The Orange wellbeing team shares its experience of how technical advances
can help deliver a contemporary occupational health service, by Sarah Davison
Patterns of work have changed dramatically over the past few years and there
has been a massive expansion within the telecommunications industry. Faced with
the enormous rise in this type of employment, coupled with the Government’s
commitment to improve the health of the working population and recommendations
set out in the national OH strategy, the occupational health service at
telecoms service provider Orange realised it needed to change to meet these
Therefore the occupational health team was relaunched in June 2001 and
repositioned within the organisation as Orange wellbeing. This new image
encapsulates the company’s vision, mission statements and brand values.
The team wanted a clear, distinct vision for occupational health, which
would enable staff to access occupational health information wherever,
whenever, and however they could. In so doing we would deliver an image that
was simple, honest, friendly and dynamic.
The OH team
Historically, there has always been an occupational health presence within
the company, but the past two years has seen the team develop a strong position
within the organisation, supported at board level. A manager was appointed last
October, reporting to human resources and there is now a team of six qualified
occupational health advisers, two OH practitioners with three consultant OH
physicians, a trainee physician and an OH physician.
We felt as a team that while the business was supporting our role, we needed
to position ourselves in such a way that we would be seen as an integral part
of the business. We also aimed to offer the company an insight into the role
and benefits of having a comprehensive in-house occupational health service. We
felt we needed to develop our own unique identity, which complements the distinct
There were a number of influencing factors. Firstly, although we worked
with- in a communications industry, we felt we were not communicating very
well. The management just did not understand what we were saying, which perhaps
is not an unusual situation. However, Orange is a company with no direct
product but rather an image. We had to learn to talk the right language to
Secondly, although all members of the OH team practised current and
contemporary occupational health, we had no clear strategy or direction within
the scope of the service provided. Orange also has a large and diverse
workforce with employees spread throughout the country working in different
environments from communications and retail to technical and support sectors.
An added complication within the organisation is that there are several
different functional directorates each with a different management team. We
needed to be recognised across all these differing functions. We were also
faced with differing health issues across the organisation. We had to consider
call centre working practices, exposure of technical staff to radio frequency,
the problems experienced by lone workers and other health issues affecting
staff working in retail.
So, what did we do? As a team we set about developing a strategy that
supported the business strategy. This had to demonstrate how we could and
should be adding value to the business.
We developed a clear and simple referral process to the department as well
as a mental wellbeing policy. Attached to this is a self-awareness training
package, which we are currently delivering within the business functions, in
addition to looking at health surveillance issues and health promotion. We knew
this was just the start, however, so in March 2001 we carried out an innovative
business needs analysis.
We used the internal computer network to send out a survey to randomly
selected staff across the business functions. We asked participants to complete
a comprehensive questionnaire. The resulting data was collated and analysed to
establish actual perceptions of our service. We used the results to help plan
the next phase of the strategy – the launch.
There was an urgent need to inform all employees about what we did and how
they could access the services we provided. To support us, the company funded
our campaign. This allowed us to approach an external advertising agency to
provide professional support in designing our brand image, and to help us to
reposition occupational health within the business. The result was Orange
Wellbeing is a concept that has several key values each linked to one of the
images that collectively form wellbeing.
– The overall term ‘wellbeing’ is represented by the smiling man, and is the
term used to describe the team as a whole
– ‘Well looked after’, represented by the girl with the plant, allows access
to services provided by the wellbeing team and describes the support provided
– ‘Well balanced’, represented by the skater, provides information about
health issues such as physiotherapy, mental wellbeing, and alternative health
– The ‘well-motivated’ image (the girl in the lotus position) is used when,
as a team, we carry out initiatives that require people to do things
– The ‘well-supported’ image (feet) refers to access to health promotion
Along with the ‘well’ words linked to the imagery, there are additional well
words – well-informed, well-connected and well-travelled – that we can use to
promote services and initiatives. We are currently getting used to the brand
and have to be very clear which ‘well’ word we use with each image. How we use
the image is also strongly controlled under brand guidelines.
In developing wellbeing, we wanted a look that was simple and that staff
could connect with. It also needed to be exciting and fresh and fit in with the
Orange brand image. We wanted to be able to move away from the traditional
wording of occupational health and ensure our leaflets and publications
reflected a new, young and vibrant team.
The scheme is launched
The launch in June 2001 was the climax of six months of hard work. The
intranet site went live and in the three weeks prior to this we used a series
of teasers designed to whet employees’ appetites. These consisted of computer
start screens, poster teasers and internal communications, all aimed at gaining
The strategy worked and by the time of the launch we had had a massive
amount of hits to the site indicating enormous interest from managers and other
employees. A leaflet presentation went to the executive board of Orange and the
launch climaxed with each site/region organising a roadshow. Fifteen-ft display
boards were used at the roadshows along with a range of activities designed to
promote wellbeing. There were demonstrations of chair aerobics, information on
alternative health initiatives and on-site physiotherapists and osteopaths
talking about their role in maintaining employee health.
The roadshows allowed employees to meet the wellbeing team for their
region/site and proved to be a very useful exercise in the promotion of
occupational health issues. It allowed us to be seen as fresh and exciting. The
interest from each roadshow surprised even the most cynical of us and formed a
starting block for the launch of orange wellbeing.
As a team, we feel that in a short time we have learnt to talk the right
language and that the initiatives we run seem to have a more appreciative
audience and a better response. Our policies and documentation reflect Orange’s
look and feel, they are clear, simple and easy to follow, and most important
they deliver the message.
All of us, however, feel the intranet site has been our most exciting
development. We are now looking at wellbeing communications in 2002. This will
take the form of greater control over the material that is published, including
on the intranet site.
We also aim to develop a quarterly newsletter which will allow staff who
cannot access the intranet the opportunity to tap into wellbeing and become
more familiar with occupational health issues.
This has been an amazing year for us and we were extremely proud to present
our new identity to the RCN’s Society of Occupational Health Nursing Conference
As a team, we are passionate about occupational health. We all have our own
areas of interest which support the strategy and delivery to the business. This
has greatly helped to form the innovative team we are today.
We are currently working on a self-awareness training module for managing
mental health issues. We have our own interactive document cabinet where we can
source information, ensuring that we are a united team delivering and
Much work has been done on the development of a monthly reporting system so
that we can start to look at trends and provide evidence for future
initiatives. We have also compiled a very comprehensive audit document upon
which we will be examining performance against written service level agreements
and seeking to deliver continuous improvement in everything we do.
We believe that we have become one of the first in-house occupational health
teams to deliver a service that fits completely with the company’s image and
beliefs, adopting its brand values and mission statements into our own
practice. The results so far have been encouraging and we are looking forward
to a future where we can continue to develop.
Sarah Davison is Orange’s Occupational Health Adviser for Tyneside