PR Director Gemma Oakes explains how Mercieca is actively responding to and future proofing the wellbeing of its team.
“Social media and mobile technology now means we’re ‘on’ twenty-four-seven. Deadlines are getting shorter. The consumer expects things faster. Can we, and by ‘we’ I mean agencies, media and clients, ever really switch off?
Yes we can. It takes a bit of discipline, but it’s our behaviour that stops us from being able to rest our minds and bodies. Switch your work phone off at weekends. Don’t take calls after working hours. Have a break from social media. Of course we need to be on hand for emergencies, but by putting in a few ground rules with each other, it prevents us from feeling we and others are contactable 24/7. Respect the boundaries.
Last month we encouraged our team to get involved in #FitFeb. Not just ensuring they were looking after their physical wellbeing, but also sparing a thought for giving their minds a rest too. We gave over 100 hours in total back to them to do as they saw fit … from yoga, to art exhibitions, to a morning HIT class. It encouraged them to change their routine and recognise that it’s really not that hard to create the time for ourselves. It’s instead habit that stops us.
We’ve had flexible and home working in place for years, but realised it’s not something we’ve actively promoted or the team have understood the benefit of. Until now.
We’ve had flexible and home working in place for years, but realised it’s not something we’ve actively promoted or the team have understood the benefit of. Until now. We made sure that #FitFeb didn’t stop at the end of the month. Everyone is now actively encouraged to ensure the lines between personal and work life haven’t eroded.
We recently invited double Olympian Jack Green to speak to the team about his own issues with mental health. Diagnosed with depression, as a professional athlete, Jack has worked hard to not only overcome the challenges he’s faced, but ensure he’s encouraging others to win their mental health battles too. The latest PRCA Census shows that attitudes to mental health in the workplace are polarised with less than half of employees feeling they can talk to colleagues about their mental wellbeing. With this in mind, bringing Jack in to meet everyone was one of many steps we’re taking to ensure the subject is not taboo at Mercieca.
Our line managers are equipped to create safe environments to encourage colleagues to talk about how they feel with each other and with their managers. Peer to peer support is already in place, with monthly lunches to drive open communication.
People remain at the heart of our business, and hopefully simply by removing the stigma of mental health and wellbeing we can together achieve positive outcomes.