In the lead up to the WayAhead Workplaces Annual Members' Forum later this month, we got in touch with our speakers to ask them their thoughts on workplace wellbeing. Here is our conversation with Georgie Drury of Springday.
What is the most rewarding part of your work on workplace wellbeing?
Springday was born out my three great passions for technology, innovation, and wellbeing. It’s extremely rewarding to work at the forefront of the digital innovations happening in this industry and understand the potential to help people and organisations be well-thy. We’re seeing a big shift from organisations viewing wellbeing as a cost, to seeing the value of investing in human capital. Thriving people are at the heart of thriving organisations. And at the end of the day, people want to work for companies that value them.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
From the moment I wake to the moment I fall asleep there isn’t a second to lose. My typical work day doesn’t involve much time at Springday’s headquarters. I travel. A lot! I’m focused on building Springday’s presence in Asia Pacific, so a lot of time is spent working in airport lounges, on planes, and in meetings. When I’m home, I hit the gym at 6am most mornings. Then juggle making school lunches and spending time with my kids, with answering phone calls and emails. I love my work, and technology means I can do a lot of things on the move.
What are some of the challenges of your work?
Employee health and wellbeing is a key focus of some of the world’s most successful and innovative organisations. However, some businesses I encounter still don’t understand the value of wellbeing and look at you like you’re an alien! It’s challenging trying to turn around entrenched attitudes, but at the end of the day, the research speaks for itself. By the time you factor in high turnover rates, employee absenteeism and presenteeism and general employee morale and energy levels, not having a workplace wellness strategy can be very costly.
What has been your best experience working on employee wellbeing initiatives and research?
Seeing firsthand how innovative organisations are moving from a narrow and reactionary approach to health, to a preventative approach to wellbeing. This takes the whole person into account - the psychological, social, financial and career aspects of wellbeing, not just the physical. For these companies, employee health and wellbeing isn’t just something they pay lip service to; they invest time, energy and resources into creating a culture that embraces wellness and consider it a vital part of business strategy.
What are the most exciting improvements in mental health in the workplace have you seen since you started working in the sector?
It’s exciting to witness the developments in digital technology and how it’s transforming how we can support mental health in the workplace through early intervention. There’s a huge appetite for combining data and AI to customise content and personalise the employee journey. For organisations, data provides rich insights that enable them to responsive and strategic about wellbeing investment, rather than using a best guess approach. For employees, digital interventions can channel personalised support and education to those people who might be struggling psychologically, but don’t have the financial means or motivation to seek face to face counselling, before they reach crisis point.
What can workplaces do to better support their employees’ wellbeing?
As with most relationships, the employer’s relationship with the employee relies on a sense of mutual trust and respect. Demonstrating to employees that you care about their wellbeing is a key way to show staff that they are valued. Engagement, motivation, support and strategy are the keys to a successful program.
In my experience, companies who succeed in workplace wellbeing do the following things:
- They lead by example and ensure wellbeing programs align to the strategic direction of the business and embed it within company culture, at all levels
- They understand wellbeing is holistic. Wellbeing encompasses physical, psychological, social, financial, and career health.
- They embrace technology and view wellbeing as a fundamental part of the employee experience.
- They understand the importance of engaging employees with programs that are innovative, personalised and accessible.
- They innovate, either from within, or by partnering with experts in the field such as Springday.
You can hear more from Georgie Drury at the WayAhead Annual Workplaces Members' Forum on Friday 22nd of July.
Non-members are welcome to attend; please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
Read about Megan Kingham, Emily Coppla, Katherine Winlaw and Tim Sharp who will also be speaking on the day.