This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and so we thought it would be a good time to share some of the steps we have taken here at Coast over the past 5 years to help support the mental wellbeing of our employees.
Working at a fast-paced digital agency can have it’s challenges and be very demanding at times, so it’s important to strike the right balance of supporting each other and giving us the tools and space to be successful. The pandemic only emphasised this even further, with staff also having the added uncertainty of day to day living and dealing with an unsettled balance between home life and work life.
With all of this in mind, now feels like an ideal time to be promoting mental health in the workplace and talking about some of the great things we have either done already or that are on the horizon for implementation in the near future.
7 steps we’ve taken at Coast to support the team.
Much like working in an office every day felt normal B.P (before pandemic ), meetings always felt like they had to be held in a designated meeting room for a set time with people taking notes and sharing actions. While this has not been done away with entirely – because in some cases that approach is the best – if it’s a shorter meeting (maybe a 1-2-1), then why not have your meeting while walking outside? This is something we have implemented at Coast, and it is, quite literally, a breath of fresh air!
Moving is a great way to pick up one’s mood and get the mind whirling. We have some maps we have designed showing different local walking routes dependent on the length of meeting. Perhaps more of a summertime idea, but nice to get out in the fresh air for sure.
With being active in mind, Coast also invested in a table tennis table. This caused quite the stir when it first arrived, with many keen to show off their ‘skills’. Fair to say that we’d had some competitive people at the company!
Lunch time competitions and the ‘round the table’ game became a regular instalment, helping team members take focus off work even if just for 45 minutes in middle of the day.
Table tennis is not the only game; however, we also hold game nights throughout the year consisting of either quizzes or board games of some kind!
Training Mental Health First Aiders!
Coast now also has three trained Mental Health First Aiders! The aim here is that we (yes, I am one of the three) can try to spot potential issues that employees may be having and help put things in place before they become worse. This could be due to a heavy workload or because of stuff going on outside of work.
As a team, we are all quite passionate about the idea and are already looking into lots of exciting things we can do over the next year to promote good health and wellbeing (both physically and mentally) among our staff.
Regular social events
Here at Coast we are a social bunch and we try to make sure the teams get together on a regular basis. Nights out, quizzes, escape rooms and bowling have all made the grade and the Summer and Christmas parties have become infamous. Things like bi-weekly breakfast socials and Cinema Club are a couple that have become quite popular. We also organise regular events to support the Foundation Team and the selected charity partners of choice. This is a great way to get the team together but also support amazing causes.
Yoga is a great way to unwind and connect with the world around you. This is what many of us have found since we started lunch time yoga once a week back in 2018. Taking 45mins to stetch out but also feel present in the moment and connecting to our chakras – basically we all chilled out for a bit!
We have not re-introduced this since being back in the new office, but we are looking to fire it back up again soon! Namaste.
Mental health local directory
Simple one here, but offering staff a directory of local services that can help to support mental health and wellbeing can go a long way. Knowledge is power and offering team members a route to help is a simple win.
Health Care support and Headspace
Now I saved the best to last. One of the perks of working here at Coast (along with all the amazing people) is the private health care. We are lucky enough that our package has a dedicated mental health support option. This is a separate line with people trained to deal with and advise on a range of issues.
Team members are also offered a free Headspace subscription. Headspace is a well-known mental health support app.
As you can see, we have been busy implementing a range of helpful mental health support techniques, but we know that, as with anything, there is still room for improvements.
We know this is something we need to keep reviewing and getting feedback from the team about, but we are committed to doing so and the goal remains the same: making Coast Digital a great place to work!