4 May 2023

Sandford Timaru Hooks into Workplace Wellbeing

Five years ago Sanford Timaru began their WorkWell journey with the launch of their wellbeing programme ‘SanWell’. Since then they’ve been leading the wellbeing way for the wider organisation, with three additional sites following in their footsteps and also hooking in to WorkWell. 

With the goal of becoming an employer of choice, prior to launching SanWell, Sanford Timaru had already put in good groundwork to gauge staff feedback on key areas. “We’d run our own survey that showed engagement was lower than we’d like. We saw straight away WorkWell would be a real engagement opportunity, and as our average employee age is 43, we needed to do more to keep our people well and working,” says Site Manager, Grant Day.

After coming on board with WorkWell, Sanford Timaru’s initial survey was complimented by the WorkWell staff survey with a specific focus on workplace wellbeing. The results provided a strong indication of the priority wellbeing areas which most needed attention; physical activity, mental health, and healthy eating.

With three clear wellbeing areas of focus, Sanford Timaru set sail and began implementing positive changes. As part of their efforts toward healthy eating, Sanford Timaru’s wellbeing committee introduced menu changes to the onsite café. “We’ve increased the healthy options on offer. We’ve put salads on the menu, and hearty homemade soups that are popular in the winter. We still have pies and chips but we’ve tried to cut down on portion sizes and encourage people towards other options,” says Grant. Despite it not always being smooth sailing, SanWell is committed to staying true to the aim of the programme and responding to staff feedback. Sugary drinks may be the next area of focus for Sanwell. “They’re one of our biggest challenges,” says Grant. “We have water coolers onsite and we’ve done a bit of work on eliminating sugary drinks, but my gut feeling (no pun intended) is we need to do more.”

Grant believes having SanWell run by workers, rather than management, is key to the success of the programme. “We coordinate SanWell through a subcommittee of the sites Health and Safety Teams I provide guidance, suggestions and funding where necessary, but other than that SanWell is for the workers, by the workers.”

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