As we pick up our work after the holiday season, the stark reality is clear: The health and wellbeing of our people has never been more important.
Employers – this is your Call To Action
- Mental health problems are now the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK
- Employee burnout is ubiquitous, alarming – and still underreported
- 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 23rd & 24th February, The Watercooler event is where you can gather (in a Covid-safe way), 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 Leena Nair, Chief HR Officer, Unilever; Dame Carol Black; Professor Sir Cary Cooper; Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind; and diversity and inclusion specialist Winston Ben Clements.
It’s also a chance to hear fresh voices such as: Marleece Estella, Senior Vice President Global Health and Wellbeing, BP; Eunice Z. Clements-Tweedie, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, The LEGO Group; Sharon O’Connor, Global Lead Employee Wellbeing, Novartis; and Matt Elliott, Chief People Officer, Bank of Ireland.
Other speakers include senior representatives from Spotify, TikTok, McDonald’s, Ocado Group, Anglian Water, Eon and many more. You can download the full programme here.
2. Get answers to your questions at the workshops and roundtables
Running parallel to the keynote sessions will be eight 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 in the morning 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” and “The big C: Supporting colleagues living with and beyond cancer”.
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.
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 80 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 5 x 5 Fast Pitch sessions running across both days of the event. In these dynamic sessions, five 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 5,000 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.
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: