Workplace Wellbeing Professional (WWP) had the chance to sit down with CEO Louise Doyle to discuss the growing importance of employee wellbeing and the value of workplace wellness days. 

Louise Doyle is CEO of needi, a concierge gift-matching service using psychology and AI to pinpoint gifts that aid the health and wellbeing of workforces. Louise feels passionate about the wellbeing of working teams and her number one aim is to help companies make their staff feel good.

Louise’s team help to provide organisations with thank-you gifts for small start-ups to wellbeing events for FTSE 100 companies. Her company helps employers to motivate and retain staff and clients through thoughtful gifting, events and experience days. In light of her experience supporting organisations in the strive for a happier and healthier workforce, WWP asked the following:

Why do you feel it has become so important for organisations to protect and enhance the wellbeing of staff in recent years?

There are so many reasons why this is important.

If you look at the last few years in particular, it’s been hard on many people. The whole world has shifted from working in offices to being at home. The hybrid workforce has left employees blurring the lines between work and home life.

Employers need to adjust their traditional processes. No longer can they say to staff “this is work time now, switch off from everything else and on you go”. These days, employees could be trying to work from home with their kids sitting on their lap, or they could have somebody ill in the house.

It’s so important for employers to show a level of empathy to prevent things such as burnout and depression.  Most importantly though, we are all humans, and we spend so much of our lives at work that it should be an enjoyable place to be. I think employers have a real duty of care to ensure that we feel okay and looked after at work because it has a huge impact on our mental wellbeing.

What is a mindfulness session and why might employers look to offer these in the hope to improve staff wellbeing?

Mindfulness sessions are fantastic.

They come in all shapes and sizes. Some cater towards new mums who may be feeling overwhelmed with too much on their minds. The mindfulness session is an opportunity for them to spend one hour of their day to relax, think about something else and be distracted by something completely different. These sessions encourage us to let go of the current pressures of life and find a little bit of joy and happiness.

There are other variations where mindfulness coaches go into the office and give mindful sessions at work. They will encourage you to take one hour out of your day to put all of those unanswered emails aside and turn your phone on silent. They are an opportunity to refresh, boost your mental wellbeing and start over again.

The reason why they are so important is because we are switched on all the time. Due to our phones, laptops and technology, we are constantly contactable. This can create high levels of stress for people who may struggle to deal with this. Having just one mindfulness session per week is proven to be really great for your body, mind, heart and wellbeing.

What role can fitness play in supporting the wellbeing of employees?

It’s huge. Absolutely huge.

Recently, one of our staff members was really struggling with the workload. They had a lot going on in their personal life too. One of the things that we talked about that really helped as she went through this tough time was yoga classes. She told herself that even if she hadn’t finished her tasks by 3 o’clock, she would still walk out the door and attend her class. Afterwards, she felt absolutely amazing for it.

One of our merchants is a personal trainer who gives online personal training and nutrition advice. Again, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of how that has mentally impacted her in a positive way. One of her clients is somebody who was feeling very unfit and unenthusiastic about life. However, once they started attending Sophie’s training, after a few weeks he had transformed into a new person.

Ultimately, employers should encourage their staff to participate in regular exercise because it helps significantly in terms of a positive outlook on life and even concentration.

In your experience, what has been the most useful strategy or tool employers have taken on board when implementing successful workplace wellbeing?

I think wellness days are a really good way of doing it.

We have a great client called Glandore who offer staff wellness days. They’ll have people come into the office and provide staff with a yoga instructor, a smoothie bike (where you can cycle and make your smoothies at the same time) and mindfulness sessions. They will do a full day looking after the staff which is not only great, but the staff really appreciate it as well.

A company that really surprised me was Enterprise Rent a Car. Despite being a massive company, they really take the time to look after their staff. Whether it’s through little gifts to say: “well done you’ve completed your training” or, “you’ve reached a milestone”, it truly helped the employees to feel valued. Enterprise also supports employee families and working parents. They regularly put on special events and offer support to them. They’re helping women in business to progress as well.

There are so many things for organisations to think about when implementing employee wellness and wellbeing support in the workplace, but I feel the wellness days are a great route to take.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.