There are many approaches that businesses take to looking after the wellness, wellbeing and the mental health of their employees

Some do nothing.  Some offer what appear to be box ticking exercises such as online e-learning courses, group sessions, wellness apps, lunch and learn and flexible working.  Some go above and beyond.

But…what does an employee actually want and what are they looking for from their place of work?

For me personally, I want to work in an environment where I am looked at as a person and not a number. I have worked in many different jobs ranging from small business to large corporate companies.  From those experiences, I have learnt that working for small businesses are for me.

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Now, some of you may disagree and find you thrive in the larger corporate companies.  You might enjoy the big teams, a hierarchy for your career path, bonus schemes for overtime and sales.  That’s just not for me.

I want to work in a somewhat easier environment, where the pressures of deadlines don’t take over your life because working for a small business we work together.  My employer cares about our stress levels and acts promptly to respond to any problems we encounter, whether big or small.

Design in the Shires offers...

• Flexible working

• Weekly wellness hour

• Make your life easier days (Work from home, flexible working when the car is in the garage, doctors, dentist appointments, kids are sick etc)

• 1x Set no drive day a month

• Monthly team socials

• 1x Yoga session a week

• 1x Weekly team lunch run

• Head of happiness

• Weekly fruit baskets and treats

• Worcestershire Works Well Scheme

One thing that is huge for me is an ethos of 'personal life comes before work life'.   Especially when you’re an employee with children, dependents, dogs or maybe an illness in the family. Design in the Shires allow the flexibility to work around the impacts this can have on our day to day working role.  They work to support us to manage the challenges in our personal lives, as well as our work lives.

The Head of Happiness role is something really special in our workplace.  The sole responsibility of this job is to ensure that the team are happy and the work environment supports the ethos at Design in the Shires that life should be fun and as stress free as possible.

It also means that there is always someone to speak to if you need to, outside of the usual HR departments in place at most businesses.

One real treat is that we automatically get our birthdays off!  No one really wants to work on their birthday and will usually have to hold out until the weekend or book some of their holiday. We don’t have to lose out to celebrate our birthdays here and the only requirement is that we bring in some birthday cake to share with the team!

The ‘My Possible Self’ app allows us to input our daily moods, as well as access a whole host of services to support our wellness, even counselling!  The logging of our daily moods provides HR and our Head of Happiness with a way to review patterns and address any unmet needs.

Design in the Shires are also part of the Worcestershire Works Well Scheme.  This means that our Head of Happiness has access to training courses, can keep up to date with the latest advice regarding wellbeing in the workplace, and is able to share knowledge with other businesses that take part in the scheme.

Overall, it’s the personal approach and understanding that is offered by Ben & Jess that tops working here. No personal or work challenge is ever too big, they are always available to talk to and never want us to feel like we are stressing behind the scenes with trying to balance our work and personal life.

If we are having a bad day, it's always noticed and support is quickly offered.  We may just need to go home and rest up from our work or personal challenges, it is never something that’s looked over. Yes, Ben & Jess are our bosses and technically they don't need to involve themselves into our personal dilemmas but they treat everyone of us in the team as family. It's an open and caring relationship that we have all formed.

Yes, we are a busy website and design agency, deadlines are on our radar, but Design in the Shires provides a happy stress free and enjoyable working environment.  Most importantly, we feel looked after, cared for and more than just an employee number.

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