When we founded Futureheads, creating a great, supportive work culture was as important to us as growing a successful recruitment company.

We’re a people business, reliant on staff who are fit, healthy and happy enough both physically and mentally, to do their jobs well, and to in turn deliver a great service to our clients and candidates.

We’re also a culture-led business with a commitment to being a great employer, evidenced by our Great Place to Work awards.

So it’s a real priority for us to promote wellness amongst our staff and to support them in their efforts to be healthy. This began in year one when we introduced free monthly massages for all our staff – still by far the most popular of our benefits! – and we of course made sure all of the standard hygiene factors, like free eye tests, a good holiday package, and so on, were also in place.

But every employer can do more. Looking at the most recent figures for work-related stress in the UK makes sobering reading: in the UK, stress accounted for 37% of all work-related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health in 2015-16, equating to 11.7 million lost days of work.

Mental health organisation Mind recently reported that 42 per cent of employees in a UK survey had considered resigning due to workplace stress.

Physical and mental wellbeing is key to the success and happiness of both employee and employer – that’s a “no brainer” – and in turn, as Great Place To Work reports, workplace culture is a key driver of wellbeing. We do all we can to make Futureheads a great place to work, but anyone who has worked in the industry will know that recruitment can be a stressful career.

There are highs and lows involved in working to targets, for sure. Unlike other recruitment businesses we use KPIs only as a constructive self-management tool, and only when needed. Regardless, it’s inevitable that some employees develop a level of stress during their busy careers with us.

As a management team we wanted to better understand that stress, and learn how our culture could be improved to help alleviate it where possible, so we commissioned clinical psychologist Dr. Chantal Scaillet to run two training courses for us. The first was aimed at all staff, and was about stress in the workplace, helping our teams to recognise signs of stress in themselves and others, and looking at ways to combat it.

This course, and the feedback that followed, gave our management team a much better understanding of the source of stress for some of our staff, so we were able to make plans to combat those stressors – such as helping individuals to feel more in control of their workload and more empowered to flag up stressful situations as they occurred. Importantly, we also ensured that our management team attended a second session with Chantal, specifically focussing on how as leaders and managers we can minimise our own stress – and ensure we’re not passing it on – as well as supporting those in our teams who may be feeling under pressure, either inside or outside work.

Inspired by this learning, along with some reading about what other companies were doing in this area we decided to launch Futureheads Wellness Week this summer – creating a fun but informative programme to help individuals understand and enhance their wellbeing – with a little competition on the side, natch.

Change must come from the top so the Futureheads founders – myself, Rachel and Be – led the charge…

  • We launched a two-week long wellness incentive for staff with prizes including a Fitbit, gym sessions, organic food boxes and Sweaty Betty vouchers
  • A healthy welcome pack appeared on everyone’s desk at the start of the week
  • Our weekly groceries shop said goodbye to refined sugar and bad carbs, and hello to loads more fruit, yummy brown stuff, and healthy alternatives
  • Our wonderful masseuse Michelle Rollings helped relieve our aches and pains
  • We provided yoga sessions with qualified doctor and yoga teacher Bryony Hughes  (which were full each evening!)
  • We brought in qualified nutritional therapist Rachael Wall to give talks on nutrition and to demonstrate quick and easy food options for healthy lunchboxes and energy boosting smoothies

The Futureheads team loved it. Wellness is fun when we’re all in it together! Our company Whatsapp group was awash with pictures of healthy salads and brown rice. Our competitive natures spurred us on to take more exercise, take the stairs instead of the lift, forgo that cheeky beer or glass of wine.

Some of us won prizes, some of us were spurred on to give up smoking, lots of us discovered brown rice is actually delicious and all of us learned something new. I call that a wellness win.

If you’d like to work for an employer who genuinely cares for your wellbeing, come and talk to us.


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