Wellbeing at BDO

15 August 2019

We talk to BDO Partner, Craig Gower and Head of People and Culture, Phil Boyd Clark about how to find more of the elusive work life balance and how BDO supports their staff in this pursuit. 

Why is wellbeing a growing concern for organisations?

As technology continues to evolve and accelerate changes in how we do business, people are working harder, faster and longer. The impact this has on an individual’s ability to manage their wellbeing can be significant. The rate of change and the expectations people put on themselves to keep up is increasing stress and testing resilience. Each person has a different stress or resilience threshold which is near impossible to accurately measure. Stress can have a positive impact on performance but it needs to managed and balanced on an individual level.


How can an organisation manage their employees wellbeing?

  • The first challenge is to appreciate wellbeing in a holistic sense. To adequately manage wellbeing, we need to broaden our definition of wellbeing into four categories:
  1. Health – both physical and mental
  2. Family and Community
  3. Career
  4. Financial
  • The categories are interdependent and each person will be impacted by the categories in various ways, which makes it very challenging for organisations to pro-actively and adequately manage each employee’s wellbeing, all the time.
  • The solution is to educate and empower employee to manage their wellbeing.
  • Organisations can provide the environment and technology to enable employees to manage their wellbeing.  For example flexible working hours and work from home or other office locations.
  • Organisations can implement a holistic wellbeing programme for individuals that firstly focusses on a holistic definition of wellbeing how they can better manage their wellbeing based on their individual circumstances.


What can employees do to manage their wellbeing?

  • Understanding and regularly reassessing wellbeing priorities and taking relevant and meaningful actions based on the priorities.
  • Family may be the top priority for an individual, followed by a progressing career and thirdly their health.
    • A relevant action for that individual may be to prioritise non-negotiable time for their family each week. This could be a commitment that they will be home at 6pm every evening and from 6 to 7pm they will be 100% focused on family - no phone, no computer, no TV.
    • With that commitment set, they will leave work every night by a specific time to allow for their commute. After 7pm, they can focus on their second (career) or third (health) priorities depending on the day.
    • In terms of progressing their career, knowing that they will leave work at a specific time each day, their focus could be on productivity – making every minute count so that they can get home for family and health without having to worry about their career.
    • Planning and articulating each days expected outcomes and catching themselves being unproductive are two actions they can take.
  • The key part to that strategy is setting expectations, which is all about communication. Letting stakeholders know what is important and why, along with the actions being taken, allows the individual to adequately manage to their priorities, with support from others.

Lake Taupo Cycle challenge | Wellness

How do events like the BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge complement a focus on wellbeing?

Each year BDO has 150 keen participants in the BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, with many sitting on a waiting list. These numbers create a critical mass of people who share a fitness goal by including our partners, staff, clients and their families. Our people encourage one another to train and will often cycle together, which builds relationships. It becomes part of our culture where taking time to maintain physical wellbeing is encouraged and accepted.


What are you looking forward to about the ride?

The best aspect about the BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is the camaraderie of an event with 6,000 cyclists. You really appreciate how big the cycling community is and how important is for people to have an event like the BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge to work towards and share with one another. You build great relationships in the run up to the event and during the event and it is a lot more social than people initially realise. Even after years of participating in cycling events, the BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge always stands out for simply bringing so many people together.