On Thursday 21st June, CCC united nearly 40 HR and wellbeing professionals for a day of wellbeing to celebrate 40 years of the local charity providing quality counselling to local people.
Initially formed as a government funded organisation to train counsellors to a high standard, CCC later became a charity providing affordable counselling to those in the area who needed support but can't afford to pay market rates or wait for a GP referral. CCC's charitable activities are funded by providing counselling and associated services to local employers to support their staff's wellbeing, reduce absence levels, and support staff back to work after long periods of absence. CCC is still doing this with great success after 40 years and is still growing year by year, now with over 40 counsellors located right across Cambridgeshire and surrounding counties. The wellbeing day was intended to thank some of the long-standing corporate clients, as well as raise awareness about CCC and other local providers of wellbeing services.
Local construction and building maintenance firm and last year's winner of both the Business of the Year Award and Corporate Social Responsibility Award, Princebuild, sponsored the event at the ABAX Stadium, where they also gave a presentation on how workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense.
A number of other local wellbeing practitioners were on hand to give presentations, advice, and taster sessions as well as CCC giving an overview of their history and some of their services.
An overview of CCC
Mental Health Awareness Session - CCC
Workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense - Princebuild
Nutrition presentation by The Nourished Soul
Chair Workout by Anytime Fitness
Stress Management - CCC
Yoga and Mindfulness - Free To Think
Hypnotherapy and Sleep - Hummingbird Hypnotherapy
Reflexology by Caroline Houghton
Laughter Yoga with Linda Nightingale
Massage by Soul Happy
Also there to promote their charities and services were Artbeat Therapy and Lipoedema UK.
Thank you to all who attended and took part enthusiastically in the session. Special thanks to the speakers.
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Try and look at your company culture objectively. If most people consistently work a 70 hour week, despite being on a 40 hour contract, any new people will observe and slip into the cultural norm. Whilst this might give you short term gains, staff will quickly develop burnout, feel exploited, work out their hourly rate, and worst of all, not make productive use of the time they are working, instead using the time to bemoan their plight to other co-workers and spread feelings of resentment towards the organisation. If the managers and sending and expecting replies to emails at 11pm and 5am, staff will feel that their personal time is being invaded. If managers are dictatorial and dogmatic rather than collaborative, or take credit for the achievements of their staff and blame them for their mistakes, any colleagues promoted to those positions will behave in that way because that is what they have experienced from their managers.
To change the social norms, encourage managers to listen to staff and work as a team to provide solutions to problems rather than imposing new process. If people feel that they have been part of the solution, they are much more engaed in trying to make it work. Encourage staff to take breaks, work effectively rather than long hours, and reward achievement. Encourage a collaborative approach and an open environment where problems can be discussed openly without fear of retribution. Put in place a structure wellbeing programme to promote good physical and mental health and encourage people to work together to maintain their health in a mutually supportive environment.
Whilst success is seen as reaching the top of the management structure, earning most money, reaping most benefits and stamping on others to get where you want to be, a dog eat dog culture will prevail. Encourage initiative which promote a kinder, more supportive workplace and strive for happiness. Allow people to be who they are, provided it doesn't negatively impact others, encourage volunteering and helping others, both at work and as part of a society, and promote healthy living - both physically and mentally. Redfine success as living authentically, purposefully and healthily and promote the goal of creating a better environment in the workplace.
If people exist only as individuals they eventually feel isolated and in competition with their colleagues. Teams need to know each other and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses in order to be able to function effectively. Difference should be embraced. Although most research shows that our natural instincts are to surround ourselves with like-linded personalities with a common ethos, team building models all recognise that in order for projects to succeed, a variety of skillsets and approaches are necessary. A team full of 'completer finishers' will never make any changes or get anything implemented, whereas a room full of plants will conflict and not see projects through to the end. Encourage teamwork and help people to recognise where they fit and how they contribute.
If new staff are just given a workspace and a job specification and left to achieve their goals independently, they will bring the culture from their old workplace, which is always a bit of a gamble. People recreate what they already know as it is the path of least resistance, but if this doesn't match with your culture or where you want to be, there will be conflict. So don't leave it to chance. When new people join you, assign a buddy who already demonstrates the culture you are aiming for. Ensure they introduce the new person to all of the specialists, that they know where to go for help and that it's OK to ask for help, and most importantly, ensure that it's more important to be kind, collaborative and supportive than to shine by being selfish, isolated and concerned only with the success of their department. Introduce the idea of shared goals, company-wide success and humanity.
If we do not actively create the culture we want, another culture will develop on its own, which could be terminally damaging to the reputation and sustainability of your organisation.
It's official - workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense!
A recent study by the World Economic Forum, resulting in their Global Agenda on Mental Health 2014-2016, concludes that a mental health issue is not a lack of morality or of weakness, and outlines how organisations benefit both financially and in terms of economic engagement and motivation when practical steps are taken to support staff through difficulties and proactive measures are implemented to improve staff mental health awareness.
For many years, employers have acknowledged the benefits of promoting good physical health to their workforce, but increasingly, mental health is starting to appear on the agenda. It's easy to see the effect on work colleagues when someone comes into the office in a bad mood, but it's perhaps less obvious when a colleague is experiencing a slow and gradual decline into a state of depression.
However, the effects are real - not only on the individual concerned, but also on their colleagues; in terms of feelings of impotence (not knowing how to help), of guilt (not being able to help), of anger (if their workload increases because of someone else's lack of productivity or their absence) and in terms of general distraction. To address these issues, not only benefits not only benefits the affected individual and their line manager, but also all of their colleagues, and potentially, the profitability of the business.
For the small investment of only £50 per counselling session, an employer could avoid weeks of paid absence.
For a one-off fee of £450, a group of staff could learn about the most common mental health problems, how to identify if they are a colleague might be suffering from one of them, and most importantly, action they can take to reduce the effects of and manage such conditions or how to help a colleague in distress.
Read the full report at: http://b.3cdn.net/joinmq/7eb7e59295b1ecd263_rgm6iy3yj.pdf