Mental Health Awareness Week

It’s Mental Health Awareness week this week and we wanted to talk about ways in which a business can help to look after their staff who are going through a hard time.

Earlier in the year our Directors took a trip to London to attend an event focused on ‘Good Mental Health For Agency Owners and Their Staff’. The event, put on by The Agency Collective, also had guest speaker James Routledge, from Sanctus. Sanctus aim to change the perception of mental health in the workplace and to help ‘show what company culture looks like when mental health is at the forefront’.

Lots of different businesses, from super small to large, were asked to be part of the panel and shared the ways in which they help employees who are suffering with a mental illness. It was a really insightful event and encouraged ORCA to utilise a variety of different techniques to help our staff.

Since the event we have assigned each staff member with a ‘coach’ who regularly checks up on each person in their care to make sure they’re getting what they need from their job and the studio as well as to give any help or advice they need.

We try to encourage our staff to ask for help if-and-when they need it, but we know that this can be the hardest thing to do, especially when in the workplace. We have group catchups each week to discuss what we’ll be working on throughout the week and if we need any extra support to get things done on time. Our coaches will have one-to-ones with their staff to try and make sure they have all the support they need and offer advice for anything that’s troubling them.

From their time at the conference our Directors made another change in the business and appointed a Chief Happiness Officer. This person is responsible for making ORCA the happiest it can be! So far we’ve implemented a few things such as ‘Happy hour’, it’s just a 10minute break each day where the team sit down for a cup of tea and have a chat about anything they want to. We try to keep it non-work related so we’re getting a change of scene and have a chance to unwind for a little bit before getting back to business. It’s a really simple, informal way of getting away from our desks and just having a chat. We also mix this time up with a table football session which always gets us raring to go and provides some well needed time away from our desks!

We also book in a monthly lunch date where we all take lunch at the same time and have a break away from our desks in a local cafe or deli. It’s another really simple way of getting together without disrupting work, but allowing us to relax and find out more about each-other. These little outings allow us to discover more about each other and connect more as a team.

One of the steps the Mental Health Foundation tells us to follow is to ‘Do something you’re good at’. Being a small creative agency, we’ve learned that all of our staff are well into their creativity so we’ve implemented one dedicated afternoon a month where we can all get creative in any way we want. We’ve been known to work on our illustration skills, learning new software like Adobe AfterEffects, and even sewing football kits for our foozeball teams! We know the importance of working on passion projects to keep your creativity alive and this really helps us to make that happen.

Over the coming year we’re looking into implementing more ways to look after our staff and their wellbeing. If you know of any events we should attend or if you’re doing something amazing in your workplace let us know!

We’d love to have your advice.

Written by

Vicki Lee