Chamber Voice: Walking a way to work smarter and harder

In this month’s blog, our Marketing Manager Laura discusses how the Chamber creates a good team culture through physical activity. 

I love a new year. It’s got that new year smell of good things to come, a fresh start and (for most businesses) time off, which leaves space in the brain for creative ideas and renewed enthusiasm.

Then, the first Monday back to work comes around and geez it’s hard to get stuck in. Suddenly we’re overwhelmed with emails and meetings and drama, and then we’re counting down until the next holiday (which, lucky for the Bay of Plenty, we get a few in the summer months).

This year, the Chamber team are trying a different approach by bringing a bit of that holiday feeling with us into our everyday office behaviour. No, we’re not talking lunchtime wines – just a simple, easy walk or activity for 30 minutes every day, leaving the phones and the emails behind us. We’re also challenging ourselves to do a longer, harder mission once a week on a Friday.

Disclaimer, we know we’re lucky to be in an office environment that allows this kind of behaviour and that not every business has this luxury. But business sector aside, the reality is workplace wellness needs to be at the forefront of all employers’ minds.

That’s because giving your employees an opportunity to improve their physical and mental wellbeing plays a part of developing a good company culture. By making your employees feel genuinely valued and giving them the work-life balance they crave, they’ll become great ambassadors for your business and, in turn, stay long and even help you attract other top talent to your business.

I asked a few of our Chamber members, who were nominees in our People & Culture Award at the 2020 Westpac Tauranga Business Awards, to share how they support workplace wellness as part of their company culture.  

Sharon Macquarie, managing director from iSkills, says as well as a monthly team walk around the Mount, they have regular shared / themed morning teas and informal social activities.

They have also introduced a couple of new items to their Monday morning team meetings to build positive team culture.

The first is the Trumpet List, an opportunity to shout out to a team member who has been spotted doing something extraordinary for a customer or the team and that aligns with the company’s core values. The second is Burning Questions, where team members can anonymously submit questions about anything to do with the business – whether it’s about a service they provide, understanding another person’s role, or a problem that needs to be solved. 

“This has encouraged group discussion about who we are and what we do, and is noticeably broadening the knowledge across the team in a safe environment.”

A place well-known for its culture is The Kollective, a social enterprise that aims to offer an environment where charitable and not-for-profit organisations can connect and thrive.

“Our goal is social impact,” says manager of The Kollective, Gordy Lockhart. “Consequently, we believe in being human-centric. We believe our members and our team should enjoy their work-home as through this we achieve great things together.

“Whether it’s Pancake Flipping Races, TK’s Got Talent, the famous TK Quiz, or just our monthly TK Collab Morning T, life at The Kollective revolves around the idea that our thing is bigger than any of us as individuals, and that being happy is the key to wellbeing.”

General manager for Legacy Funerals, Kiri Randall, says, “Without fantastic staff we are unable to provide our community with the support they need when losing a loved one. Legacy Funerals considers the health and wellbeing of their staff as a top priority.”

Legacy Funerals has regular staff meetings, morning tea and lunches together, and provide staff support if required. 

“All staff have regular rostered days off and encouraged to use their annual leave so they can spend more time with their families and friends. We also encourage regular training and upskilling so that we are investing in what they do now, but also their futures.”  

Sponsors of the People & Culture Award, Lysaght, are champions in this space, winning the Humankind Employee Experience Award for the small workplace category in 2019.

Their philosophy is a healthy body, healthy mind way of life, which is why they have a very active workforce. One of the initiatives that really stood out to me was they give staff a 1.5 hour lunch break twice a week for them to do some kind of physical activity, and give them enough time to make it count.

Office & Project Manager Cassie Hoggard says culture sets the tone for the entire workplace.

“I think we all agree that we enjoy coming to work, and this leads to better productivity and efficiency for our clients. The majority of the staff are friends outside of work and enjoy doing things together, which can be rare these days.  

“A flow-on effect is that a great culture leads to higher staff retention and the ability to attract more like-minded people when we are recruiting.”

Whatever workplace wellness looks like to you, make it a priority for you and your team in 2021. If you’re not sure how to get started, give our team a call or an email, and we’ll help get you started.

Three staff members walking for wellness

How to improve workplace culture with Fiona Mackenzie from The Culture Co

(Sponsor of the People & Culture Award).

I’m often asked the question, “What exactly is great work place culture and how do I get some of it at my place”? Perhaps we could start with what work place culture isn’t.

It’s not

  • The fruit bowl on the staff room table
  • The subsidised gym memberships
  • The end of year ‘do.

The foundations of a good work place culture are rituals, sound HR practices, honest and open communications.

It’s all of the following (and often more):

  • Team members can put into words what your company does, how they do what they do, and why they do what they do
  • There should be clarity around their roles, clear expectations and feedback from the leaders
  • They should have efficient and transparent relationships – up, down and sideways
  • They should have the right tools for the job you’re asking them to do
  • They should be able to learn, grow, have a say, be rewarded and remunerated fairly
  • And how about flexibility, what do you offer?

Perks are often tangible and culture often is words, feelings, rituals and observations, in essence ‘the way we do things around here’.

A good question to ask yourself as it can be a true measure of your culture is, “How is my staff retention – are people sometimes prematurely leaving the company?” If so, maybe the culture could be stronger.

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