carers’, a comprehensive solution that brings together Carers UK’s digital products and online resources with Bright Horizons’ own information and support for carers. Our Back-Up Care programme also provides a network of childcare and adult care solutions for when an individual’s planned care provision breaks down.  An absent nanny or an ill loved one can be a significant stress point for employees and Back-Up Care provides practical and meaningful support.

Financial Wellbeing

Employees of all ages state finances as a major concern. Worrying about money can be a huge cause of stress, with a detrimental impact on mental health.  Research highlights that six in ten employees struggle to keep on top of day to day finances and 8% of the UK workforce admit to taking time off work because of financial stress (Neyber, 2016).  Enhancing support for financial wellbeing was seen as a priority to support employees and earlier this year we were delighted to announce a partnership with Nudge: providing information on 24 key areas of interest that span across all ages and life stages. Whether employees want to understand more about pensions, buying or renting a first home, saving for a holiday or planning for that holiday of a lifetime, Nudge provides personalised, confidential and independent financial education.

At Bright Horizons, we believe that a good work-life balance underpins wellbeing and as an organisation we can take a leading role: creating jobs that encourage work-life balance and providing support for sustainable family life.

As part of our sponsorship we are delighted to be offering complimentary back-up childcare to all delegates attending This Can Happen. If you’d like to arrange care, please contact info@tchevents.com.

We look forward to seeing you at the event.

About the author

Zoe Sinclair is the founder of Employees Matter, the largest provider of employee engagement seminars and webinars in the UK.

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