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Altius Group is mid-way through delivering a customised wellbeing solution to support the significantly impacted hospitality industry through the COVID-19 lockdowns. Our Wellbeing Specialist, Sharon Richens, shares details of this tailored program and outlines why customisation leads to improved wellbeing outcomes.

COVID-19 has seen increased concern for the physical and mental wellbeing of our workforce – concern for those working at the front line, for those who have found themselves without work or on temporarily reduced hours as well as concern for a workforce adjusting to working from home.

And there is a sense that working through uncertainty and the need for building resilient, healthy teams, able to adapt quickly to changing work circumstances is becoming the new normal. Pre COVID-19 there was a significant appetite for wellbeing programs in the workplace. However, this appetite hadn’t always translated well into implementation.

We found many workplaces knew they should act to support healthier workplaces, however, without a clear vision, organisations were often jumping in at a program level or engaging some ad hoc services.

It’s more important than ever to get wellbeing right. This starts with having a clear understanding of an organisation’s workforce and their mental and physical wellbeing concerns. It is more important than ever to encourage mental health engagement and support, to improve environments for incidental activity and to create positive change.

Our experience and evidence tell us that without engagement of key personnel and without thoughtful research and planning for customised implementation, programs tend to be hard to measure and are not seen as engaging for the majority of employees.

The Hospo for Life Example

Since last May, Altius Group has partnered with Hospo For Life to support the mental health and wellbeing of workers in the hospitality industry - providing psychological counselling services and mental wellbeing programs specifically tailored to address the challenges faced by hospitality workers.

Since COVID-19, through this partnership, Altius Group has stepped up the support provided to hospitality workers by developing and implementing a wellbeing program tailored to the current situation. The program has been delivered through a series of “Hospo Happy Hour” webinars. Each webinar is followed by a Q and A segment, titled ‘Your Shout”, enabling listeners to ask the wellbeing specialist a specific question.

We are currently in the fourth week of a six-week program, which has been approached in a holistic way to include physical, mental and social health. The content has been designed to capture the interest of hospitality workers and this has been achieved through having a solid understanding of their current experience.

We have engaged the expertise of allied health professionals across Altius Group to present relevant topics across mental, social and physical health. “Hospo Happy Hour” webinars were delivered each day at 5pm for the first 2 weeks of the program, and then three time per week in the following weeks.

Here’s some examples of the webinars making up the Hospo for Life program, presented by expertise across Altius Group:

  • John Cosentino, Exercise Physiologist, OccHealth by Altius presented “The benefits of exercise to manage your mental health”
  • Darrin Brand, Psychologist, PeopleSense by Altius delivered “Gratitude and positive emotions”
  • Ben Paris, Psychologist, PeopleSense by Altius, outlined issues concerning drugs and alcohol in the hospitality industry
  • Amanda Brown, Psychologist, PeopleSense by Altius - “Understanding habits and how they influence wellbeing”
  • I presented “Wellbeing takeaways from the blue zones”
  • Jack Whittaker, Exercise Physiologist, OccHealth by Altius, presented “Motivation and exercise”
The Results So Far...

Hospo for Life Founder, Liam Crawley, says "The response we have had to Hospo Happy Hour has been nothing short of amazing. We have reached Hospo workers not only from Australia, but from all over the globe with over 100,000 people tuning in which makes me really proud of what the Hospo For Life and Altius Group teams have achieved.

To be able to offer the level of support that has been provided by Altius Group and Hospo For Life has certainly helped a lot of people within the industry during a massive time of need brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. The program has given them a lot of tips to maintain their mental health and self-care that they can implement not only now but also into the future as we build a new type of normal."

The Take-Aways from the Hospo for Life Experience:

  • Research your industry group to ensure context and valid messaging.
  • Have a clear understanding of the audience – how are they feeling? What are they experiencing? What are the best channels for engagement?
  • Deliver a program that responds to these findings, presenting content that is relevant and engaging for the greatest impact on wellbeing.
  • Deliver a holistic program that supports mental, physical and social health.
  • Engage with expertise – make sure participants are receiving credible, evidence-based support.
  • Embrace digital tools to support your program.
  • Make sure your program is measurable.

Addressing these key factors can convert your “wish to support wellbeing” to proactively managing the wellbeing of your people.