In recent years, the team at Octopus Property has been consistently at the forefront of the property finance industry, breaking new records and launching innovative lending products almost every month. But this growth isn’t possible without an enormous amount of hard work and dedication. And this made us start thinking about employee wellness, and whether all this hard work was beginning to have a negative impact.
Starting on the road to employee wellness
Creating a healthy environment that allows employees to personally flourish and achieve their full potential is as important to us as hitting the numbers.
We monitor employee wellness closely, sending out a weekly survey that asks for real-time feedback on mood, culture, wellbeing and suggestions about what can be improved. This time we went deeper, asking everyone at Octopus Property to take part in a dedicated wellness survey. Completely confidentially, of course.
We first asked our employees about their overall emotional, physical, and mental state.
Almost 46 percent of the respondents said they felt “well” or “very well”, while 36 percent felt “neutral.” These results show that the team felt pretty good in general, although we don’t know how much weight they gave to each of the three individual categories. And although many of the respondents told us they felt pretty well in general, only half stated that they exercise between two and seven times a week.
“What would make the greatest difference to how well I feel? Getting into the habit of getting away from my work for a break during the day. Too often I just have back-to-back meetings right through.”
Octopus Property employee
Unsurprisingly, eating right and exercising more were the two areas needing the most improvement, and where employees admitted that some improvements were needed. Work flexibility, putting in fewer hours, and the ability to achieve a better work/life balance were the other key areas our people said would have a big impact on employee wellness.
Based on this feedback, it was no surprise to learn that more than two-thirds of the team ate their lunch at their desk four or five times a week. And the top activity Octopus Property suggested to combat these concerns? In-office professional massages. After all, who wouldn’t want a lunchbreak chair massage to set you right for the rest of the day?
Our action plan
With the help of some team leaders, we created a number of avenues for employees to maintain, or even boost, their feelings of well-being in each of the categories. Here were some of the activities we decided to action:
- To take a break from work pressures: walking clubs, art groups, and team lunches encourage employees to get out from behind their screens and form ever-important connections to maintain social and mental wellness. Our employees can also work on reducing stress through mindfulness workshops, meditation, and flexi-work ‘brown bag’ lunches.
- To get more physical: employees can work on their physical wellness through gym yoga, boxing and spinning sessions, and company-wide step challenges. Some employees even form teams to compete in various community fitness events such as triathlons and the Tough Mudder challenge.
- Towards cleaner eating: healthy bake days, recipe swaps, and nutritious brown bag lunches are some other ways they encourage each other to eat right, on top of exercising.
“Since we decided to do more to take care of employee wellness, it’s been great to see the team try so many different things, including Pop Art lessons, the Step Challenge and the group boxing session. The sight of 16 members of Octopus Property stalking the ring was quite something. No wonder our borrowers are always so keen to pay us back on time!”
Mario Berti, Chief Executive, Octopus Property
We’re proud to be one of the fastest-growing private businesses in the UK. But we know that to continue to grow, we need to take care of our employees’ well-being beyond their salary and benefits.
By prioritising employee wellness, we help make Octopus not only one of the most successful property finance companies, but one of the healthiest places to work, too. And in case you’re wondering, yes – we’ve even provided the highly-requested professional chair massages!
Octopus Property and Octopus Healthcare merged to form Octopus Real Estate.