Mental, emotional, social, and physical wellbeing — as well as their influential factors — look different for everyone. From biking to ballet, meditation to music lessons, what makes us tick or just makes us feel good ranges hugely from person to person and might even change for an individual over time.
In recognition of this, we trialled a new benefit in 2022 … and it was so successful that we’ll be rolling it out again this year. Everyone on our team now receives a personal wellbeing allowance of £250 / 300€ per calendar year to spend on something that — to put it simply — makes them happy. The allowance is completely flexible and geared to each individual.
The one question we ask when someone says how they plan to use it is, “Will it bring you happiness?” If the answer is “yes,” then go for it.
Yoga? Glastonbury tickets? New pair of glasses? Haircuts? PT sessions? Massages? Italian classes? The possibilities of what this benefit can be spent on are (almost) endless. Here a few members of our team talk about how they put their wellbeing allowance to good use last year.
Georgie Leigh, Associate Director, Europe:
“I split my wellbeing allowance across both the mundane and the magical (literally). Contact lenses can be expensive, so I put a good chunk of my allowance towards those. It’s a purely practical move, but a helpful one given I wear them so frequently.
“I splashed out the rest of my allowance on tickets to see The Cursed Child, alongside my husband and a friend of ours. One of the benefits of living in London is the number of amazing shows, musicals and plays available to you … and I often think I don’t take advantage of this enough — particularly given our office is a stone’s throw from the theatres dotted about the West End. We saw both performances of the two-part play just after Christmas and it was superb!”
Constance Falourd, Account Director (France)
“When I received my personal wellbeing allowance, I immediately knew how I would spend it. For me, everything is about finding the right balance between your professional and personal life. And to be as good as I can in my job, I need to have a way to decompress with an activity that gives me joy — dance! I spent it on dance classes: it’s the perfect way to counterbalance my sedentary lifestyle and take care of my physical, as well as my mental, health. I am lucky to share this activity with an amazing bunch of people, and I find that it’s a great way to move while having fun.”
Chris Owen, UK, Director
“What makes me happy? Well, Lego for a start. And what made me happy when I was 12? The Lego Knights Castle — I remember getting it vividly, and it was magical. I’d been hoping to get it for ages, and pocket money would never have managed it.
“So, when Lego brought out the new Lego Knights Castle, the 44-year-old me immediately got in touch with the 12-year-old me and asked if I wanted to bring some nostalgia back into my life. Plus, because I’m such a loving, caring Daddy, I bought the castle to build with my four-year-old daughter, Poppy, who is rapidly becoming a Lego-head. And you know what? I think she loves it as much as I do.
“When it arrived in its colossal box, I was out, and she was home. My wife sent me photos of Poppy sitting in front of it, just staring, transfixed. And when I got home, I was grabbed by the hand, and we tipped the bags of pieces out and she sat in the middle of them.
“It took two weeks of building together — a bag a night and one in the morning before I started work. I challenge anyone to find a more wholesome start to the day than being wakened by their daughter standing next to the bed yelling, ‘It’s LEGOTIME!’
“Poppy has it in her room and treats it like a doll’s house — it’s so wonderful — and we play with it before bedtime occasionally which, I’ll admit, isn’t actually helping her to calm down. And yes, when no-one’s looking, I play with it too — just to indulge the 12-year-old me, obviously.”
Mike StJohn-Bond, Account Manager (UK)
“’Great news! Your order is ready early!’ Now, that’s always an exciting email to wake up to when you’ve ordered something online. It’s even more exciting if you’ve been waiting for a bike to become available for two months. And it’s even more exciting when a chunk of the budget you put aside for it has been provided by your company.
“To rewind, over the past couple of years, the pandemic put the importance of my physical and mental health firmly in the spotlight. I used the time during the lockdowns to dive for the first time into health and fitness. Moving to Hoffman was a huge part of that journey in prioritising my wellbeing — the flexible work culture and less hierarchical structure have since empowered me to embed these habits into my everyday routine.
“So, it seemed like a no brainer to spend my wellbeing allowance on getting into the saddle. Now I can head out on my bike for a break, as well as making the most of the other elements of our wide-ranging package of health and wellbeing support, from Headspace membership to cost-of-living relief.”
Lorena Essmeier, Account Executive (Germany)
“I know that the following is very much on brand for a German, but my first thought was: ‘What would be the most practical thing I could buy with this money?’ And ideally something I wouldn’t want to pay full price for.
“Then it occurred to me: an office chair! I work from home most of the time, and if there’s one thing that’s essential, it’s comfort.
“So, I did my research and actually found a chair that seemed not only practical and comfortable, but also visually appealing (side note: have you ever noticed how ugly office chairs can be?).
“Ever since I got my new office chair I have been sitting comfortably for work and can say that my wellbeing allowance has definitely brought me happiness.”