We’ve all faced our own challenges during the last couple of years, and staying on top of both mental and physical health and wellbeing has never been so important.
It’s something that I know is really valued here at Highlander, which is why I’m delighted to be part of our recently formed Health and Wellbeing team. It’s an initiative that was launched at the end of last year and follows hot on the heels of our involvement in the new health and wellbeing leadership programme delivered by Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) in conjunction with our Chairman Dr Rich Field and Field Enterprise.
Looking after the Highlander family is something that has always been important to our MD Steve Brown, which is why he was one of the first to sign up for the programme during its initial conception. While primarily aimed at business leaders, Steve was keen that another member of the team joined the course to help bring some of the learnings back into the business, and I was so pleased when he gave me the opportunity to join him, especially as someone not operating within a leadership role.
As well as an interesting opportunity, it was a helpful boost to my own wellbeing. The course was scheduled in Spring last year while many of the stricter Covid-19 restrictions were in place, so the chance to take a break from the day to day to participate in something completely new that took me out of my comfort zone was a welcomed change of pace.
As a Senior Account Manager, I’m fortunate to have regular engagements with business leaders and senior people from the customers we work with every day, but the course was a great opportunity to speak with some of those people in a different setting, and hear more about the values and initiatives they have introduced within their own business.
The course itself was delivered for 2 days every month for a 5 month period and highlighted just how valuable even small changes can be not only for yourself, but the health and wellbeing of others. After every session we would always be set some ‘homework’ with the task to set aside a small amount of time to do something for ourselves, and it was amazing just how much a little change like that can have on your outlook.
With a leadership focus, the course also explored models and best practice for how to implement new policies across your organisation in a way that helps every area of your business feel like they can make a contribution. Crucially, this means not only supporting those good habits in the workplace, but empowering employees and colleagues to take some of those practices home with them.
Following the completion of the leadership programme myself and Steve were both excited to put some of what we’d learned into practice here at Highlander, and one of the first steps has been the formation of the Health and Wellbeing Team with the below purpose in mind.
To improve the health, wellbeing and mindfulness of the Highlander family by creating a warm, welcoming and fun setting to work in. We are here to provide our people with an environment that has a positive impact upon their lives and gives a positive outlook and togetherness for all.
Every department was asked to nominate a representative for the team, ideally someone who wasn’t in a senior or leadership position. The team then meet once a month to discuss progress, share thoughts and ideas from colleagues, and outline next steps to put these new initiatives into practice.
Following an introduction session in December, the first official meeting took place in January and I was blown away by the level of response and engagement from everyone involved. Some great ideas were brought to the table from across the business, several of which have already been put into place as quick wins. This includes the return of fresh fruit baskets in the office every Monday as a healthy snack option, better use of the Hendo’s breakout room as genuine chill out space, and the addition of old school arcade games to bring some fun into the office.
There have also been some new activities and clubs to offer social opportunities outside of work including a bake-off style event and the new Highlander Harriers running club.
For all of us involved in the team it’s really rewarding to see some positive initiatives already in place, and great for the wider team to know that their suggestions and ideas will always be heard. There’s so much more to come, and plenty of great plans in the works, so keep your eyes peeled for further updates in the coming months. Who knows, maybe you can even put some of these ideas into practice within your own business.