Nathan Andres is Global Wellbeing Lead and Director of APAC at The Body Shop and will be speaking about purpose at work, live and in-person in Melbourne on day three of the Wellbeing at Work Australia & New Zealand Summit, taking place between 8-10 November and we wanted to get his thoughts before he takes to the virtual stage.
We are thrilled that you will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work ANZ Summit in November. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?
I’m doing terrific and feeling balanced.
As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges your you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?
Some of the biggest areas we face in the retail industry is ensuring we make wellbeing accessible to all—including our collective in stores and our distribution centers. In addition to this, ensuring new ways of working and prioritization for our teams is a key area we are focused on.
What strategies have you seen developing in Australia & New Zealand over the past 6-12 months post pandemic to address health and wellbeing in the workplace?
The retail space really saw the brunt of pandemic whiplash with opening and closing stores, trading hours, and ensuring PPE and safety was at the center of our action plans. Now that we move to a post-pandemic life, its about rebalancing our employee’s own wellbeing with building back the relationships with our customers. These two areas can play off each other well because connection as one of our wellbeing practices, enables our employees to connect with their own bodies and health whilst at the same time connecting with the guest and customers who come to visit and shop in our stores. We know the wellbeing science supports connection among people and the by-products are greater sense of connection, community, gratitude and happiness. We are focused on bringing this balance back again and in addition to some of our wellness products, we believe this is part of the formula to fully rejuvenate our people and our brand.
Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?
It’s always been in the background for me and that’s a longer story, but I fundamentally believe that when we are taking care of our selves we are building resilience and the best version of ourselves. I care so deeply for this I wrote a book about it, due to be published later this year. It’s title is Your REAL Life: Get Authentic, Be Resilient, Make it Count. Its about making your wellbeing count to live a life of joy and wellbeing.
What are you most looking forward to about the Summit in November?
I’m really looking forward to meeting the collective and learn and share with each other. Relationship building really starts with in-person connection and energy exchange. To be with other like minded people in a learning environment is a space I thrive and enjoy to be.
Tell us, what is your vision for the workplace of the future, in terms of employee engagement, health and wellbeing?
We know that in my business at The Body Shop, Wellbeing plays a fundamental part of our engagement. The future needs to include wellbeing as the centerpiece to cultures. That is, culture is made of symbols, rituals, language and practices and I think more workplaces need to drive wellbeing into their cultural identities. We were blessed with the progressive mind of Anita Roddick in her creation of the Mind-Body-Soul philosophy and we’ve invigorated that with a modern twist today.
What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12-18 months?
I’ve said before that 2019 was the year of physical wellbeing, 2020 was about starting the wellbeing conversation and leading with mindfulness, 2021 was about mental wellbeing/mental health while 2022 has been about pulling it all together. I think the next year or so ahead we will see employers going deeper to create cultures and spaces for all of these practices to continue. We are already seeing some of the lingering effects of covid like Hyrbid-working. What will be important is to not lose the connections with each other and to continue to have employee relations work focus on meaningful and impactful business outcomes that stem from being well and being ‘best-self.’
How has your organisation been leading the way?
We’ve been really clear with our employees and activating them to participate—we have Wellbeing Ambassadors and Mental Health First Aiders – employees who are driving the conversation and using the framework of Mind-Body-Soul to create programmes but also to use to start dialogues and listening to employees around the world. We talk about purposeful leadership, resilience and driving activism through system changemaking. I myself take this seriously and as a Wellbeing Activist and on the front lines ensuring that our programmes and tools continue to remain relevant. We are constantly reminding our people about wellbeing batteries, wellbeing habits and using the three practices that mirror Mind-Body-Soul—which are Mindfulness, Connection and Gratitude. I could go on… how much time do we have? Ha ha…
Join us at the Wellbeing at Work Australia & New Zealand Summit between 8-10 November 2022 in Sydney, Melbourne and virtually and hear from Nathan and over 50 expert speakers from across the world. Further details here.