We go beyond: How we look after employee health as a B Corp

We go beyond: How we look after employee health as a B Corp

Posted by Maddy Leslie Picture of Maddy Leslie on 9 March 2023
Senior Marketing Manager and copywriter for Articulate Marketing. Specialist in writing about writing, marketing, strategy, technology and geekery. Writer of puns and the words between puns. They say talking to yourself is the first sign of content marketing. Expert parenthesis user (so it is said).
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As much as health is a personal journey, businesses are responsible for employee health at work. By supporting your employees’ wellbeing, you will have a happy team and a more resilient company overall.

Today, as part of B Corp month, we’re sharing what we do to support employee health. Throughout March, Articulate is joining the movement as we share how We Go Beyond as a business that is a force for good.

Employee health is one such area where we’ve put in an exceptional amount of work, so we wanted to expand on that story here on the blog. Read on for inspiration on how you, too, can go beyond to look after your employees’ health.

(Check out our other stories on social media at #WeGoBeyond #NetGoodMarketing and #BCorpMonth. Find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.)

UPDATE 21/3/23: We have been nominated by the Company Culture Awards for Best Mental Health Awareness Initiative (in-house)!

First, what is ‘We Go Beyond’ for B Corp Month?

B Corps are organisations that are committed to more than simply profit. They aim to have a positive impact on people and the environment. In fact, there are more than 1000 B Corps in the UK (over 6000 worldwide); when we first certified there were only a handful. Rather a lot has changed since then.

Now, B Lab has launched the ‘We Go Beyond’ campaign. During this month, B Corps, like Articulate, will be sharing information about how we go beyond to have a positive impact.

We hope to inspire others to take up the challenge, join as a B Corp and grow the movement to infinity — and beyond!

How we answer the call

We go beyond to support our employees — as Investor’s in People’s Small Employer of the Year.

We go beyond to raise awareness for our allyships — as advocates who stand up for what we believe in.

We go beyond for the planet — by planting trees and offsetting our carbon, thanks to Ecologi.

We go beyond expectations — as a top five percent B Corp ‘Best for the World Honouree’ in the ‘Workers’ and ‘Governance’ categories.

And, of course, we go beyond to look after employee health, by doing all of this:

Physical health initiatives

Remote working

‘Knowing that the company is remote working is a massive benefit. Following a serious illness, for many organisations, my need for home working would have made me feel different. Being in a supportive, fully remote workplace makes a HUGE difference.’

— Juliet Glanville, Head of People at Articulate Marketing

Articulate has been entirely remote and flexible working for 20 years. This gives employees the chance to work from anywhere, at times that suit them. (Bonus: no commuting also keeps our carbon footprint low.)

We provide adjustments and accommodations to individuals, assessing their requirements as needed. For example, flexible working hours so people don’t have to stress about picking up their kids from school. Plus, we offer a personal ‘Happiness Account’ so people can purchase things like ergonomic office equipment. All this enables everyone, but especially those with physical differences, illness or disabilities, to work in an environment that is most comfortable for them.

Plus, without commuting every day, we all have more time to spend on exercise and eating healthily, right?

Health policies and private insurance

Remote working is just one benefit we offer. In fact, it is also a policy — one of 32, which codify our employer promise. Many of these policies relate to employee health in some way, such as sick leave, mental health policies and so on. We keep these policies on our Notion intranet to ensure everyone can view them whenever they need to.

As part of this policies and benefits package, we pay for private health insurance with BUPA to all our UK-based workers.

Not only does this unlock BUPA healthcare access for employees, but it covers remote appointments with a doctor or nurse. And, when something unexpected happens, employees can use the BUPA Anytime Healthline rather than endure the hold music of 111 (in the UK).

Fitness and fundraising

We aim to support causes throughout the year with tangible fundraising, participation and knowledge-sharing.

Last year, members of the Articulate crew did everything from running in the London Winter run to Walk All Over Cancer (we gave a free Fitbit to participants) — and even Wear a Hat Day for the more sedentary among us. We raised several hundreds of pounds funds for these causes, and others, as well as £75 to CoppaFeel and Breast Cancer Awareness respectively. As you can see, cancer awareness is something that is very close to our hearts.

We posted about our progress, with screenshots of our steps and photos from our walks, on a dedicated ‘Fitness-legitness’ channel on Slack. Here, we also discuss fitness more generally, and have even shared LinkedIn learning paths that we made on topics like health and safety, sleep and exercise.

Champion Health’s survey shows that 60 percent of employees are experiencing musculoskeletal pain (MSK), with increased sitting being a major factor. All of our efforts are designed to ensure our employees feel well in their bodies — and minds.

Speaking of which, mental health is just as important as physical health. In fact, mental health issues can cause physical health problems, and vice versa. Anxiety has been proven to lead to everything from immune disorders to cardiovascular distress. Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

When considering employee heath, you must take mental health into account. And we do! Let’s look at how…

Mental wellbeing activities

Creating an open culture

‘There's an openness around mental health issues that encourages us to admit when we're struggling. The social activities allow us to pause, take a breath, and hit reset. And our focus on learning and development on this topic is amazing.’

— Rachel Kennedy, Specialist Copywriter at Articulate Marketing

Mental health awareness is a major focus for us. It’s part of our allyship programme as a company. In fact, we recently announced that we are this year’s HubSpot DE&I HEART award winners, a prestigious accolade. It’s given to just one HubSpot partner for creating an exceptional workplace that prioritises belonging, inclusion and wellbeing. This award rather validates our hard work in this area!

Our objective has been to create a culture that allowed people to be their authentic selves at work without fear or judgement. That is, a workplace where mental health is a priority, mental illness is not taboo and where there is no stigma. For more information, read these six tips to support employee mental heath as a remote business.

Raising awareness

Throughout the year, we’ve done activities centred on Time to Talk day, World Mental Health day and other events we could take part in remotely.

For example, we had a Week of Calm, with reduced calls, during which time we did yoga sessions, a mindfulness workshop, and a photography challenge. And for Mental Health Awareness week we ran a lunch & learn on the mental health benefits and drawbacks of remote work. We also sent every employee a green ribbon pin and posted selfies with personal stories for #PinItForMentalHealth.

As we did with physical health, we created LinkedIn learning paths on mental health topics, too, as well as subjects like neurodiversity.

Making work a safe space

As part of our efforts to reduce stigma and break down barriers, we've signed the UK charity Mind's Mental Health at Work commitment and updated our mental health policies. Two individuals certified as Mental Health First Aiders, which was inspired by the buddy system we ran during lockdown. This means there are trained people in the business who you can go to with mental health concerns.

Moreover, we ran ‘Time to Talk’ chats every month, with each one centred on a theme. The topics and other resources are shared in a page on our intranet and has become a really welcome part of our working lives.

The results we've seen are a continued resiliency, mutual support and a cultural openness around the topic of mental health and belonging.

Apps for mental wellbeing

The company pays for applications, like Calm, which provides meditations, soothing music and stories to promote good sleep. We talk in more depth about these apps, here.

‘The Calm subscription can seem like such a small thing, but it has a big impact. The sleep stories have been a game-changer for me. I’m happy to say I haven’t heard the end of any yet!’

— Clare Dodd, Editor in Chief at Articulate Marketing

We have also implemented the BUPA Employee Assistance programme, which offers free counselling and a portal to help manage mental health. In this way, we give access to resources that would otherwise be blocked by long waiting lists, and offer preventative care for mental health.

The latest effort: healthy finances

Financial pressure is impacting workers, and younger employees are bearing the brunt of these issues. A poll taken at the end of 2022 said that one in ten UK adults ‘feel hopeless about financial circumstances’. The cost of living crisis, with food, energy and other essentials more expensive than ever, is a major stressor for a lot of us.

As well as being a real living wage employer, offering the London rate as a minimum salary regardless of location, we’ve recently added another app to our roster: WageStream, to help address financial wellbeing in the company. This app makes your pay more flexible, and includes tools to save money as well as access to financial coaching.

Making employee health a priority

We re-use and recycle what we learn in one area and bring it to another – for example we often write on wellbeing topics for clients, then use that resource to feed back into what we're doing ourselves, which was the case for a HealthTech client during International Men’s Day.

Plus, as a marketing agency, we frequently find ourselves creating campaigns for clients to raise awareness for wellbeing topics amongst a wider audience. That’s just another example of how we ‘go beyond’. If that sounds like something you’d like us to do for you, have a chat with our team. We’d be happy to share examples and success stories.

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