Concern for employee well-being spurs new &Barr wellness program

By: Kim Blaylock / VP Account Service

COVID has taken its toll on Americans, negatively affecting our mental health and well-being. In a tracking poll conducted in mid-July, 53% of adults in the US reported negatively impacted mental health due to worry and stress over the virus, including difficulty sleeping, eating, increase in alcohol or substance use, and worsening chronic conditions.

On top of the virus and because of it, many businesses – including &Barr’s – experienced a decline, resulting in layoffs and reduced salaries. As &Barr leadership talked to our team members, we heard that this “perfect storm” contributed to lower team morale, and higher stress and anxiety on a personal and professional level.

At &Barr, our people are our most valuable resource. They are also family. Concerned with what we were hearing, we evaluated what role our organization could play to contribute to employees’ well-being. We decided to create a Health & Wellness program to provide a range of wellness options to let the &Barr team know they are valued, cared about, and that &Barr is invested in their personal growth and well-being. Program offerings include:

  • A dedicated Teams “Health & Wellness Channel” offering wellness research and resources including articles and podcasts; as well as inspirational quotes and images
  • Virtual fitness classes offered twice per week
  • “Wednesday morning coffee” video chat to catch up with other team members – no business talk allowed!
  • Virtual lunchtime meditation sessions twice per week
  • More time off, including “Summer Fridays” where work stops at 3pm, and a week-long office holiday the week after Christmas
  • Health, wellness and productivity webinars

We are encouraged that the program has been positively received, with over 70% of team members saying the content is relative to them and almost half reporting that the program helps them feel better about themselves and has helped with their stress levels.

The program will continuously expand based on the needs of the team. We have many new areas to explore based on feedback received and are excited to offer new resources that contribute to the overall health of our team members and consequently, our agency.