Wellbeing – fuelling progression and innovation

Louise Aston, Wellbeing Director at Business in the Community, on how we can use innovations in SMEs to ensure employee wellbeing is a core component of responsible business. 


Wellbeing used to be positioned as a nice to have, fluffy bolt on, with fruit on Fridays and lunchtime Pilates. However, Business in the Community has campaigned to elevate wellbeing and position it as a strategic boardroom issue, linked to securing business objectives and driving sustainable performance and productivity. Both the business case and social case are compelling and employee wellbeing is now firmly established as a core component of responsible business.

Business in the Community takes a whole person, integrated approach to physical, mental and social wellbeing. In partnership with Public Health England, we have co-produced an innovative suite of toolkits for employers which consolidate the best evidence, best employer practice and are aligned with the best freely available resources. Our approach focuses on prevention and retention, supporting thriving people, thriving business and thriving communities. 

We’ve tackled the two leading causes of lost days at work, mental and musculoskeletal health. We have also hosted a discussion with techUK President, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE on how technology can improve mental health in the workplace in an early episode of our intergenerational podcast, The Lens  

Sleep is also fundamental to health, as important as food, yet it has remained a neglected topic. In response, we’ve pioneered a sleep and recovery toolkit for employers.
We have also addressed the deeply taboo topic of crisis management in the event of a suicide, both these resources are the first of their kind in the world. 

We’ve also just launched a resource on physical activity, healthy eating and healthier weight to combat the obesity crisis. 

In development, are toolkits on the topics of drugs, alcohol and tobacco and the challenging issue of domestic abuse.  

However, we recognise that there’s an opportunity to acknowledge and share SME innovation to fuel progress. Anglian Water, with the support of Business in the Community’s wellbeing leadership team, has launched an initiative to celebrate SMEs who are leading the way on wellbeing in the workplace.