A Robust Wellbeing Strategy Helped Shift8*’s Employees Become Happier and Healthier as Well as Improve Their Bottom Line

Group of happy colleagues discussing ideas at meeting

A bespoke wellbeing strategy run by Rener Wellbeing, where there was top down buy-in and employees came in with an open mind, all contributed to Shift8* eradicating presenteeism, reducing absenteeism due to mental and physical health issues as well as doubling their in-year sales from £1million to £2 million (and rising). More importantly, their staff are happier and healthier thanks to their improved levels of wellbeing. Shift8*’s proactive integration of wellbeing practices into their company culture has enabled them to sustain these benefits.

Shift8* have a simple aim; to change the lives of people living with cognitive challenges, their families and those that care for them. They are committed to reducing levels of social isolation and are doing this by introducing proven technology, specifically the “Magic Table™”, and are devoted to its implementation.

The Wellbeing Challenge:

Shift8* have a rapidly growing team based in their London HQ as well as a remote team working across the UK and Ireland. Shift8* wanted to ensure their staff were healthy, happy and felt looked after. They wanted to lay the groundwork to ensure this didn’t fall by the wayside as they continue to grow.

John Ramsay, Shift8*’s CEO and Co-Founder, had already set up several practices within Shift8* to make staff happier, such as flexible working hours, long lunches to allow staff to exercise, and the ability to work from home. Yet, he felt that there could be more structure and focus within their current wellbeing implementation. He also knew more could be done at an organisational level to ensure Shift8*’s staff felt happy and healthy as well as to reduce presenteeism and absenteeism rates.

The Wellbeing Strategy:

 John reached out to Rener Wellbeing Ltd in order to develop a bespoke wellbeing strategy to help Shift8*’s employees to sustainably improve their levels of wellbeing and to integrate it into their culture. John and the other senior leaders were very open about their investment in developing a wellbeing strategy. Indeed, having leadership buy-in from the start was a massive contribution to the success of the strategy. The strategy development process was broken up into four main parts:

  1. Wellbeing Awareness Workshop
  2. Organisational Wellbeing Audit
  3. Bespoke Wellbeing Strategy Co-Creation
  4. Wellbeing Strategy Implementation

Rener Wellbeing’s plan started with an awareness workshop during Shift8*’s Team Day in December 2018 (with most of their team donning Christmas jumpers). This was to ensure that all their staff had an awareness of why wellbeing is worth investing time and effort into, and why Shift8* was developing a wellbeing strategy. Rener Wellbeing took a four pronged approach to wellbeing, focusing on mental health, physical activity, sleep, and nutrition. They highlighted the benefits to personal health and happiness as well as the impact wellbeing can have on work, such as improving productivity, engagement, satisfaction and performance.

Rener Wellbeing then carried out an organisational audit to take the pulse of Shift8*’s current wellbeing status, conducting observations and interviews with staff members from different teams and levels of seniority. By fully understanding what was working for their staff’s wellbeing and where more structure or more effective practices could be put in place, Rener Wellbeing developed a bespoke wellbeing strategy for Shift8*.

Several wellbeing practices were implemented at a strategic level and encouraged top-down. For example, the strategy formalising the flexible working times to ensure staff had time to go to the gym or take breaks to carry out mindfulness activities and to allow for some staff to come in later, as the ongoing uncertainty had become a staff-wide source of anxiety. Similarly, the strategy assessed their organisational chart, making improvements to ensure communication lines and job roles were clearly defined.

The wellbeing strategy included 1-1 wellbeing support for the executive team, a group wellbeing plan for the staff based at the HQ, and a separate plan for their remote workers. The plans covered all four areas of wellbeing. Through top-down encouragement and an assigned internal Wellbeing Champion, the wellbeing plans became not only immediately actionable, but sustainable.

The Sustainable Results:

‘Wellbeing is a massive part of our culture now, the strategy helped us put in place actions and we are actually doing them.’ ‘Presenteeism has been eradicated and our in year sales have doubled to £2m, improved wellbeing definitely helped.’ – John Ramsay, CEO & Co-Founder.

In terms of productivity and engagement at work John Ramsay highlighted that presenteeism had significantly reduced, thus leading to higher productivity rates. Absenteeism rates reduced as well, especially cases due to mental and physical health issues. To top it off, their sales team have also improved their performance, with in-year sales doubling to £2m and continue to rise. All of these improvements were significantly boosted as a result of improved levels of wellbeing. This has lead to the wellbeing strategy giving an ROI of 1:250, without taking into account cost savings from reduced presenteeism and absenteeism.

Several health improvements were noted among the staff. Their nutrition improved, with few healthy food options close to the office most Shift8* employees  now bring in their own lunches and seek healthier food shops that are slightly further away from the office, but worth the walk. Staff energy levels have increased, partly thanks to self-reporting of sleep quality and duration rising. Physical activity levels also increased, with more staff going to the gym at lunch and others finding ways to integrate it into their day, such as taking a call whilst walking in the park or cycling their kids to school. Mental health is now an open topic of discussion, spoken about between all staff without a sense of stigma.

All four aspects of wellbeing are brought up both at the weekly team wellbeing catchup and casually between staff. The remote workers have a wellbeing Whatsapp group that is very active and a monthly Skype call to go into more detail about their personal wellbeing. Looking forward, to ensure wellbeing levels are sustained as they grow, wellbeing has been implemented into the onboarding process for new employees. In addition, their Wellbeing Champion Chris also organises monthly wellbeing-themed events and plans on top of the wellbeing action plans developed by Rener Wellbeing.

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‘The fact that wellbeing is part of our culture now is great, we are all moving in the same direction together around our wellbeing and it is clear that with increased wellbeing everyone is working more effectively’. – Chris Baird – Head of BD and Shift8*’s Wellbeing Champion

It can’t go without saying that the positive impact of the wellbeing strategy is attributed to the incredible attitude from the team and leadership. Most Shift8* employees encourage each other and genuinely believe in the benefits of integrating wellbeing into their lives.This attitude spreads from the top downwards, leading to the wellbeing action plans and initiatives being met little to no resistance. In other organisations, a similar impact may be harder to achieve in such a short period of time, due to some employees not being fully invested, especially if the lack of enthusiasm is from the leadership team.


About the author

As the Director and a Wellbeing Consultant at Rener Wellbeing, Khalil Rener is passionate about helping companies to sustainably improve their employees’ wellbeing.






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