Today is World Mental Health Day giving us all an opportunity to discuss the importance of mental health and wellbeing (one in six people in the UK now reports having a mental health condition). Since the inception of Huddle, we set out some clear initiatives to promote wellbeing amongst our colleagues. With this in mind, we wanted to share the initiatives we have introduced as a business to help promote workplace wellbeing and healthy minds.
Getting the culture right is key to us
At Huddle, we have always cited culture as the key to both our colleagues and business growth. We believe the right culture promotes a happy environment which in turn can only result in business growth! To ensure we get this right, we have worked to create a culture promoting openness and thought sharing. Daily stand-ups, regular face to face interactions and weekly team catch-ups give us a forum to interact and voice our ups and downs at any given time. Having these meaningful connections with colleagues is important to us. The “digital industry” can be a lonely place at times, and we’re acutely aware that loneliness is one biggest cause of anxiety and depression in this ever more connected (but ironically disconnected) world we’re living in. Promoting an “it’s okay to not be okay” culture encourages colleagues to ask for help, reach out and feel connected.
Making clear boundaries between work and home
The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to our mental health. When looking at the evidence surrounding those working long hours, it’s grim reading – more than a quarter of those identified felt depressed (27%), one third felt anxious (34%), and more than half felt irritable (58%). With this data at hand, we took a conscious decision to promote fixed working hours (contrary to the “flexible working” trend). In doing this, we have created clear boundaries between professional and personal life. On the other hand, we don’t force our team into a fixed 9-5 workday as we realise this isn’t a natural fit with everyone’s daily routines. We encourage our team to decide on working hours that suit them and then stick to them. Since introducing this way of working, we have found it gives our team perspective, reduces the risk of burnout, and fosters a more positive culture that values smart thinking and a focus on outcomes as opposed to just throwing time at a problem.
Professional development that empowers and upskills
Professional development can often be lost in the daily grind of a role, therefore we set out a professional development plan focussed on the individual and their goals. Having goals and achieving them is key to wellbeing and a feeling of accomplishment. We encourage colleagues to think about where they want to go in their career, and how we can help them get there, carving out their own role within the company. Alongside this, we always look to give colleagues maximum autonomy and give them ownership of their role. Studies have shown that those who find meaning and purpose in their job role, equally reduce the risk of developing depression. Huddle has also taken steps to provide a training budget for all colleagues, resulting in a highly skilled and empowered team!
Giving back to gain a lot
One huge way to improve your mental wellbeing and a sense of positivity is to help others. We embrace this and, every Christmas, we find an opportunity to volunteer as a team. To give our time over to a worthy cause.
Body and mind…
Getting active can lead to improved mental wellbeing. Exercise helps to dispel the hormones produced during the stress response, allowing the body to normalise. Recognising the link between body and mind we have made steps to promote exercise and getting active. Some of the key health initiatives we have introduced for all team members include, gym discounts, private health insurance, walking networking sessions and we’re even partial to walking meetings!
We’re always improving
Like all businesses, we’re not perfect, and we’re always looking to make improvements. We are still guilty of falling into the “after-work drinks” trap, sometimes failing to explore more diverse out-of-hours team activities. We also appreciate mental health can impact us all on an individual basis, making it impossible to make a “one size fits all” solution for combating mental illness. The biggest irony is, we’re more connected than ever before (through digital technologies), but we’ve never been more disconnected on a human level. Workplace wellbeing should be seen as a top priority for all workplaces in this complex world we now live in! Want to learn how you can improve your well being today? Discover the three apps we’re using to combat stress here