Laya healthcare: Helping workplaces to Thrive

Irish workers are anxious, sleep deprived, and worried about their finances according to a recent study. Workplace programmes, such as one created by Microsoft Ireland and laya healthcare, can help employees thrive

Laya healthcare Thrive

Microsoft’s Fuel Your Everything is a bespoke health and wellbeing programme based on laya healthcare’s Thrive. Photograph: Getty Images


Mental wellbeing is a growing problem in the Irish workforce, according to research carried out by laya healthcare, Ireland’s largest corporate health and wellbeing provider. It analysed the results of more than 13,000 health screenings carried out in companies throughout Ireland, and found that 80 per cent of Irish workers suffer from sleep deprivation, while 53 per cent of them suffer from some form of “general anxiety” on some or most days.

Thrive health and wellness by laya healthcare addresses this issue directly by empowering individuals to perform the best they can at work and home, both mentally and physically.

Thrive is unique in that it is not a “one-type-fits-all” concept. It is tailored to the needs of the workplaces involved as well as to individual employees. Each programme is designed by laya healthcare’s team of clinical experts on the basis of data collected primarily through its innovative Mindscore, HealthScore and BodyScore assessment tools.

Laya healthcare offers some of the most innovative benefits in the Irish health insurance market. The company currently runs 1,600 health programmes for hundreds of clients across a wide variety of industry sectors. To date, it has carried out over 50,000 physical health screenings, and all its programmes are underpinned by Ireland’s largest corporate team of clinical experts.

Microsoft Ireland is one company which has seen a marked increase in employee engagement in mental and physical wellbeing programmes since it embraced a laya healthcare solution. The company has grown from 100 employees to 2,000 since opening its offices in Ireland in 1985, and is committed to ensuring that its employees are equipped with health and wellness information and benefits that enable them to do their best work.

Three years ago Microsoft turned to laya healthcare to help design a dynamic health and wellbeing programme that evolves and adapts to the different requirements of its staff as they go through different work and life stages.

The result was Microsoft’s Fuel Your Everything programme, a bespoke health and wellbeing programme based on laya healthcare’s Thrive, which helps Microsoft Ireland’s employees to enhance their minds, bodies and lives every day.

The programme was built on the basis of insights gained from key assessment tools. These tools deliver deep insights into employees’ physical and mental health and wellbeing, and when combined with other general health data enable the development of bespoke health and wellbeing programmes specific to a company’s unique needs and circumstances.

“We had worked with laya healthcare for a number of years on our private health insurance, and in the last three years have been working with them on the health and wellbeing side of things”, says Ken Byrne, HR operations and benefits manager with Microsoft Ireland.

“Laya healthcare’s team of experts tailormade the programme for us so it is built around the culture we have here. Health and wellbeing is a really important fundamental for us here at Microsoft Ireland. It’s about enhancing the employee’s mind, body and life every day, in both their work life and their personal life.

“When you consider the amount of time people spend in the work environment, if they can lead a healthier life during that part of the day you would hope that they would carry that through into their personal lives in the evenings and at weekends as well, and be more conscious of their health and wellbeing,” he adds. 

The interior of the new Microsoft building in Leopardstown, Co Dublin. The Microsoft Fuel Your Everything programme is built on three core pillars – thrive in mind, body and life – and comprises a wellness centre; a wellbeing programme; and a fitness centre. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
The interior of the new Microsoft building in Leopardstown, Co Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Mental health

The Microsoft Fuel Your Everything programme is built on three core pillars – thrive in mind, body and life – and comprises a wellness centre; a wellbeing programme; and a fitness centre.

Mental health support is a key element of the Fuel Your Everything programme. Microsoft Ireland is committed to removing the stigma from this issue in the workplace, and utilised laya healthcare’s expertise to deliver two-day training sessions for over 50 managers, to equip them to address mental health issues, and, where appropriate, deliver immediate care to any colleague who is experiencing such issues.

“Our 24/7 Mental Wellbeing Support Programme is a dedicated employee assistance service to help employees who might be going through a difficult time,” says Byrne. “They might need counselling, legal advice, parenting advice, financial guidance, you name it, there’s a wide range of things people can avail of.

“What we’ve really tried to do here is work with our employees and our manager population to help remove the stigma around mental health issues. We want to help people speak about their experiences of it.”

Indeed, financial advice can be particularly important with laya healthcare’s research revealing that one in four (24 per cent) workers admit to “often barely managing financially” from pay day to pay day.

Another vitally important aspect of the Fuel Your Everything programme is the dedicated health promotion officer provided by laya healthcare. “With the laya healthcare health promotion officer on site, employees now have a point of contact to reach out to and share feedback on what we have rolled out as well as on what they would like to see,” says Byrne.


The wellness centre offers a wide range of treatments for employees at our campus, says Byrne. “We’ve got a range of offers like massage and reflexology as well as an optician and dentist. Our focus is around the preventative side of health and wellbeing.”

Staff can avail of health screenings such as laya healthcare’s free cardiac screening benefit HeartBeat. The holistic offering also includes podiatry, a nail bar, blow dry bar, barber, reflexologist and masseuse, all available on-site. All treatments are offered at a 50 per cent discount to employees.

Managed by laya healthcare, the Microsoft fitness centre is a 24-hour on-site gym featuring the latest equipment and bespoke rooms offering a wide selection of exercise classes available at convenient times during the work day. Forty classes are delivered each week, with more than 1,000 employees taking part each month.

Microsoft Ireland’s Fuel Your Everything programme helps employees to enhance their minds, bodies and lives every day. Photograph: Getty Images 

The programme also covers the provision of healthier food choices at work – particularly important in light of the laya healthcare research finding that almost one in five male workers (19 per cent) and 16 per cent of female workers are clinically obese.

Connected health is another key feature of the programme. The laya healthcare team of experts has built a smart portal with the capacity to analyse each individual’s health and wellbeing stats and provide online learning material to help them continuously improve their HealthScore. All information is stored securely and accessible only by the individual concerned.


The programme has been a resounding success. “The Fuel Your Everything programme is one of the key benefits that people look for when joining Microsoft Ireland, and we have seen a huge increase in engagement for both the fitness and wellness programmes,” says Byrne.

“In the course of 12 months there were 10,000 registrations for health and wellness seminars, wellness centre treatments, and gym classes – a 260 per cent increase year-on-year.

“Laya healthcare ensures we are delivering the health and wellness solutions that our team actually need. Laya healthcare really delivered for us, and their passion, creativity and responsiveness shone through at every turn.”

Patricia Hyland, director of wellbeing and corporate sales at laya healthcare, says emotional health and wellbeing is now the single biggest driver of health and wellbeing programmes and it’s all about the data for employers.

“It’s fascinating the patterns that emerge when you take a holistic view of company health scores. The key is interpreting data to customise a programme of health and wellbeing that’s an absolute fit for a company and identifying the hidden connections between health and wellbeing metrics that give rigour and depth to workplace wellbeing programmes.”

Laya healthcare is the largest provider of workplace health and wellbeing programmes in Ireland. Each programme is designed to meet the specific needs of each workplace, and is built around the Thrive concept, which empowers individuals to perform the best they can at work and home, physically and mentally.

Source: Methodology

The laya healthcare screening results are a mix of physical screenings carried out on 6,993 workers in Ireland by laya healthcare clinicians in HeartBeat, its cardiac screening programme. The anonymised results also include data collated from comprehensive health and wellbeing assessments carried out among 6,273 workers that determine the overall health of a company and its employees.

For more, visit layahealthcare.ie/evolvewiththrive/microsoft/

Insurance is provided by Elips Insurance Limited trading as Laya Healthcare. Laya Healthcare Limited, trading as Laya Healthcare and Laya Life, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.