25 January 2019

Meditation class at UKFast - wellbeing

Part of Wellness Week at UKFast – a 90-minute meditation session.

We spend a third of our time at home, a third asleep and a third at work. Should that third at work be a struggle? Of course not!

A quote I often hear is: “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Whilst that’s true and you absolutely must do something you’re passionate about, the onus should not be solely on employees to enjoy their work time.

Employers have a responsibility to create workplaces that are engaging, supportive and encourage a healthy work-life balance.

Last year, ahead of Blue Monday, we launched the very first UKFast Wellness Week. It was extraordinary to see how much of an impact a few small changes and gestures made to the team around us.
This year, we took it to another level. This week, we’ve seen Wellness Week take over at UKFast once again. We started Monday with porridge, fruit and detox waters in the kitchen area, which has carried on throughout the week. Tuesday saw a 90-minute guided mediation and yoga session with Eirian of Cariad Yoga. Eirian has hosted yoga sessions every Monday and Friday for the team at UKFast, here on Campus, for many years now. It’s an opportunity to switch off, to focus inward and take a moment for calm. It’s invaluable for wellbeing.

Throughout the week the UKFast personal trainer hosted a schedule of different fitness classes for the team to get a little more active than usual. Today, we hired a masseuse to come in for people to book in with throughout the day too.

These are all relatively small gestures but they give the team an opportunity to make healthier choices, to step back from the day-to-day stresses that every job inevitably holds, and to focus on themselves.

Holistic wellbeing

On a more serious note, we also invited 16 team leaders and managers to take mental health support training. The two-day course equipped them with the skills to help them listen to and support colleagues who are in a time of need. I cannot state enough just how important and valuable this training is.

Prince William spoke of mental health at work during his appearance at Davos earlier this week. He said: “For some reason, people are embarrassed about their emotions – British people particularly.”

He also said that it should be much easier to go to HR to talk about it. I could not agree more. Although we don’t have the traditional HR function at UKFast, we’ve chosen to train so many of the team in how to offer support and spot warning signs, because it should be easier to reach out when you’re in a time of need.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of employers to look after their teams. Not only because no one can work to their best ability when they’re not feeling at their best, but because it’s the right thing to do.

What does your workplace or business do to support wellbeing and mental health? I’d be interested to read your thoughts in the comments below.

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