Mental ill health has a major impact on the workplace. Production losses, employee absences, and high turnover of staff often results in a higher degree of mental health issues. These factors cost the UK economy £15 billion a year (Centre for Mental Health, 2011). More worryingly, it is reported that approximately 300,000 people lose or leave their jobs every year because of mental health issues.
Across Siemens, we are helping our 12,000 employees to improve their health and wellbeing by working with The Wildlife Trusts and helping them get outdoors and into contact with nature. We’d tested this approach at a local level with employees volunteering at nature reserves and we could see the benefits. It is an exciting and refreshing way of looking after our workers and our business, while giving something back to the natural world. So what is the thinking behind it?
In short, access to nature makes us feel better, makes us think happier thoughts, and makes us connect with one another.
The ‘Wild Wellbeing’ programme involves staff spending a day at a local nature reserve. The day itself is based around the recognised ‘five ways to wellbeing’ pathway: connect with nature and people; be active through exercise and activities; take notice of the world and nature; keep learning by developing skills and self-awareness; and give back to nature and the community.
Research with employees following the Wild Wellbeing Days showed that 81% of Siemens staff who took part reported that they had an increase in their overall wellbeing following their day with The Wildlife Trusts.