As the professional landscape evolves, the divide between workplaces that prioritise wellbeing and those that don't has become increasingly evident. 

In 2023, stress, depression, or anxiety accounted for a staggering 49% of all work-related ill-health cases. A CIPD report found that around a third of respondents noted improved employee morale and engagement (35%) and a healthier, more inclusive culture (31%) due to health and wellbeing initiatives. Employers have a legal duty of care to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of their employees, including mental health. Investing in mental wellbeing benefits businesses by boosting productivity, reducing sickness and staff turnover, and fostering a supportive work environment. On average, businesses see a £5 return for every £1 spent on wellbeing support.*

At Printed by Us, we offer a unique perspective as a holistic professional development program supporting vulnerable people re-entering the workforce through a trauma-informed approach. Even for those who haven't faced multiple adversities, balancing career progression with personal wellbeing can be challenging. Here are some strategies we implement at Archer Project Enterprises that we encourage any workplace, regardless of size to adopt.

Co-Production: A Powerful Tool

One of our most important strategies is co-production. This phrase opens up a can of worms, but once understood it is such a powerful tool. This approach involves supported staff in decision-making and program design, ensuring our services are truly helpful and meet their needs. By actively listening and incorporating everyone's ideas, we foster a sense of community and fulfilment. 

Staff Meetings: Safe spaces to share

We hold regular staff meetings, which include all levels of seniority, provide a platform to discuss business plans, share news, and bounce off of eachother. It’s also a safe space for everyone to ask and answer questions. These meetings boost morale and ensure everyone feels part of the team. They also offer a chance to check in on wellbeing and manage workloads collectively.

One-on-Ones: Personalised Support

We have dedicated one-on-one sessions, akin to appraisals in corporate settings, designed to give supported staff an open space to discuss their progress and challenges. These sessions also allow staff to share personal struggles affecting their professional development. As a trauma-informed social enterprise, we prioritise health and wellbeing, offering support tailored to individual needs rather than focusing solely on performance.

Continuous Training and Reflective Practice

Our leadership team participates in regular training sessions and reflective practices to stay informed on supporting workplace wellbeing. This ensures we manage our workloads and own well being effectively while providing the highest standard of support to our team.

Positive Reinforcement and Trust

Trust and positive reinforcement are key to our operations. Staff members are given keys to the shop and access to the online store, instilling a sense of pride and ownership in the programme they are helping to build. This also helps to instil accountability and responsibility in an accessible way. Celebrating all achievements, big or small, is essential for personal and professional development.

Tailored Approaches for Unique Needs

We aim to continue cultivating a programme that is unique case by case. We strive to make ourselves accessible for every beneficiary referred to us, accommodating various needs such as colour coding for individuals with autism, offering a choice of tasks, reducing shifts for those experiencing setbacks, and adjusting the length of participation in Archer Project Enterprises. Meeting individual needs leads to a more productive and fulfilled team.

The Impact of Wellbeing on Progression

From our experience working with homeless and vulnerable individuals, we know how crucial wellbeing is for employment progression and job satisfaction. We've witnessed people transform from having low self-esteem and little experience to gaining multiple accreditations and confidence in their abilities. Without pride and empowerment, career fulfilment is almost impossible. We are super happy to be seeing more employers considering holistic approaches within their workplaces now, but there's still so much to be done! 

Innovation may not always be immediately embraced, but the traditional 9-5 corporate setting is losing popularity. It's time to reevaluate what employees and employers need to create happy, healthy workplaces. Holding space to discuss mental and physical health in workplaces is crucial to a positive environment. We've seen firsthand the long-term benefits of this investment, resulting in a much more productive and satisfied workforce, and we hope more people will experience this in the coming years.