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Manchester HR company provides a new approach to wellness at work

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A Manchester HR and wellbeing expert is launching a new digital platform to help busy professionals have more energy and focus, and feel less stressed.

The UPGRADE-U platform, created by wellbeing event provider Unicorn and Co, offers daily access to critical tools, techniques and experts that help organisations and their people develop new healthy habits at work, adjusting routines to improve their overall working environment.

Unicorn and Co was founded in 2015 by CEO Julie McGann, who has 10 years’ previous experience leading wellbeing initiatives for large blue chip organisations including British Gas and an ex-Unilever business.

Before launching the new platform, Unicorn and Co delivered face-to-face wellness events for large organisations including Sony, British Transport Police, Paycare and Balfour Beatty.

Demand for more regular access to programmes and workshops prompted the company to develop a subscription-based digital platform enabling businesses to offer wellbeing activities to their team at any time, from any device. UPGRADE-U is launching this month and businesses are invited to sign up now for a pilot.

Unicorn and Co joined Tech Manchester for tips and guidance on delivering the digital platform. Tech Manchester is a not-for-profit organisation, funded by UKFast, which supports the development of hundreds of early-stage tech companies in the region.

McGann said: “Even ten years ago it was easy to foresee wellbeing becoming an important part of any business strategy. Now this thinking is mainstream and it makes sense when you see how improved workplace wellbeing reduces absence and helps people perform better.

“At Unicorn and Co we are focused on helping people to recognise and deal with stress and creating more positive working cultures, where people understand the importance of building trusted connections.

“Monthly face-to-face wellness events and workshops alone are not always enough to deliver a sustainable change to employee behaviour. Developing a digital version of our content ensures our customers have ongoing access to the authentic content delivered by trusted wellbeing experts in the form of bite-size learning and interactive challenges.

“UPGRADE-U is not a replacement of the face-to-face wellbeing initiatives but an important enabler of a more sustainable approach to wellbeing learning that allows instant accessibility, reach and affordability.”

Patricia Keating, Director of Tech Manchester, said: “It’s fantastic to see Unicorn and Co’s progression over the last 15 months. Julie initially joined Tech Manchester through our first intake on the mentor programme before attending several of the business skills workshops in the Tech Class series.

“Through the Tech Manchester community, Julie was engaged to speak at a number of wellbeing events in 2018, and Unicorn and Co is part of the group of wellbeing businesses Tech Manchester is bringing together for an event for World Mental Health day in May.”

Paycare CEO Kevin Rogers said: “The mindfulness programmes delivered to our business made a significant positive impact, not only on the mental resilience of our employees and managers but also on our bottom line.”