Teesside entrepreneur launches employee wellbeing programme to support furloughed staff

Bethany Ainsley, founder and chief executive of OptiMe

Teesside-based entrepreneur and wellbeing professional, Bethany Ainsley, is launching an innovative new product to allow business leaders to keep in contact with furloughed staff, ensuring positive mental health during their time away from the office.

Bethany, who has more than a decade of experience in the wellbeing sector and has existing relationships with a number of businesses across the UK in relation to staff wellbeing, is using the OptiMe programme as a facility for managers to offer support remotely to furloughed staff while allowing them to communicate how they’re feeling and gain access to tools to keep them in a more positive frame of mind.

Bethany established the OpiMe brand in 2018 and is now launching an innovative digital platform to support employees, offering a special price for businesses using it to support furloughed staff.

The programme focuses on six pillars of wellbeing: physical, financial, social, professional, environmental, and mental and emotional. Employees are asked questions to gauge their feelings in each area and the employer can see an overview and adapt accordingly.


Bethany said: “Now more than ever, communication between employers and employees is imperative, particularly staff on furlough. Many people are understandably worried about what furlough means for them, if it means that they’ll be the first to go if redundancies need to be made, and it’s raising anxiety levels.

“For a lot of people, it’s almost like being in limbo, and coming back to work will be all the more difficult if they feel out of the loop and disengaged from their work. This is why we’re launching the OptiMe online programme at a special price for furloughed staff, to encourage employers to focus on their team members who aren’t working at the moment to ensure they’re firing on all cylinders when they come back.

“Sickness absence already costs the UK economy more than £14 billion per year, which equates to £554 per employee per year. That only stands to rise with the current physical and emotional stresses caused by COVID 19 and its attached concerns. Organisations that ignore employee wellbeing risk greater absenteeism, poor performance, higher staff turnover and increased costs, which could be devastating after periods of furlough, working from home or temporary closure.

“It is our hope that, if businesses invest in the wellbeing of their staff, they will continue to reap the rewards of a positive and dedicated team for years to come.”