Ensuring team prosperity through a proactive focus on personal health and wellbeing
The pandemic hit everybody hard. Nobody knew what lay ahead. Nobody knew how to cope with the new health scare in which we all found ourselves. And nobody knew when (or even if) things would ever get better.
The first lockdown was a shock to most people’s systems. The second lockdown compounded the situation for everyone. The third lockdown was simply demoralising. Everyone was once again forced to work from home, often without an ideal home set-up and in isolation for the best part of the day.
Parents were struggling with juggling work and childcare, those sharing digs or without gardens were struggling to cope too. While the team at UHY battled on, sensibly the firm’s leaders knew they needed to take stock, take control and be proactive in supporting their teams, ensuring everyone focused on their own wellbeing (not just the work).
The team at UHY East weren’t on their own in struggling through the third Covid-19 lockdown in early 2021. But if the team were going to stand any chance of prospering during these challenging times, decisions and action to support them had to be taken. When it is so obvious to everyone that morale is at an all-time low, waiting and watching is not an option.
...ensure everyone in the UHY East team were focusing on their own personal health and wellbeing during work time, and knew they were supported by UHY in doing so.
The virtual team chats and social events which had dominated the first and second lockdowns were no longer helping as much or providing the same boost for the UHY team by the third lockdown.
Because people were realising that the pandemic wasn’t going away any time soon, even motivation to leave the house was lacking. Being indoors for the best part of the day with little physical exercise, people were lacking the natural vitamin D that would have come from the previously normal commute to work.
The directors at UHY knew that a more sustained and proactive programme of support and weekly encouragement was needed to help their teams through the challenges ahead.
Time to launch UHY’s helping you prosper wellbeing calendar...
The UHY Wellbeing calendar was introduced. The initial calendar was built around a nine-week programme, focused on the nine pillars of form.
3. Exercise and physical health
5. Stress management
6. Helping others
8. Financial wellbeing, and
9. State of mind.
An email was sent from the leadership team at the start of the week to share the relevant pillar and its importance to personal health and wellbeing. Each email included tips or recommended activities for the week, with a specific outlook diary invite to help everyone allocate some work-time to that particular week’s pillar.
Activities ranged from allocating time to watch recommended videos and read articles explaining how to devote time and action to the ‘pillar of the week’, through to online courses provided by CABA, online exercise sessions provided by the local gym and nutritional talks from Shelly Woods, the British Paralympic athlete (who is sponsored by UHY). A broad mix of activities was vital in an attempt to ensure everybody could find something each week to be involved with.
The firm also ran a monthly ‘Tea-M Time’ initiative, which basically ensured the whole team were involved with a monthly half-hour Teams call, over a cup of tea, to have another informal catch-up, understand what’s going on around the business and maintain a sense of connectedness.
The quarter one objective was to ensure everyone was prioritising their mental health and wellbeing. It was important that the whole team were able to engage with the programme and could find something of interest each week. All focused on helping the team understand how to achieve prosperity through improving their mental and physical wellbeing.
The firm monitored engagement throughout the initial nine-week programme, enabling them to test and check whether activities were landing well with the team, and working out which areas had the most engagement.
The feedback from across the firm surpassed the expectations of the directors. People fed back that, even though some of the sessions were not as relevant to them, they appreciated that they would be to others, and so they were supported.
Everyone also appreciated being able to take time out of their working day to undertake the activities, rather than having to use their own personal time outside of hours. Generally, the more interactive sessions were the most popular, with the talk from Shelly Woods being top of the list of successes for the most people.
During the monthly “Tea-M Time” sessions, polls were run to see if people felt that UHY had prioritised their mental health. The initial poll returned a score of 8.3/10, which has only improved across subsequent polls.
The biggest success of the calendar, based on the feedback received, was from the health MOTs that were offered to all team members. Around half the firm attended a 1-2-1 health assessment, which looked at a number of health indicators, such as weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure etc. The results of the tests gave each individual their indicative heart age, as well as a series of recommendations for improving their own health.
Ensuring the UHY family continue to prosper...
Following the success of the initial 9-week programme, the team at UHY East went on to develop a full annual programme of Helping you prosper wellbeing activities. The firm have partnered with Office Athletes, corporate wellbeing providers, to help drive ideas generation and to find external partners to support with new activities.
In response to the ongoing feedback from the team at UHY, the success of the programme has gone from strength to strength.
“The Helping You Prosper/Wellbeing programme has, so far, been one of the best initiatives introduced in my time at UHY. Even if not every single session is relevant to me there have been so many that have had an impact and it really comes across that the staff here at UHY are valued. It shows how much the directors actually give a **** about the people that work for them which is honestly the best thing about working here."
“Helped to take a step back from work and concentrate on my wellbeing and mental health. Sometimes I can get wrapped up in work and therefore by giving us some time to think about these different things really helped.”
“Really impressed that as a business we are embracing these wellbeing issues. It's powerful stuff and should help achieve win-win outcomes for team members and the business as whole.”
“More of the same please! Just nice knowing we are being supported on such an important issue.”