This week we’ve been focusing on the important issue of wellbeing in the workplace.
Debs is part of the Your Consortium team and kindly wrote a short piece about her working experience:
I’ve been with YCL for about three and a half years, and I’ve never worked anywhere else like it. I’m proud to say I work for this organisation because of how supportive it is towards all staff. That sounds a bit passive though, doesn’t it? Almost like ‘the organisation’ is this thing that is separate from us as staff. We talk a lot about empowering people in the workplace, so how can something that sounds so passive feel so successful with staff wellbeing? Let me re-define ‘organisation’ – we’re a small team who very much feel we are the organisation. We are the very thing that gives us support.
Every one of us cares about the wellbeing of each other. Don’t get me wrong, we still expect that everyone will work hard and do a good job, but not at the expense of their own wellbeing. As a manager I expect my team to let me know if they’re struggling, but I see it as my responsibility to make sure they have the opportunity to let me know this. Whilst we’re working remotely I try to make sure I catch up with them each once a week, that whilst I’m working they can reach me by phone, or on Teams, and that I respond to their emails reasonably quickly. It’s my intention that they feel I’m available for them.
We also know that things outside of work can impact on people at work. I tend to consider myself quite a strong person, but last year there was a time when some volunteering I do was a bit heavy going. It was definitely starting to get into my head whilst I was at work. It helped me to talk a bit about it at work, and acknowledge that it was on my mind. But when my phone notified me of another email about it one afternoon – one email too many for that day! – I did have a small meltdown. The chocolate waiting for me on my desk the next morning was a gesture that really helped (thanks Em!). Around that time I also took advantage of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) that we have access to. I’m glad we have it, and I know it’s helped others too.
Our support for each other goes beyond the line management structure, and having the EAP. When anyone in our team asks ‘how are you?’ it’s because we actually care to know. This isn’t something we train people in when they join, it’s a part of our culture. It’s us, and we’re the organisation.
P.S. I also no longer have email notifications coming through to my phone 😉