Mindfulness and Wellbeing
Supporting the Mental Health and Wellbeing of our colleagues is vitally important to us as an organisation and even more so during this Coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone has different ways of dealing with everyday life but when life changes drastically, your mechanisms for managing these changes also need to adapt. Whether you are social distancing or self-isolating, you may be feeling more anxious and stressed during this time, which is completely understandable.
At HealthTrust Europe, we have moved from an open plan office to remote working in order to keep our colleagues and the communities we serve safe. This has meant the community environment, in which colleagues were able to communicate freely in person, have regular face-to-face conversations, discuss ideas with their colleagues, take lunch breaks from the office to exercise or buy lunch or essentials from the local supermarket and undertake on and offsite meetings with suppliers and customers has now shifted. Colleagues are instead having to use rooms in their homes as offices and discussions all taking place via phone calls and video conferences.
In addition to this, many colleagues may be unable to see family and friends other than through video calls, may be living alone, with children or self-isolating and unable to pop to the shop to break up their day or take in some form of exercise outside the home. All of this change at once can have a significant impact, as such elevating our support of colleagues and their families is of vital importance to us. To assist our colleagues with this transition and continually support them during this time of crisis, we’re maintaining a realistic level of “business as usual” activity to provide stability and a sense of routine which helps with an individual’s mental health, whilst also introducing new ways of working to adjust to the current times we are in.
We are aware that colleagues with children or other dependents at home with them are likely to be dealing with home-schooling or caring activities alongside their day-to-day work. This can put extra strain on colleagues to manage their work/life balance when there is no physical separation from the two except maybe a door to another room. We are supporting and encouraging colleagues to make adjustments to their daily routine, which enable them to take care of themselves, their children, dependents and continue to undertake their roles; we also understand that from time to time children or other family members may appear in the video call.
It can be easy to forget to take a break from work and the computer screen during the working day when remote working, so in collaboration with all colleagues we are undertaking the following measures:
- Inviting colleagues to take part in a social chat twice a day, to help them refocus and re-energise, or even just to move from where they are to take that essential drink or break.
- Sharing amusing content on Team chats to brighten up the days.
- Colleagues are invited to take part in regular mindfulness activities hosted by our Health and Wellbeing CSR Group, such as guided meditation sessions and seated yoga sessions.
- In normal circumstances we would hold a company-wide quiz at the end of each month, hosted by different colleagues on topics ranging from general knowledge to music and sport. It created team working and healthy competition between colleagues and generated great camaraderie and a sense of inclusion. We didn’t want social distancing to stop this, so have begun to use our remote working capability and resources to hold a virtual quiz every Friday afternoon, to ensure that colleagues end the week on a positive note.
- We continue to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society, our chosen charity for the year. There will be many people with friends and family members that are affected by Alzheimer’s; those who are currently caring for Alzheimer’s patients at home are under increased pressure to support them. Others may not be able to visit loved ones in nursing homes who are receiving specialist care. We have been finalising our plan for virtual fundraising to ensure this great charity continues to get the support it needs and will share this with colleagues in due course.
- We also have 21 trained mental health first aiders who are on hand to signpost colleagues to relevant services and check in with colleagues to provide an outlet for them; our company intranet site includes additional resources to support good mental health and wellbeing.
We would like to thank everyone for their hard work, and we will continue to take care and support our colleagues as well as supporting healthcare providers with delivering vital healthcare to patients.