iris Tops Britain's Healthiest Company League

After a two-year plan to radically transform its approach to staff health and wellbeing, iris has just topped the Britain’s Healthiest Company league – alongside its client, adidas.

The only non-sports business in the top three, iris took the silver spot after completely over-hauling its fitness package to focus on better supporting its staff physically, emotionally and mentally.

Adland is renowned for pushing people to its limits. Client entertaining, agency award do's, all nighters on pitches, celebrating the wins and commiserating the losses. High levels of stress around big campaign launches, meeting big targets, generating the level of creativity and innovation needed to thrive and survive in the race that is agency life.

All of which doesn’t bode well for a healthy lifestyle, and the rate of burn out in agencies is often worryingly high.

In 2014, iris radically transformed its approach to employee wellbeing – and started working with Rebecca Cox, co-founder of 9toLife, with a goal of being recognized as the agency that looks after its staff health better than any other. From the top down, to the global CEO being put through his paces in the agency car park, to organizing training sessions on stress management, to providing on-site health screening and acupuncture. For iris, employee health is intrinsically linked to business health and success. One does not exist without the other.

Dan Saxby, CEO UK, iris: “As an agency, our promise is to help our people be happy and successful. Key drivers have been about camaraderie, career adventure and reward. However, in 2014, through participating in Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, we quickly understood how important health and wellbeing was to delivering happiness at work.

We all know the pressures of our industry but that is just an excuse. Led by Rebecca Cox from 9toLife, we have enabled our people to train on iris time, both one-on-one and groups as well as offer workshops to train people in less obvious but equally important areas - mindfulness, CBT stress management, stopping smoking – the list goes on. We've found that having a fitter workplace, both physically and mentally, means a happier and more energised workplace."

Rebecca Cox, co-founder, 9toLife: "It's great to be recognised for what we have been doing at iris over the last few years. It's not just about a bit of free fruit and a yoga class, iris' wellness strategy is as important as any other party of its business and the results are testament to their continued commitment and investment. That said, we are never happy with second place. We still have work to do."

For more information on introducing a better ‘work life’ balance – click here.



Health Screenings on site  

Private health and dental care

Smoking, sugar alcohol cessation/behaviour change workshop

Back Care Workshop and consultations

Nutritional Talks  -A range of talks from top nutrition specialists, including; weight loss, sport and health


Mental Wellness

Meditation and Mindfulness

CBT for stress  - Management and employee training to help identify and respond to stress in employees

Free independent financial advice



Personal Training/daily fitness classes

Bespoke training plans


Inspiring Sport - Hosting talks with inspirational sports people or sports organisations aimed to inspire people to get involved the a range of different sports

 Doing good with Sport - Weekly runs to do good by helping in the local community; foodbanks, homeless shelters, youth centres etc

Engaging beginners - Finding ways to motivate absolute beginners to get moving; includes scavenger hunts in the area, helping plan a walk home from work, pedometer Challenge

 Sports Squads for industry competitions - Nabs Rugby, MAA triathlon, softball, cricket, netball, football

One big agency event - One big event or challenge that brings the agency together, raises money, incorporates clients, raises profile and gets everyone moving (One Nation To Another)