8th October 2020

How Shift8* helped employees become happier, healthier and improved their bottom line

18th April, 2019

Khalil Rener

A bespoke wellbeing strategy with top down buy-in and open-minded employees, all contributed to Shift8* eradicating presenteeism and reducing absenteeism due to mental and physical health issues. It also doubled this SME’s in-year sales from £1million to £2 million (and rising).


More importantly, their staff are happier and healthier thanks to their improved levels of wellbeing. Shift8*’s proactive integration of wellbeing practices into their company culture has enabled them to sustain these benefits.


Shift8*have a simple aim; to change the lives of people living with cognitive challenges, their families and those that care for them. They are committed to reducing levels of social isolation and are doing this by introducing proven technology, specifically the “Magic Table™”. They are devoted to its implementation.


The Wellbeing Challenge:

Shift8* have a rapidly growing team based in their London HQ as well as a remote team working across the UK and Ireland. Shift8* wanted to ensure their staff were healthy, happy and felt looked after. They wanted to lay the groundwork to ensure this didn't fall by the wayside as they continue to grow.


John Ramsay, Shift8*'s CEO and Co-Founder, had already set up several practices within Shift8* to make staff happier, such as flexible working hours, long lunches to allow staff to exercise, and the ability to work from home.


Yet, he felt that there could be more structure and focus within their current wellbeing implementation. He also knew more could be done at an organisational level to ensure Shift8*'s staff felt happy and healthy, as well as to reduce presenteeism and absenteeism rates.  


The Wellbeing Strategy:

John reached out to Rener Wellbeing Ltd in order to develop a bespoke wellbeing strategy. The aim was to help Shift8*’s employees to sustainably improve their levels of wellbeing and to integrate wellbeing into their culture.


John and the other senior leaders were very open about their investment in developing a wellbeing strategy. Indeed, having leadership buy-in from the start was a massive contribution to the success of the strategy.


The strategy development process was broken up into four main parts:

  1. Wellbeing Awareness Workshop
  2. Organisational Wellbeing Audit
  3. Bespoke Wellbeing Strategy Co-Creation
  4. Wellbeing Strategy Implementation


Rener Wellbeing’s plan started with an awareness workshop during Shift8*’s Team Day in December 2018 (with most of their team donning Christmas jumpers). This was to ensure that all their staff had an awareness of why wellbeing is worth investing time and effort into, and why Shift8* was developing a wellbeing strategy.


Rener Wellbeing took a four-pronged approach to wellbeing, focusing on mental health, physical activity, sleep, and nutrition.


They highlighted the benefits to personal health and happiness as well as the impact wellbeing can have on work, such as improving productivity, engagement, satisfaction and performance.


An organisational audit was then used to take the pulse of Shift8*’s current wellbeing status. Observations and interviews were conducted with staff members from different teams with differing levels of seniority.


By fully understanding what was working for their staff's wellbeing and where more structure or more effective practices could be put in place, a bespoke wellbeing strategy was developed for Shift8*.


Several wellbeing practices were implemented at a strategic level and encouraged top-down. For example, the flexible working times strategy was formalised. This ensured staff had time to go to the gym or take breaks to carry out mindfulness activities. It also allowed for some staff to come in later. The ongoing uncertainty had become a staff-wide source of anxiety.


Similarly, the strategy assessed their organisational chart, making improvements to ensure communication lines and job roles were clearly defined.


The wellbeing strategy included 1-1 wellbeing support for the executive team, a group wellbeing plan for the staff based at the HQ, and a separate plan for their remote workers.


The plans covered all four areas of wellbeing. Through top-down encouragement and an assigned internal Wellbeing Champion, the wellbeing plans became not only immediately actionable, but sustainable.


The Sustainable Results:

‘Wellbeing is a massive part of our culture now, the strategy helped us put in place actions and we are actually doing them.' 'Presenteeism has been eradicated and our in-year sales have doubled to £2m. Improved wellbeing definitely helped.’- John Ramsay, CEO & Co-Founder, Shift8*


In terms of productivity and engagement at work John Ramsay highlighted that presenteeism had significantly reduced, thus leading to higher productivity rates. Absenteeism rates reduced as well, especially cases related to mental and physical health issues.


To top it off, Shift8*’s sales team have also improved their performance. In-year sales doubled to £2m and continue to rise. All of these improvements were significantly boosted as a result of improved levels of wellbeing. This has led to the wellbeing strategy giving an ROI of 1:250, without taking into account cost savings from reduced presenteeism and absenteeism.


Several health improvements were noted among the staff. Their nutrition improved, with few healthy food options close to the office most Shift8* employees now bring in their own lunches. Or they seek healthier food shops that are slightly further away from the office, but worth the walk.


Staff energy levels have increased, partly thanks to self-reporting of sleep quality and duration rising. Physical activity levels also increased, with more staff going to the gym at lunch. Others have found ways to integrate physical activity it into their day, such as taking a call whilst walking in the park or cycling their kids to school. Mental health is now an open topic of discussion, spoken about between all staff without a sense of stigma.


All four aspects of wellbeing are brought up both at the weekly team wellbeing catchup and casually between staff. The remote workers have a wellbeing Whatsapp group that is very active and a monthly Skype call to go into more detail about their personal wellbeing.


Looking forward, to ensure wellbeing levels are sustained as they grow, wellbeing has been implemented into the onboarding process for new employees. In addition, their Wellbeing Champion Chris also organises monthly wellbeing-themed events and plans, in addition to the wellbeing action plans developed by Rener Wellbeing.


'The fact that wellbeing is part of our culture now is great, we are all moving in the same direction together around our wellbeing and it is clear that with increased wellbeing everyone is working more effectively'.- Chris Baird - Head of BD and Shift8*'s Wellbeing Champion


It goes without saying that the positive impact of the wellbeing strategy is attributed to the incredible attitude from the team and leadership. Most Shift8* employees encourage each other and genuinely believe in the benefits of integrating wellbeing into their lives.


This attitude spreads from the top downwards, leading to the wellbeing action plans and initiatives being met with little to no resistance. In other organisations, a similar impact may be harder to achieve in such a short period of time, due to some employees not being fully invested, especially if the lack of enthusiasm is from the leadership team.

Khalil Rener

As the Founder of Rener Wellbeing, Khalil Rener is passionate about helping companies and individuals to become happier, healthier and more productive at work and in their personal lives. Rener Wellbeing develop bespoke wellbeing strategies for companies and team, run tailor made workshops, and 1-1 wellbeing support programmes. They currently help companies and individuals in over 10 industries, including Aston Villa Ladies, Pusher, Sport England and Priory Group’s largest hospital - Kneesworth House. Find out more at

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