Experts from Tictrac say enabling consistent and meaningful interactions are still vital as employees return to the office, as physical proximity alone cannot foster significant social wellbeing. It comes as data from Aon found that less than 3 in ten employers (27%) say that virtual or remote working is a barrier to improving social wellbeing.

The research showed that beyond remote working, core issues that employers agree are barriers to social wellbeing include: COVID-19 required social distancing (38%), Time/shift work (21%), Lack of overall employee engagement in organisations (20%), Cultural barriers (13%), Lack of team focused work (12%) as well as Uncollaborative work environments (10%).

Despite these prominent barriers, only 65% of organisations incorporate social wellbeing into their strategy, compared to 70% who incorporate physical wellbeing and 67% emotional wellbeing.

Martin Blinder, CEO and Founder of Tictrac, said:

“Social wellbeing is a vital pillar of our overall wellbeing, but it needs daily care. Having people physically back together in the office isn’t enough to unite teams.

“Wellbeing isn’t a one-off event. Like happiness, it’s not a permanent state. Some days our wellbeing might be great, but on others, it’s not. That’s why we consistently need to look after ourselves. Engagement is the same – it can swing depending on the employee.

“As we begin to socialise again, consistent and meaningful interactions will make more of a difference to employees than one big  re-uniting. Welcoming employees back with a team-building event might be a great way to kick off re-integrating teams and colleagues old and new, but we’re not the same people we were 18 months ago. We need time to get to know each other again through consistent interactions, in some ways and more so for some people, learning how to do it again.”

Aon’s research also found that 42% of employers struggle to maintain employee engagement in wellbeing programmes, while another 42% said employee engagement and interest was a challenge when expanding or starting wellbeing initiatives. 

The research also found that of the 87% of companies who have wellbeing initiatives in place, only 55% have a strategy.

Blinder suggested that employers can use more encouraging strategies to unite teams, such as bringing competition and purpose into social wellbeing:

“A little healthy competition is a great way to increase social interactions and provide a space for social wellbeing to flourish, all without it feeling like forced fun. It’s also a chance to reconnect with purpose, which is proven to be a huge factor when it comes to motivation and behaviour.

“We can see from the research that 60% of companies don’t currently offer social or sporting clubs, 59% don’t currently encourage participation in charity walks or runs and 41% don’t currently provide shared collaboration spaces.

However, mixing social wellbeing into a wellbeing strategy like this will not only get engagement high, but it will also keep it there. All the while, fostering connection and camaraderie.”



How to add wellbeing into the workplace

We’d all like to have a team of healthy, motivated workers, no? Unfortunately, Bob’s got a Summer cold, Sally’s got a sad look in her eyes and Lloyd think’s he’s packed on the pounds since he started working with you thanks to the endless supply of cakes and his sedentary role. What’s a leader to do?

Before you splash out on anything crazy – (abdomonizers for the whole office?) – take a look at this list and see if you pick up some tips.


Think of wellbeing and you’re probably thinking ‘Fitbit’. Whilst any kind of activity tracker is, of course, a great idea, it’s also well worth keeping an eye on the apps in the wellbeing charts, or you might want to try and speak to your reward and incentives/ HR software provider about options to integrate wellbeing messages into your literature/ portals or places employees reside at present. Whilst gadgets are great, and you can get scales and calorie counters and wellbeing guides and everything in between, bear in mind that simple is sometimes best.

For example, sitting down is one of the biggest problems we face, healthwise, so you might want to look at ways to get people up and moving using alerts or reminders. You might also want to incentivise healthy behaviours. Bear in mind when we talk wellbeing, we’re also talking mental health, so perhaps you’ll be looking for meditation apps, using a portal to encourage car sharing or walking groups, or looking at ways to galvanise teams together into out of work activities.


Check the latest apps on the app store and see what’s popular. Whilst you might want to come up with your own ‘helpful’ tips – your employees may prefer to be reimbursed for downloading an app that they can use and get a lot of value from in their own time.


Try and use your own portals to offer advice and tips – but avoid legal worries by bringing in an expert. 


Use the power of our ‘alert’ culture to try and alert people that it’s a good time to move around – The Balanced App allows you to set up reminders to act in a more healthful fashion, for example. 


Don’t just think physical, exterior health. Use tech to tap into motivators to make healthy bodies and minds alike. 


2. Office moves

With a healthy ratio of steps at around 10,000 a day, many of us barely walk half of this. As a workplace, you have to take some responsibility. Whilst shooing everyone into the car park to do start jumps might be a little perverse, moving your office to encourage steps could be a nice idea. It sounds a bit cheesy, but a standing meeting is a relatively tame concept now – with the added bonus that you really start to cut down on the time the whole process takes.

You might want to take a look at a few of the cool new desk/ standing workout options as well. every 2 minutes there are some new funky options and surely, it’s not long until all our employees are hooked up to the grid in a Black Mirror-esque future…


Gymba Standing Platform, £118.80, Posturite & the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair, £74.07-

3. Mood lights

A 2006 study – The impact of light and colour on psychological mood: a cross-cultural study of indoor work environments by Küller R  analysed 988 workers and concluded that “the light and colour of the workplace itself had an influence on the mood of persons working there. The workers’ mood was at its lowest when the lighting was too dark. The mood then improved and reached its highest level when the lighting was experienced as just right, but when it became too bright the mood declined again.” Just like Goldilocks, lighting is all about getting it just right.

According to the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, a 30-50 foot-candle (fc) range is suitable for general office lighting. ‘Foot-candle’ is a unit of lighting which measures the intensity of light in relation to its source. Take a look at who have made a great guide in this area – we can’t repeat quite what they mean when it comes to lumens and foots and ranges –  it as it slips us back into GCSE Science and we feel a bit nauseous – but there are lights available – they recommend the  Full Spectrum 5ft 58w 172 Activa Tube – for example. We’ll trust them on that one!

Consider as well that many people suffer from SAD. Whilst this is probably not in play now – it could be something you consider looking for in the Winter or Autumn months. The symptoms include a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, irritability and feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day.

You may want to start taking a temperature gauge of what people would like the office to feel like and how it can be improved.

Take a look at what lighting you can change in the office

Could you move desks to be closer to a natural light source

Cleaning exterior and interior windows can also be a mood booster

Add in lighter coloured walls or a bright feature colour


3. Flexible working

Wellness might bring up the idea of ripe apples or a hearty gym session, but when it comes to employees wellness also includes freedom and flexibility. The mental wellbeing and benefits from more free time, the ability to spend time away from work and freedom to spend time on projects or hobbies could all be much more appealing than a job title or a salary increase.

Encourage Summer working or flexible hours

Build in time for exercise during the working day or time to change into workout gear before they leave work

Keep conversation channels open about how employees can work with the company as their circumstances change


4.  Help with socialising and self-care

According to Mind, “Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research. Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.” Whilst kindness brings to mind volunteer days and work, it could also apply to self-care. This could be as broad as getting a haircut or a treat of a manicure or a spa day through to an

This could be as broad as getting a haircut or a treat of a manicure or a spa day through to an exercise class or a yoga session. As well as ‘out of office’ and free time, try and make a sense of community in the office as well. Whilst we all know about job shares, and meeting the teams, and cross team pollination of ideas – are we actually doing it, regularly?

As an employer, encourage employees to seek out opportunities with a calendar of local events

Remind employees to partake in their lunch hour

Create deals with local businesses to harness discounts on clubs or activities

Encourage self-care with grooming/ relaxing in office activities

Try buddying up across teams and creating the pathways for people to meet and sit with different colleagues 


Pass employees a link to Mind or make this accessible so they can help themselves 

5. Financial wellbeing support 

Try and have a good night’s sleep when you are racked with worry about your bills and debts – it’s not really possible. With a poor nights sleep comes a dreadful day, so it’s imperative that employees can be there to lend a hand for real worries. Anything to do with pay can be awkward. That’s why it could be worth looking at a helpline that can be on hand to take those calls. According to the NHS, some good resources include The Citizens Advice Bureau to get information about benefits, how to deal with debt, redundancy, and risk of losing a home. GOV.UK for its sections on redundancy and dismissals benefits and managing debtCruse for bereavement care, Mind for mental health problems and Relate for relationship counselling.