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News & Culture

Banishing January Blues

The link between health and wellbeing and improved energy and happy hormones that enable us to not only to do more, but also to feel better is becoming more and more important to people. We know that the nature of agency life means that we don’t always take the time we should to look after ourselves and as busy, time poor individuals, we often fail to prioritise our health and wellbeing. The on-going health and happiness of our employees and colleagues is really important to us – we believe that happy and healthy people do better work, which ultimately makes us a better company.

And so for that reason and many more, this January we have been celebrating Health and Wellbeing month and starting the year as we mean to go on with a proactive and positive focus on supporting our physical and mental health and wellbeing and by providing easy and accessible opportunities to help us all prioritise this. This has included daily tips, weekly boot camps, meditation, wellbeing coaching and health check sessions and much more.

Today’s ‘always-on’ culture is contributing to a stress epidemic across the UK with research suggesting that 82% of us feel stressed at least some of the time during a typical working week. It is widely recognised that exercise and physical activity is a proven way to combat stress as well as having many other health benefits.

In an effort to put an end to this, we have initiated a number of physical challenges and activities within the office this month. This included everything from deskercise – a range of exercises from cardio to legs and bums to core to be done at your desk, a daily plank challenge where the time for holding a perfect plank increased by 5 seconds each day, to a 4 week long daily team steps challenge. These activities have proved popular, bringing employees together to have fun whilst getting fitter and healthier.

As well as looking after our bodies, we have also focused on mental health. According to the charity Mind, approximately one in four people in the world will be affected by mental health disorders at some point in their lives, so this will directly or indirectly affect many of us.

This was kicked off by our Chief Creative Officer, Steve Rogers, who bravely shared his journey with mental health difficulties, how they have affected him, what he’s learnt and how he tackles the challenges they introduce. His personal and inspiring story provided a great way to start breaking down barriers and encourage people to discuss and address their own challenges.

To support this, we have trained Mental Health First Aiders who are available for a confidential chat with anyone seeking advice or guidance on their own, a colleague or a loved one’s mental health. We are also working hard to break down the stigma around mental health by introducing mental health days off to look after your psychological wellbeing and creating regular discussion groups focusing on various mental health topics.

We successfully banished #BlueMonday blues, notoriously the ‘most depressing day of the year’, by holding our first Bring Your Dog To Work Day. Many scientific studies have concluded that the presence of animals can substantially reduce a person’s stress levels in the workplace and increase happiness and morale. This was certainly proven to be the case when we welcomed four furry friends to the office for the day.

Whilst this month has been a great kick-starter, health and wellbeing is not just for January and is intended to be an ongoing programme designed to help our employees adopt and maintain healthy behaviours.

We want to give employees incentives, tools, support and strategies to adopt and maintain healthy behaviours. This includes tips on recognising and managing stress, nutritional advice on how to aid overall health and wellbeing through our food choices, encouraging employees to be more active through walking meetings and protecting our down-time by limiting non-essential lunch hour meetings and avoiding sending emails out of hours.

Our continued focus on being a healthy organisation is just one of the things we are doing to remain a positive place to work with a strong people-focused culture.

Written by Juliet Rowles
Head of HR