5 Reasons Why The Watercooler is a Must Attend Event For All Employers


After two years that have turned our home and working lives upside down, one thing is clear: the health and wellbeing of our people has never been more important.

Employers – this is your Call To Action

  • 83% of employees feel at risk of burnout – up form 63% in 2020 [Mercer 2022]
  • Mental health problems are now the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK
  • Millions have felt lonely and isolated during the pandemic and are struggling to adapt to the new world of work
  • Financial difficulties are causing stress and anxiety. 2.1 million households were already behind on their energy bills in 2020
  • Last year 470,000 people in the UK were affected by work-related musculoskeletal disorders
  • The population living with cancer is set to double by 2030 according to Macmillan Cancer Support *

Employees need all the help they can get. And in a world of work that’s changing at an unprecedented rate, it makes sense for employers to increasingly play a proactive role, understanding what employees need,  supporting their wellbeing and empowering colleagues to thrive.

A siloed approach to wellbeing is not serving employees

The business case is clear and many employers are now investing in wellbeing solutions. But too many are doing this in a piecemeal way that is unsustainable and is not delivering results for individuals or organisations. What they need is an inclusive, joined up approach.

As Dame Carol Black, the doyenne of workplace wellbeing explains:

“The workplace post-Covid needs to be different. It must, in a joined up holistic way, meet the mental, physical, financial, social and environmental needs of the workers, as well as the purposes of the organisation”.

Which is why the same team that’s behind www.makeadifference.media and the annual MAD World Summit has launched a new event called The Watercooler – in association with the London Evening Standard.

5 good reasons to get together at The Watercooler

The Watercooler, named in recognition of those crucial moments of connection between employees, is a free to attend conference and exhibition which demonstrates that wellbeing IS the future of work.

Taking place at Olympia, London on 25th & 26th May, The Watercooler event is where you can gather to join ideas together, make connections, learn from peers’ experiences and find the right solutions for your organisation – whatever its size and shape.

Here are five reasons why it’s a must attend if you care about your people and you care about your business:

1. Learn from the leaders for FREE

Covering a wide range of topics from supporting the individual wellbeing needs of neurodiverse colleagues to the post-pandemic link between financial, mental and physical wellbeing, the event features 100+ hours of free learning from a diverse and inspiring lineup of speakers, across 3 conference theatres over 2 days. Including 9 keynotes, 21 live case studies and 3 author spotlights.

Wherever you are on your workplace wellbeing journey, this is a rare opportunity to gain expert insights from recognised thought leaders such as Dame Carol Black; Professor Sir Cary Cooper; Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind; Dr Wolfgang Seidl, Partner & Workplace Health Consulting Leader, UK & Europe, Mercer Marsh Benefits; neurodiversity at work specialist Professor Amanda Kirby and hybrid working expert Simone Fenton Jarvis.

It’s also a chance to hear fresh employers’ voices such as: Sarah Wilson, VP Global Leadership and Development, Unilever; Eunice Z. Clements-Tweedie, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, The LEGO Group; Javier Echave, Chief Financial Officer, Heathrow; and Matt Elliott, Chief People Officer, Bank of Ireland.

Other speakers include senior representatives from TikTok, McDonald’s, Ocado Group, Anglian Water, Eon and many more. You can download the full programme here.

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2. Get answers to your questions at the workshops and roundtables

Running parallel to the keynote sessions will be nine workshops. Each of these will give attendees the opportunity to dive deeper into key topics and find answers to your specific Workplace Wellbeing questions.

In addition, roundtables running on both days offer the opportunity to share experiences off the record, create new connections and source ideas to take your workplace wellbeing toolkit to the next level. Each table runs for 45 minutes and is hosted by an industry expert.

Topics to be covered range from “How to create a high-impact joined-up workplace wellbeing strategy that delivers ROI” to “Financial wellbeing: meeting the diverse and evolving needs of employees”.

Places at both the workshops and roundtables are limited. The organisers recommend you register for a free ticket as soon as possible. They will remind you to register for the workshops and roundtables two weeks before the event.

You can find the full list of workshops here and roundtables here.

3. Overcome siloes and bring teams together around wellbeing

Workplace wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility. A collaborative cross-organisational approach pays dividends when implementing initiatives. With free content running in parallel streams, it makes sense to bring a group to the event, representing different departments.

The Watercooler content is as relevant to C-suite, finance, facilities and next generation leaders as it is to HR, Talent, benefits and rewards specialists.

It’s also an ideal opportunity to gather and thank your network of Wellbeing Champions, Ambassadors or Allies. They can attend different sessions and feed back key insights across your employee networks.

4. Cut through the noise

Employers frequently tell me that they’re bombarded with information about the different solutions available to them. The challenge is finding their way through the maze of offerings.

With more than 75 specialist suppliers and wellbeing providers exhibiting at The Watercooler, the event is the ideal opportunity to compare a range of solutions in one place. Even better if you bring a group of decision makers from across the business who can outline your organisation’s unique wellbeing challenges.

The Watercooler also includes Fast Pitch sessions running across both days of the event. In these dynamic sessions, mental, physical, financial, social or environmental solution providers will each have five minutes to explain what is different about their product or service and how it will meet employers’ and employees’ needs. Attendees will then have the chance to quiz the presenters.

5. Nothing beats networking in person

Even though digital meeting platforms have proven invaluable across the pandemic, nothing beats networking in person.

With 1000s of professionals expected across the two days of the event, The Watercooler will be an ideal opportunity to share knowledge in real-time with peers from across sectors and departments. Find out what is and isn’t working for them and learn from their experiences and recommendations.

You can find full details, the downloadable conference agenda, and register FREE here.

As Simon Berger, Co-founder of The Watercooler says:

“There has never been a more important time for us all to meet in person to discuss, network and learn the best practice on implementing wellbeing solutions”

I look forward to seeing you at The Watercooler.

About the author

Claire Farrow is the Global Director of Content and Programming for www.makeadifference.media the annual MAD World Summit and The Watercooler. She’s on a mission to help every employer – large, medium and small – get the insight, inspiration and contacts they need to make real impact on workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing in their organisation. She has been freelance for more than 15 years. During that time, she has had the honour of working with many leading publishers, including the New York Times.

* Sources of statistics cited:

  • https://www.mercer.com/newsroom/global-talent-trends-2022.html
  • https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mental-health-workplace
  • https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/coronavirus-leading-through-the-crisis/charting-the-path-to-the-next-normal/employee-burnout-is-ubiquitous-alarming-and-still-underreported
  • https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/loneliness-during-coronavirus
  • https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-9059021/Millions-households-energy-bills.html
  • https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/msd.pdf
  • https://www.macmillan.org.uk/_images/people-living-with-cancer_tcm9-283689.pdf



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