Directors, HR Professionals and Senior Managers were invited to attend the #WellbeingatWork business breakfast seminar on February 8th, held at IKEA in Calcot and organised by IKEA and BalanceTime  http://www.balancetime.co.uk/ . The focus was on helping organisations unpick the business values of wellbeing; from ethics to sustainability to mental and physical health and team culture.

All funds raised from the event supported Launchpad – Reading’s homelessness charity. Launchpad http://www.launchpadreading.org.uk/ has a great back story – it was founded by students from Reading University as a soup kitchen in 1979.  Launchpad strives to prevent homelessness in Reading by helping some of the town’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. By providing homes, tailored support programmes and a drop-in centre, they aim to get people back on track, help them rebuild their lives and ultimately ensure that everyone has a home where they feel safe and secure. They help over 1,200 people every year. 

Jason McMahon of Launchpad shared his experience:  

After a successful 15+ years in commercial sales which took me to a sales target of over £1.3M PA things changed. Within a few months, which brought redundancy, divorce and the death of my mother, my life took a different path in which I spiralled to the lowest point anyone would wish to be. Through support, immense strength and importantly choosing to pick up the phone and face my demons, I survived very dark times. By pure chance, people may say ‘fate’, my son was painting me a picture to cheer ‘Daddy’ up and to the side was the local paper with an advert for a job. The role was for 6 months maternity cover for a local charity, so I looked at their website and applied for the position thinking ‘sales skills’ to fundraising, must be transferable skill sets and I had just raised a significant sum for my late Mums Hospice while they cared for her the last days of her life.

After a successful interview, I was offered the position and found myself totally amazed and inspired by this local Homeless Support Charity, set up by students from Reading University that over 38 years has helped 1000’s of people of Reading get their lives back on track.

4 years+ later, I am now permanent and full time, raising awareness to a local charity not on most peoples immediate radar of choice for support or giving. Through relationships and public speaking at schools and businesses (local, national & global), I am currently speaking to over 5,000 people in a year to educate, inspire and hopefully raise support to www.launchpadreading.org.uk 

We’ve all made poor decisions, had bad luck or made mistakes. Most of the time we’re able to shrug them off and get on with life. But it’s not always easy to get back on a stable path. 

After a breakfast donated by IKEA – and very welcome it was given the 7:30 start – networking led into the formal session on Wellbeing at Work. 

With a cost of £9billion a year lost to the UK economy due to days off sick and over half estimated to be due to stress-related illnesses (source HSE 2015/16) – addressing wellbeing in the workplace is a positive business decision – not just a ‘nice to do’. Employees who are engaged and have high wellbeing miss 70% fewer workdays because of poor health over a year and are 45% more likely to report high levels of adaptability in the presence of change. (source Gallup Survey 2015). 

The panel of experts covered the opportunities of embracing wellbeing in the workplace and ask questions to help you take action now. They were: 

  • Gurprit Singh, Director of Ethical Reading – who talked of the power of healthy people, planet and workplaces and the ethics of ‘doing the right thing’ while doing the right thing for your business, www.ethicalreading.org.uk . 
  • Judy Claughton, Director, Meditation Trainer and Pioneer for Happiness from BalanceTime – who shared some mini meditations to help you refocus and the science of finding your space of calm to improve individual resilience and team performance www.balancetime.co.uk . 
  • Michael Cordova, Director of Floating Point, Pangbourne and TEDX Speaker, who talked about the power of doing nothing and why the art of pausing can help us achieve more physically and mentally https://www.floating-point.co.uk . 
  • Paul Allen, Sustainability Developer of IKEA UK was ably represented by an Ikea employee who spoke from the heart on how the company embraces sustainability in their values of ‘better everyday’ and how this translates from an aim into tangible actions in the workplace. 
  • Jason McMahon, Corporate Partnerships Manager with Launchpad actively challenged the perceptions of homelessness across Reading, while also championing positive mental health in the workplace, and that it is ‘ok’ for employees to reach out to their employers at times of need. 
  • Chair of events was Helen Saxton, Director and Team-Building Facilitator from Charaderie – who provide a fresh approach to team-building and communications using murder mystery www.charaderie.co.uk  

For more on any of these, contact either Judy Claughton judy@balancetime.co.uk or gill@ethicalreading.org.uk.