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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Monthly HappyNews: Uplifting News Stories


This month at HappyMaven, we celebrated World Wellbeing Week which highlights the tools and knowledge needed to promote a healthy and balanced mental and physical lifestyle.

Continuing this theme, this month we want to spotlight some companies who are excelling in creating supportive and happy places to work, where employees feel valued and rewarded for their commitment, which is so important - now more than ever.

We hope that by sharing this collection of our favourite news stories of the month, we will spread just a little bit more joy and provide a well-needed fix of positivity. 

Target is raising minimum wage and offering bonuses

Target is increasingly becoming the forerunners in employee appreciation and wellbeing in the States. Staying true to their promise to employees in 2017, to incrementally increase base pay - before Target could have even imagined the reality of 2020 - the retailer is raising its starting pay to $15 per hour. Target also announced that it is paying a $200 bonus to all its frontline workers in stores and its distribution centers as a thank you for their efforts throughout the pandemic. Target employees are offered free mental health counseling sessions and virtual healthcare visits, regardless of if they’re enrolled in the company’s healthcare plan. 

Singapore joins New Zealand in openly considering a four-day workweek

New Zealand has welcomed the move to an optional four-day week, which would help employees address persistent work/life balance issues while encouraging more domestic tourism within New Zealand. Since the Coronavirus lockdown prevented most travel, this workplace culture seems increasingly likely to be adopted across many countries. Singaporeans adapted to new working arrangements within a very short period of time and as Singapore prepares for phase two of its reopening, members of parliament believe employers should build on the progress made. Established firms like Microsoft have shown that a four-day workweek can increase productivity by up to 40 percent.

Headspace offers free subscription to anyone unemployed or furloughed in UK

According to the latest ONS figures, between March and May 2020, the number of employees on the UK payroll fell by more than 600,000 and approximately 9.1 million people are currently on furlough.  Understanding how devastating unemployment can be, and the stress, anxiety, and health concerns that it can lead to, mind meditation app Headspace has announced it is offering free subscriptions to all unemployed and furloughed workers in the UK for a year.

Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of Headspace, said: “Obviously, mindfulness cannot change the circumstances of the pandemic, but it can help to provide essential tools for managing stress at this difficult time."

Start-up app connects prisoners with their loved ones

Ameelio, a nonprofit with an app that lets prisoners’ loved ones easily stay in touch with them, launched this quarter. The pandemic crisis has prompted US prisons to ban in-person visits, but the only other option – phone calls and texts – are prohibitively expensive for many. Ameelio delivers pictures and videos for free, as they believe that staying connected to loved ones and paying for basic needs shouldn't be a tradeoff.

Stronger Together: Team ITG’s unique spirit

We want to shine a spotlight on workplaces who are at the forefront of employee wellbeing, practicing innovative and inspiring ways to support and motivate their workforce. At the technology-led marketing business ITG (Inspired Thinking Group), throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, they have activated special measures to ensure that all 1,000 employees across the globe felt safe, secure, and fully supported. These measures include a weekly podcast where senior management and CEO, Simon Ward respond to questions submitted by employees to ensure that everyone has a chance to get their voice heard. Team ITG has also appointed Wellbeing Champions in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity, and also live-stream daily yoga sessions, which aim to keep everyone centred and relaxed during this tricky period.

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