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Health & Wellbeing at Version 1

  • Version 1’s Employee Experience Partner Amanda Kelly discusses how the firm rolled out a successful digital wellness strategy for employees

    At Version 1, Health & Wellbeing is at the forefront of everything we do – from physical health, mental wellbeing, financial management, social connections and creating a sense of purpose, it is built into our everyday language and our culture.

    Given the challenging year we have all had with restrictions and lockdowns, our focus on wellbeing is now more important than ever, ensuring that our employees are continuously supported while we all continue to work from home. 

    If we can take one positive outcome from Covid, it’s that the way in which we work will be forever changed. For us at Version 1 that means a hybrid approach to work such as combining home, office and client site working when it is safe to return. To support this new working environment, earlier this year we launched our Becoming Naturally Digital Strategy, whereby we not only act and think digitally but think and design digitally. This has required us to review our ways of working, our people practices and the technologies we use.

    The first initiative we rolled out as part of this strategy was WellTech, combining the best wellness thinking with digital technology to allow us to deliver the best remote working experience for our employees in Version 1. We aim to: 

    • Give our employees freedom to move from their desks while working. 
    • Encourage more movement throughout the day.
    • Provide our employees with enhanced ergonomics – improving the comfort and design of their workspace for their long-term health. 
    • Provide our employees with the digital tools and equipment to promote their physical health and mental wellbeing.

    Through listening to employee feedback and their overall needs we developed an internally built WellTech App with a dedicated intranet site which focusses on four key WellTech Pillars

    1. Ergonomics

    We encouraged all employees to complete an online ergonomic assessment and training, allowing them to assess their current home working environment.  Through our WellTech App, employees could easily order desks, chairs, monitors, Bluetooth equipment to enhance their at-home workspace to best suit their needs. To date we have had almost 4000 items ordered and over 2000 ergonomic issues resolved through our App!

    2. Movement

    Essential to WellTech was allowing employees to decouple from their desks to enable greater movement throughout the day. I know I have certainly been guilty of taking call after call and not moving or taking breaks. To address this issue, we provided everyone with tips & tricks to encourage more movement, such as walk & talk meetings, setting reminders to move and doing a “fake commute” walk in the mornings and evenings. We also set up weekly online lunchtime exercise classes with our partners at FitVision to get people off their chairs!

    The fake commute was great for me, I do a quick 15 minute walk each morning and evening. Not only does it set me up nicely for the day, but it has also allowed me to switch off in the evenings. Each evening I shut down my laptop, put it away and then head out for my “fake commute” walk. The 30 minutes break each day has made a significant difference to not only my physical health but my mental health too.  

    3. Smarter Working

    Given the challenges we have all faced over the past 12 months, the productivity and excellence delivered by our people has been phenomenal. However, we were conscious of digital fatigue and we needed to ensure everyone was being smart with their time. A key emphasis for us was to ensure people had flexibility with their working hours, whether that was giving people time in the day for home schooling or taking some time to simply get out for a walk. 

    We encouraged people to use their diaries and be flexible where possible, schedule focus time so that they were not inundated with back-to-back meetings, use the “do not disturb” feature on Microsoft Teams and limit their notifications to help maintain concentration and reduce distractions.

    4. Connections

    While we continue to work from home, keeping a sense of connection is vital. Many of us are missing catching up with colleagues face to face for a coffee or going for after-work drinks and meals. To combat this, we continuously have digital engagement and wellbeing events, both at a company-wide level and local level, which are communicated through our quarterly employee experience calendar. Events have ranged from poker nights and quizzes to online murder mystery nights and escape room challenges. 

    Recently we also set up social clubs such as gaming, photography, books, football and cooking to support our people to stay connected and to give people the opportunity to break away from their day-to-day work and get connected with people who they would not ordinarily meet with.

    As we move forward, it is crucial to us in further developing WellTech that we are continuously listening to our employee feedback, whether that be feedback following a team meeting, survey feedback or ideas from our digital suggestion box. Acting on this feedback is vital as we look to enhance our employee experiences, allowing them to create better working from home habits as we continue to build Version 1 as the best digital workplace. 

    If you would like to know more about WellTech, contact Amanda Kelly, Employee Engagement Partner at

    This article first appeared in the Spring 2021 edition of the Sync NI magazine. You can download your FREE copy and sign up to recieve future digital editions here

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