As we continue to adjust to this ‘new normal’ life, it’s widely recognised that it threatens the mental health of people across all types of workforces. More than ever, the need to support and protect your people has never been so important. But what does that actually look like?
Within our consultancy business, as an example, all our people have been working from home since the beginning of the lockdown. While this has brought stresses, the pace and quality of work has been impressively maintained and delivered to our clients. However this inevitably takes its toll, and we are being proactive in supporting them to get through it.
We routinely run quarterly away days enabling our consultants the opportunity to get companywide updates, share ideas and the opportunity to meet up - given our disparate offices and customer locations. Getting everybody together at a single venue is clearly out of the question at the moment, so this week we successfully ran our first virtual away day.
An away day with a difference
Our entire consultancy company were able to ‘come together’ and collaborate on several initiatives - developing skills and just networking with one another. Unlike most away days, which focus on work, this one focussed on mental and physical well-being – giving people the opportunity to choose from a range of activities.
Many of these were designed to include their family members, especially young children. We wanted to provide a distraction from lockdown and give parents a bit of a hand in keeping their children entertained. Volunteers from within the company gave lectures on subjects such as nature and beer brewing. Meanwhile there were sporting challenges for the energetic; board games for the more cerebral; and arts and crafts challenges for the children – both young and old.
Our away day was achieved over a range of virtual platforms which meant some really innovative ideas came forth to make them all engaging and entertaining. And yes – this was all in work time. The positive feedback we immediately got from our staff surprised even us. Comments like “I hadn’t realised how much I needed something like that” were typical. More importantly, people started smiling again. Really smiling!
Working in isolation, or with “trying” household members around, is making new demands on all of us and the adjustment is not easy. But as a company we are determined to do what we can to help. Giving our people a stable and secure working environment is critical but is only part of the story; it is nothing without maintaining their sanity and “mojo”.
We see it as both our responsibility and our pleasure to do what we can to help our people – and their families – through this difficult time and into the future. Not many companies are in the fortunate position to be able to do this. But we are -…and we will!