Mars explains activities aimed at the well-being and health of employees
The new reality has brought about radical changes in the work environment, which are largely related to the care of employees, and among the various programs, the concept of Wellbeing Ambassadors stood out. It is a global trend that represents an initiative within companies, where employees help each other in the workplace to improve the quality of life.
This approach, which has proven to be very effective for maintaining employee satisfaction and preserving their well-being, with special emphasis on the importance of a balanced lifestyle, involves finding and creating a whole combination of activities. From those for maintaining physical and mental health, support programs, various educations to some joint activities to raise positive energy in the team.
Companies operating around the world have begun to apply the trend at the local level, with excellent results in strengthening communication between employees within the organization. As they point out at Mars company, the Wellbeing Ambassadors concept is part of their many years of practice focused on the well-being and mental health of employees, which has proven to be particularly effective during a pandemic.
“One of the advantages of working from home that employees have recognized is saving time – they no longer have to travel from home to work, but they can dedicate time to their hobbies, physical activity or simply provide themselves with more sleep. At the same time, frequent video calls tire them out, they lack informal interaction with colleagues, they face a lack of motivation, and they often face difficulties in balancing private and business life, with a tendency to work longer than they would in the office. When we look at everything, we can conclude that it is necessary to create an integrated approach in maintaining employee satisfaction. Among the many activities that we have been focusing on employees in Mars, for years, the Wellbeing Ambassadors program is an extremely successful and valuable solution that stimulated enthusiasm and initiated interesting activities during the pandemic,” says Zorana Novaković, Human Resources Director in Mars company for the UBBAI region to which Serbia belongs, along with 14 other markets.
The experiences of local Ambassadors are valuable, and Olga Bilić, Activation Executive, points out that she tries to spend as much time outside as possible every day: “I really like being in the fresh air – I often walk or practice fast walking, and if the weather conditions don’t allow it, I ride a stationary bicycle. Such activities really have a positive effect on the mind and body, which has inspired us to practice training online, and some of the best examples are “Thai Chi Classes” which taught us about mental and physical balance, as well as “My Fitness”, morning online training to raise energy. Employees came from different locations, from their home or nature, and the reactions to the programs were great, and they represent a simple and effective example that encouraged positive energy.”
From the company Mars, they additionally explain that the engagement of the Ambassador is based on the goodwill of the employees, regardless of the position they have in the company, and is based on activities that encourage and improve the work environment. The Ambassador’s primary responsibility is to devote some time each month to planning and organizing activities that will inspire and motivate other employees to participate and provide positive effects on their mental and physical health.
Vuk Mijanovic, Distributor Manager Petcare, shared his team’s experience: “We strive to make the most of new technologies that support working from a distance, and we strive to spend the working day or team meetings in nature. After last year’s quarantine, the initiative “Time to Recharge” during the summer, in conditions of limited travel opportunities, brought us an exchange of experiences and creativity in discovering completely new and different locations for rest, relaxation, entertainment and “recharging batteries” in nature. It is inevitable to mention the “Weekly walking challenge”, which encouraged us to collect as many kilometres as possible through walking or running, and every week we pointed out fantastic results and records that reached over 60 km per week. “
“Ambassadors transform the culture of the organization, generate sustainable changes and strengthen employee relations,” said Zorana Novakovic, adding that Mars presented this program in the Balkans and Baltic countries in the fall of 2018, and since then 25 active ambassadors have been organizing local activities which have proven to be extremely significant over the past year. “We experimented in several ways – the ambassadors organized online yoga classes, workshops for preparing squeezed juices, conducted morning online exercises, organized walks, or even five-month challenges for counting steps. Our colleagues from Serbia and the region read fairy tales to the children of other colleagues via video calls, and in that way provided little free time to parents. The Ambassador’s mission is to reduce stress, educate colleagues on various aspects of good work and living environment, to share experiences, motivate to perform physical activities, or share recipes, as well as manage energy and empower colleagues.”
“Energy for Life” – is one of the training that taught employees how to manage energy during the day, and Sasa Miljanovic, Market Finance Co-Pilot, explains that they learned how to balance business and private obligations, properly distribute their energy and find motivation.
“I believe that balance is key to mental health, so I try to enjoy nature and sports with children and friends, and above all, to replenish energy after hours of work and meetings. In the same way, in the company, we wanted to create joint activities that will encourage staying in nature and reducing stress and finding joy in what is available to us during a pandemic. “
In the new situation due to the pandemic, which has greatly affected business models by bringing many challenges, but also numerous innovations that indicate the benefits of this way of working, support programs, education of employees about mental health, as well as a willingness and openness to change that is necessary for the satisfaction, success, and well-being of the entire organization, conclude from Mars company.