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Leading UK travel company and Hollicom client, Barrhead Travel, plans to have a “wellness champion” in every store by the end of the year. The initiative, which was originally launched two years ago, is accelerating to deal with the knock-on effects of the pandemic.

The rollout of the key plan to help the company’s people follows the valued experience of existing champions in the business’s stores and offices. The business launched their original Wellness Steering Programme in 2019 as it pledged to prioritise the health and wellbeing of its employees across the business.

During the pandemic, wellness champions undertook a crucial role as the business moved its entire retail operation to virtual homeworking.  Their champions have been supporting people with personal challenges as lockdown and new ways of working have unfolded.

Each of the champions is equipped with a Mental Health First Aider qualification and they are backed by a series of wellness initiatives across the business including company-wide wellness events and a monthly newsletter. Barrhead Travel say the initiatives are driven by employee-feedback and were designed to ensure everyone felt “connected and supported” during the pandemic.

The company has acted to tackle what has been recognised by business leaders as a significant problem for many businesses and industries affected in so many different ways by Covid-19 and what it has brought in its wake.

The scale of the issue across the UK has been highlighted in recent research with one survey, commissioned by Lime Insurance, showing that about half of respondents (51 per cent) said they felt under pressure to put on a brave face at work, while four out of ten said they felt less resilient since Covid struck.

Jacqueline Dobson, Barrhead Travel’s President, said that the company’s teams had experienced their own issues and that it had decided to act to extend the existing wellness support.

She said that the independence of the wellness champions was a key aspect of the support that Barrhead Travel was offering.

“We know that people sometimes don’t want to talk to their manager or to HR.”

“The fact that our wellness champions are independent means that more of our team members feel able to chat to them and seek support.”

“We are working with a local college on providing the necessary training for this important contribution to the wellbeing of our people.”