This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is “loneliness”. Loneliness affects millions of people in the UK every year and strongly contributes to poor mental health. Research has found that loneliness was accelerated through the pandemic. With more people working from home now, thousands have lost the daily human contact they once had.
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said:
“Loneliness is affecting more and more of us in the UK and has had a huge impact on our physical and mental health during the pandemic…Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health so we much find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness…The week is also an invaluable opportunity for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, with a focus on providing help and advice.”
At Travel Trade Consultancy, we offer a hybrid working environment where our employees work from home and have the option to come into a WeWork shared office. While this model has many benefits, one of the challenges is ensuring everyone feels included at all times. Here are some of the initiatives we have in place to bring our team together:
We kick off every week with a Monday morning team call. During this session, we run through the plans for the week and have an update from the different departments. This ensures everyone knows what’s going on in the business, and it’s an opportunity to share any team news. Line managers also have regular check-ins with their teams, and everyone is encouraged to have virtual coffee chats with colleagues.
Monthly quiz and team drinks
Once a month, one team member hosts a virtual quiz or interactive game, which everyone is encouraged to attend. This begins at 4:30pm, so we have a chance to clock off early and socialise. Having an interactive element helps keep everyone engaged (especially when some competitive team spirit IS involved).
Lunch and Learn sessions
We also run monthly “Lunch and Learn” sessions. These are in-person and run by someone in the team, or we’ll invite an external speaker to present. These events cover various topics, including negotiating, reporting and contact management. The session is hosted in London and offers staff the opportunity to get out of the house and catch up with colleagues in-person.
MindSpace247 and Headspace
All employees of Travel Trade Consultancy have access to MindSpace247. This service offers fully confidential, online counselling 24 hours a day 365 days a year. The mission of MindSpace247 is to break down barriers and give everyone the tools to proactively engage mental health and get the support they need. Alongside this, we also offer everyone in the team a subscription to the mindfulness app Headspace, which has several resources to maintain and improve mental health.
Wellbeing Slack channel
To keep the team interacting daily, TTC use Slack. This enables colleagues to message individually and in dedicated channels including a “wellbeing” channel. This channel is used to share wellbeing related topics and ideas, including recipes, motivational matters and tips for maintaining positive mental and physical health.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022
This week, we have several activities going on, including a competition to encourage people to speak to a colleague they don’t regularly catch up with. We’re also sharing tips to combat loneliness and reminders to check in with yourself when working remotely.
We hope these initiatives show remote working doesn’t need to be isolating. To maintain an effective hybrid working environment at TTC, we are continually reviewing ways to ensure everyone feels connected. We also continue to encourage team members to share ideas and experiences openly on a number of mental health-related subjects.
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