Ministry of Justice, Finalist 2016, The Innovation Award

Key features

  • Taking flexible and smart working a step further to overtly demonstrate a link with physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Two well-publicised and supported events to focus on the impact of smart working and to help people develop skills and tools to manage their own health and wellbeing.
  • 98 per cent of those who took part found the sessions useful and 97 per cent would recommend them.
  • Wellbeing sessions have continued and are becoming routine parts of office life.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ), like all government departments, continues to go through change and staff reduction which can lead to employee uncertainty and stress. The MoJ has sought to help staff to cope with their personal and work related levels of stress with a focus on wellbeing. For the MoJ the focus on wellbeing comes from the understanding that a healthier workforce leads to a more efficient workforce. In other words, if staff are not at their best, they cannot provide their best work and service for the customer.

In October 2015, the MoJ relaunched the department’s wellbeing strategy. It followed the work that had started on Transforming the Way We Work (TW3), a departmental programme, and Smart Working, a behavioural culture strand linked to TW3, through which the MoJ had made changes to furniture, technology and working arrangements to allow staff to work more flexibly. While this was seen as a benefit to some staff, the link between Smart Working and wellbeing had not been overtly made. The MoJ wanted to engage more staff in how Smart Working changes could benefit their personal health and wellbeing.

Two events that linked Smart Working and wellbeing were developed. Both were made up of a series of seminars, workshops, exercise classes and wellness activities, all aimed at celebrating and embedding Smart Working practices across the MoJ. The aim was to empower staff to change their behaviours, focus on their own wellbeing and understand how to achieve a real work-life balance.

The two events were Smart Working Week (12th – 15th October 2015) and Love Yourself, Love Wellbeing Week (8th – 12th February 2016). There were strong publicity campaigns for both events, blogs, intranet articles, newsletters, posters, social media, calendar invites, and banners were all used in the lead up to both events to encourage high attendance.

Smart Working Week recognised and centred around the MoJ’s TW3 activity. This had a focus on the newly launched commuter hubs, which gave staff the option to work a little closer to home, cutting out an often long commute. It gave tips and tutorials on how small changes in the way we work can cut wasted time, therefore cutting down stress and overtime, allowing staff more time at home.

Love Yourself Week had a focus on wellbeing and health specifically. It helped give staff the tools to maintain their own health both inside and outside of the office.

The evaluation results were positive. 98 per cent of staff found their sessions useful and 97 per cent would recommend the sessions to others. The absence day rate in MoJ Head Quarters has reduced from 6.2 per cent to 5.3 per cent and wellbeing sessions have continued beyond the events, to become regular features in the MoJ.