Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England are on their annual office shut down in support of their wellbeing week which began on Friday 16th August. They posted a blog on their social media channels to explain:
‘At MHFA England our wellbeing strategy includes two total office close down periods, because spending time with friends and family or doing something we enjoy is important for our mental health. We do this twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter. Wellbeing week is that the whole organisation is preparing to close down, which means that it reduces people’s temptation to check in on projects, tasks, and emails and therefore increases a sense of proper downtime. It also means staff come back to much less email traffic from colleagues inside the organisation, and without a long ‘to do’ list. When work is busy, and deadlines are looming there can be a temptation to just power through and for some this can result in what is commonly described as ‘burn out’. We believe that by focusing on good job design, a supportive workplace and giving that extra time to decompress and relax, that employees at MHFA England are not getting to the point of burn out. As a social enterprise our goal is to support workplaces to create good health, as well as prevent ill health. We aim to really walk the talk.’
Now, I understand that a 2-week office shut down isn’t feasible for every business, however the thought behind it can be applied anywhere.
At KMA, employee wellbeing comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but a few examples include regular face to face contact with Line Managers and the Company Director – Kate. These meetings are very informal and will focus on how we are doing, as well as being a fantastic opportunity to discuss business ideas. Another example is if anything crops up in our personal lives which will impact on our work pattern, flexible working is encouraged. This can be as simple as taking pets to the vet or attending hospital appointments and it allows us to attend to these important personal tasks without feeling as if we are letting work down.
Quite often, if the team has had a particularly stressful week, we all finish early on a Friday – even if it’s an hour or so before 17.00 it really makes a lot of difference. KMA are also very quick to praise and reward hard work and it has been known for this to translate into a bottle of bubbly from a member of Management! So, as you can see, many employee wellbeing strategies are only small, no grand gestures, yet they can still be very effective.
Employee wellbeing is vital for a productive work force. As the saying goes – if you look after your employees, the business looks after itself.
What does your company do to promote and deliver better employee wellbeing?