Wellbeing at work

13th January 2022

At TTR Barnes we have been advocates of positive wellbeing at work for some time but have recently pushed our efforts even further with the appointment of a dedicated Wellbeing Ambassador.  As momentum grows in this important area, both across the world and in the North East, we felt it important to spread awareness by using this article to highlight the business benefits of wellbeing and sharing our own efforts.



What is wellbeing at work?

There are many definitions and perceptions of “wellbeing”. Put simply by the Oxford dictionary, it is “the state of being happy, healthy and comfortable”. But how many of us can put our hands up and honestly say that this is how we predominantly feel when at work?

The feeling of wellbeing is subjective and experienced in many different ways depending on the individual. For example, one employee may enjoy being able to take out periods of physical activity throughout their day, whereas another may value the ability to work through their allocated breaks.  For others, wellbeing may be about how they feel they are recognised and rewarded at work or how much autonomy they have in their role.

Unfortunately, this leaves a grey area for many employers, both in how they approach wellbeing at work but also how they measure levels of wellbeing and the impact they have.

Traditionally work has been seen as just that, a place of work, delivering against responsibilities and tasks to ensure a company’s successful operation, with output being the primary measure of success. At times, this focus can be to the detriment of an individual employee – most of us have some sense of being overworked, over faced or overpowered, even viewing working beyond our capabilities as a badge of honour.

In recent years much work has been done to challenge this perception and help companies and their employees understand that work can be delivered in tandem with enjoyment.

Consequently, there is now a much broader awareness of the term “wellbeing at work” within the employment industry and efforts can be seen in businesses both large and small. Industry reports however show that there is some way to go by employers to fully embrace the concept, with this reluctance attributed to a lack of understanding, stubbornness to change or simply fear of a new way of doing things. Token tactics are quickly recognised as insincere by employees and ultimately are unsuccessful in the long run.

Efforts are showing that a successful wellbeing strategy should take a holistic approach, where individual needs are taken into account within any programme of activity.   As the CIPD states,

“Investing in employee wellbeing can lead to increased resilience, better employee engagement, reduced sickness absence and higher performance and productivity. However, wellbeing initiatives often fall short of their potential because they stand alone, isolated from the everyday business. To gain real benefit, employee wellbeing priorities must be integrated throughout an organisation, embedded in its culture, leadership and people management.”

Why is it important?

Wellbeing at work is important for both the employee and the organisation. A happier employee with less stress is an employee that can thrive and contribute positively in their working environment, thus helping overall organisational performance.

Wellbeing can have a positive impact on many areas of the business. Key areas to have shown improvement through wellbeing at work initiatives include the following.

Increased employee commitment

Feeling recognised at work helps build relationships at all levels, and a feeling of allegiance to the company brand. This enables an employee to trust a company and be committed to their success.


Increased employee productivity

An employee who feels valued within the company is more likely to expend effort and be engaged in the company’s long-term aims and how they can contribute to them in their role.


Increased employee resilience

In tumultuous times, a healthier and more mentally well employee is able to deal with unexpected work stresses better than someone already burnt out or struggling.


Better staff retention and referral

It goes without saying that an employee who feels happy and content at work will be more likely to stay.  The added, not-so-obvious bonus is that they are also more likely to speak positively about the company to others, thus building the employer brand and helping future recruitment.


Reduced sickness rates

Aside from having to take less sick days because of stress at work, higher levels of wellbeing have also been shown to actually decrease the levels of absenteeism in other areas, with employees more likely to return to work earlier following a period of illness.


Helping employees in other areas of their life

A company that promotes excellent standards of wellbeing can actually educate employees with strategies that can be used in other areas of life.  Mirroring the ethics and tactics used at work in home life can help improve wellbeing across the board.

david cook ttr barnes

David Cook, Director at TTR Barnes, believes strongly in the impact of positive wellbeing practices,


“Promoting and enabling the health and happiness of employees can only be a good thing for both the business and its workforce.  Over the years and my own career I have seen different ways of approaching this, and a happy team is always the most productive and effective one.  Businesses need to recognise positive wellbeing as a strength in their armoury of delivering success.”




Why is it important to TTR Barnes?

First and foremost it is our responsibility as an employer to look after our employees, and this is an ethos that has stood us in good stead for over 80 years.  In that time you naturally come across different management styles and approaches – we’ve seen them all!  We have always felt that looking after our teams well was not only the right thing to do, but one that brings a wealth of benefits to the employees and the company. In any service-related business you are only as strong as your employees. We must engage with and deliver for clients every day – it’s imperative that our employees are passionate and driven about delivering the best service they can.


We have a multitude of different demographics here in the business. That is important to recognise as each individual is at a different stage in their life, with different priorities, abilities and ways of doing things.  Inclusivity is key, not only recognising but amplifying and empowering the differences we see in all of our team members.

What are we doing here at TTR Barnes?

The key starting point is to understand your individual employees and have someone dedicated to meeting their needs wherever possible. Our recent appointment of dedicated Wellbeing Ambassador, Laura Whittle, means that we can enable positive differences within the business on a case-by-case basis.


For us, making a difference is not about sweeping strategies or policies, but taking the time to identify what wellbeing means for each person and facilitating this where we can. Some tools and activities we are already delivering include:


  • A dedicated Wellbeing Ambassador, to whom employees can reach with ideas and needs
  • Taking an employee-led approach to flexible working, where meeting their needs is primary to meeting those of the business’ traditional working hours
  • Actively recognising life stages e.g. having a baby and making these a celebrated and important part of an employee’s career with us
  • Promoting moments of calm throughout the working week, where employees are able to step away from their desks to take invaluable downtime in a way that suits them
  • Introducing formal recognition points, such as our Thank You dinner, to show the appreciation we have for our team.
  • Employee engagement surveys to gauge employee feelings and satisfaction.



Laura Whittle, member of the Senior Management Team but also TTR Barnes Wellbeing Ambassador is excited about the future of the business,

“To be involved in a business that believes in this level of wellbeing commitment is sensational. We are taking a culture that is already thriving and enhancing it for our employees, both now and in the future.  We have a host of initiatives in the pipeline already for 2021/22 and beyond and I can’t wait to see their impact.”


How can you promote wellbeing at work

There is a wealth of advice and guidance on kickstarting a wellbeing focus within your workplace. If you’re interested in promoting this for your own business then we have sourced some starting points for you above.  Although we provide accountancy services, not wellbeing services (!) we thought it was important to share the efforts we are taking as a company. By having an open conversation around this as local businesses, we can help improve wellbeing at work for employees across the North East and, in turn, the success of our local economy.


Speak to one of our expert team by clicking here.


All information correct at time of going to print/live and on the best knowledge and understanding of the author at the time. This article is for general information only and does not constitute financial advice or recommendations for individual circumstances. No responsibility is taken for any actions taken on the base of the information within this article.

Chartered Accountants in Sunderland, offering expertise on everything from Tax and Business Planning,
to Accounts and VAT.