It has been a pleasure to work with Retail IT – a growing retail technology firm based in Wimbledon – and to help them become recognised by the London Healthy Workplace Charter. Now 16 years old, Retail IT has become a major player in the EPoS and retail software sector, competing with companies far bigger in terms of number of staff and offices. One reason the company has grown (and attracted and retained well-known clients) is the quality of its work, particularly its technical expertise and know-how. This is spearheaded by Operations and Customer Support teams which make up a large proportion of its 12 strong full time team (all based in its Wimbledon HQ).
Finding time to implement
Like many small-to-medium sized firms, Retail IT was looking for ways to ensure its staff were engaged, happy and motivated. Employee engagement schemes had been discussed but finding the time to implement was a challenge. This is where we were happy to take the lead! We certainly weren’t starting from scratch as Retail IT already had a health insurance and care policy (through Vitality) in place for staff who had worked with them for a year (which included half price membership to a very local Virgin Active), and strong health and safety policies.
While we covered the eight key sections which come under the London Healthy Workplace Charter, our main areas of focus included Mental Health, Physical Activity and Healthy Eating. The company signed up for Time to Change, a mental health initiative with the objective of reducing mental health-related stigma and discrimination, and introduced a mental health policy. This was added to its employee handbook and literature was distributed among staff to raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace. An unused basement area was ‘converted’ into an exercise studio to boost physical activity levels.
This has been very well received by staff with an employee now running a weekly yoga class, while others have donated gym equipment to allow them to partake in lunchtime workouts! Information on healthy eating is now available in the ‘Employee Wellbeing’ information area, located in the staff kitchen. Additionally the introduction of a staff fruit bowl has gone down well with employees. Some have ditched their sugary snacks in favour of a banana, apple or whatever other fruits are available.
Roselle Rodger, Retail IT’s Commercial Director, said: “The staff have been very enthusiastic about the scheme so far, particularly around healthy eating and physical activity. It was implemented with no disruption to our working routines and I’m sure we will see ongoing benefits from it.”
As well as setting up the scheme, we have also completed all the necessary paperwork for the company’s application to be recognised for its commitment to its staff. And as this piece was being written, we received notification that the application had been approved by the London Healthy Workplace Charter and Retail IT had successfully attained the Commitment Level standard. The London Healthy Workplace Charter assessors were particularly impressed with:
- Health and wellbeing on the agenda at weekly management meetings
- Named person leads on employee health and wellbeing
- Great example of a supportive approach to an employee with a long-term health condition
- Comprehensive and practical approach to health and safety issues
- Involvement with Time to Change project
We congratulate Retail IT on gaining this deserved award and we look forward to helping them to maintain the scheme.