This week is #mentalhealthawarenessweek and eight weeks since I published my first blog on how our team had adjusted to working from home. With it now almost the end of week ten of #workingfromhome, the initial novelty has worn off for many and reality set in that this may be the new normal for a long time to come yet.
Mental health has been a topic very close to the fscom team’s heart for some time and we have been partnered with the local charity, Action Mental Health for over a year now. In normal times, this week in the office would have been one of fund raising for our charity and no doubt would have involved bake sales with our neighbouring offices in the building, wearing lots of purple and most importantly, continuing the education around the topic of mental health. We talk openly and regularly about mental health in the workplace and our management team have been trained in ensuring these lines of communication stay open to ensure support is provided when anyone may require it.
What I learned about managing mental health challenges in lockdown
The last ten weeks has brought different challenges to each of our team members and like everyone else, I certainly had a period where I found the new normal a little overwhelming. As Head of People, I like people and I really enjoy the contact that being in an office brings. When the realisation hit me that I would not be in that preferred environment for some time, it really got to me and to be honest, I didn’t even realise. Being a close team, with regular daily video calls, my MD picked up on this and demonstrated true kindness with several phone calls to check in on me and to cheer me up. I guess it is what I have tried to do for everyone else, so it is great to feel that the team are looking out for me too.
Exercise has been a great outlet for me, and I’m pleased to say fscom have maintained most of the team activities we kicked off with the lockdown, and introduced some new initiatives including 5k Thursday which we started off 2 weeks ago raising £680 so far for the NHS charity. The fscom team now try to get out every Thursday evening to exercise, saving Fridays for our team fun time sessions which is a great end to a busy week and wind down for the weekend.
What ways our team is “taking care of ME”
Speaking to our fscom team members this week, I have been highlighting the importance of mental health and I have been asking them how they are taking care of themselves.
So here are some of the things the fscom team have been doing to cope with lockdown, home schooling, bad hair days, cancelled summer holidays and missing our colleagues and our old normal office life: -
- Changing the background on our teams video meetings – we can be in Hawaii one day and the Seychellles the next!
- Reading more books than ever – novels, autobiographies, and Marie Kondo to name a few!
- Gardening and growing vegetables – we even had a lunch and learn gardening session with one of our green fingered senior managers
- Saving money – no coffees, no travelling, no partying has saved a few pounds
- Taking over the bathroom for long baths and home beauty treatments
- Practicing mindfulness
- Cooking elaborate dinners whatever night of the week
- Practicing our hairdressing skills on family members – did you not know the bowl haircut is making a comeback?!
- Sleeping more and better – with the lack of commuting and travelling
- Adding new family members in the form of puppies!
The key takeaway for me over the last ten weeks is just how unique every individual is and the importance of being kind and looking out for each other. Finding ways to fill spare time without the luxury of seeing family and friends has brought out new interests and hobbies that will hopefully support our mental health and overall wellbeing in the months and years to come.
We had the good news from the local government that our lockdown would be relaxed slightly, giving us the hope of seeing family and friends again over the long bank holiday weekend at a distance!
Be kind and stay safe.