Anglian Water: supporting health and wellbeing every day
Anglian Water supplies water and water recycling services to over six million people in the east of England and Hartlepool. Around 5,000 employees cover an area that spans the Humber estuary to the Thames estuary, and stretches from Buckinghamshire to Lowestoft on the east coast.
Keeping the millions of homes in one of England’s driest regions supplied with fresh, clean drinking water is a complex task, and it is vital that everyone involved feels supported in their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
As CEO Peter Simpson reflected after Anglian Water won Business in the Community’s Bupa Health and Wellbeing Award in 2019, “Our ability to perform as a business is linked entirely to the performance of the people within it. We have a fundamental belief that looking after our people is the right thing to do”. This Award came in recognition of the core strategic importance of employee health and wellbeing to Anglian Water, which has progressed to an industry-leading standard since the business joined BITC membership in 2007. “From a business point of view, if our colleagues are fit, well and safe they are likely to be more productive and deliver a better service to our customers” Peter continued.
Promoting a wellbeing culture to help employees feel happier, healthier, and safer
Anglian Water’s award-winning wellbeing strategy was designed in alignment with BITC’s Workwell Model, which recommends that health and wellbeing should be embedded into organisational culture. The business adopted this approach wholeheartedly, sharing and receiving further guidance and examples of best practice by joining our Wellbeing Leadership Team in 2016. CEO Peter Simpson chaired the Leadership Team until 2019, bringing together leading businesses, different in sector and size, but all committed to advancing methods and models of supporting wellbeing. In 2020, building on Anglian Water’s holistic commitment to best practice – which has included sponsoring a toolkit on Sleep and Recovery, produced by BITC in partnership with Public Health England – Group Director of People Director Susannah Clements joined the Wellbeing Leadership Team. “Over the last few years, Anglian Water has been on a journey to provide our employees with the support they need to be happier, healthier and safer” Susannah says. “The COVID-19 pandemic is an important moment on that journey. A time when, more than ever, businesses must be there for their people. The foundations for this support have been laid by the culture we’ve been building within our business over recent years. Our LIFE programme has brought together all aspects of employee wellbeing to aim for ‘happier, healthier and safer’ people. It means we’re working together across the company in a coordinated way towards this important goal.”
Supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of employees has changed drastically since 2019. As the coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout the UK since March 2020, leading to more people spending time at home, the need for Anglian Water’s services to function has never been greater. In response to this, the business has been busy building on the success of its Wellbeing Strategy by developing responsive, innovative measures to support colleagues through what promises to be another challenging year.
Supporting employee wellbeing every day
As with last year, 2021 continues to be shaped by uncertainty and fluctuating working conditions. Anglian Water has worked hard to ensure that colleagues know where, when, and how they can access support. Whilst many employees are working from home, much of Anglian Water’s workforce needs to be present on-site, and it is crucial that everyone can access support remotely, and at a time that suits their needs.
In late 2020, the business launched a supplementary wellbeing calendar, in partnership with Vitality Health, focused on mental and physical wellbeing. The activities and resources highlighted by the calendar are informed by employee need, measured through regular data capture. There is something different available each day, from Mindful Mondays to HIIT Tuesdays, weekly yoga classes, articles, podcasts, and webinars, ensuring that colleagues can benefit no matter their abilities or interest. The calendar has already received great feedback, and provides a roadmap for engagement for the New Year.
Looking after wellbeing doesn’t only depend on making opportunities available, it also requires team members to understand and want to take advantage of things on offer. To help inform and engage its diverse workforce, Anglian Water’s leadership teams are holding a virtual wellbeing event called ‘Time out for LIFE’, open to all staff, during the early weeks of 2021. Directors and other leaders are hosting the event, which will also feature some vibrant keynote speakers, and employees will have the chance to choose sessions that most interest them from six available options focusing on their physical, emotional, financial and social wellbeing.
In addition to these plans, Anglian Water recognises the vital impact that flexibility and openness to different working needs can have on employee health and wellbeing. This year, the business is continuing to evolve and adapt the resources that are available at all times to colleagues. Anglian Water has added extra options to its Employee Assistance Programme support package, including a Live Chat function, so that it can approach caring and schooling responsibilities with respect and sensitivity to different needs, and support employees with their homeworking setups.
A journey of continual improvement
Anglian Water Group has continued its exemplary progress in the fields of health and wellbeing during its membership of BITC. Through leading by example, and sharing what works, the business has gone from strength to strength in supporting all aspects of employee wellbeing.
“In working with Anglian Water Group since 2011, I have been greatly encouraged by its desire to progress from ‘good’ to ‘great’ in their approach and commitment to mental health and wellbeing. By developing its approach using our holistic Workwell Model and making the Mental Health Commitment, Anglian Water has strengthened its leading-edge reputation for caring deeply for its employees physical, mental, financial and social health and wellbeing” says Louise Aston, BITC Wellbeing Director. “The business has shown a cultural readiness to adapt to the pandemic by embedding everyday opportunities for wellbeing support for colleagues, which can be an inspiration for other members of The Prince’s Responsible Business Network.”
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