In March 2020, the world shut down. Offices emptied, and most people had to adjust to working from their homes for the first time. The transition to working from home presented some challenges at first, not the least of which was making sure the kitchen, or whatever room you were in, was suitably professional for those infamous Zoom calls! As the weeks dragged on into months, the novelty began to wear off. I, for one, found it a bit isolating, and although I spoke via Zoom to colleagues, it didn’t quite replace the feeling of being in an office and seeing people face-to-face.
I knew I couldn’t be alone in feeling this way either. As Head of People and Operations, I oversee all of our employees, and as time went by, I began to see the strain people were under as they adjusted to the new paradigm. Our clients were also under massive pressure to respond to the pandemic. To keep delivering to them, we had to ensure we had the right people with the right set of skills and prioritise their wellbeing. As a result, we introduced the All human Wellness Programme in March 2021.
The All human Wellness Programme
From speaking with our employees - all of whom were in different personal situations - some have families, some were isolated alone, I knew that whatever we did had to offer flexibility. There is no “one size fits all” when planning to support employee wellbeing on an individual level through a company-wide wellness programme. After some research, we decided to partner with Aoife Healy, Health and Wellness Coach, who helped us create a tailored wellness programme.
Aoife conducts regular yoga and mindfulness sessions
What we offer in the All human Wellness Programme 1:1 Weekly Wellness Coaching
These calls provide a space to confide in a healthcare professional confidentially. The goal is to assess the employee’s wellbeing needs and create a realistic plan to support the individual in achieving it. Having some sort of structured framework helps to get people back on track when all the business of life gets in the way.
Deskercise classes provide an energy boost and a short break from the desk. Tech neck, a condition caused by working at a desk for a long- time, is now quite common. Taking time to complete some deskercise can help alleviate the discomfort associated with this complaint.
You can join Aoife for a FREE Desk Yoga session here.
Tech neck, caused by working at a desk for a long-time, is now quite common
Lunch and Learn Workshops
These sessions provide an opportunity for employees to learn about a topic of interest from subject matter experts. Our most recent lunchtime workshop was on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and how to manage imposter syndrome. From an internal survey, we know that three-quarters of staff who attend find these sessions extremely valuable.
Yoga and Meditation
Our midweek yoga and meditation classes focus on reducing stress and anxiety and increasing everyone’s balance, strength, and flexibility. All human has a dedicated Spotify channel that offers employees access to guided meditation podcasts. Employees have the opportunity to listen at their convenience.
Restoring work-life balance
I spoke with Aoife recently to ask her about any trends or observations she may have noticed since the launch of our Wellness Programme. “I have found that there has been a major shift in the attitudes towards the issue of wellness. At first, there was a little bit of ambivalence towards the area, particularly with males. They weren't sure if they were the right fit for the programme. There is this universal belief that wellness is for females only, that looking after yourself should not be a priority or something to spend money on. It’s hardly surprising though, given that’s the message most marketing implies. However, through 1:1 wellness calls, we break down these perceptions and build a plan for each individual. Wellness measures can be as small as getting out for a walk at lunchtime, snacking on healthier foods, switching off the laptop at a particular time, getting up earlier, and the list goes on. All of these are micro habits that lay the foundations for an individual to attain a better work-life balance,” says Aoife.
She added, “A common theme that I see is that people working from home need to be reminded about what is important. It is all too easy to let work take over. I focus on the three key pillars of wellness: healthy eating, good sleep hygiene, and movement. We recently introduced “walking wellness calls,” where individuals can take their 1:1 calls on foot and get some movement and fresh air as we catch up. So far, these are proving to be highly effective.”
To further encourage employees to take a break, we recently held an afternoon where we encouraged employees to Disconnect to Reconnect.
When asked, here’s what some of our employees said about the programme
“I recommend making the Wellness Programme a mandatory thing! The hidden benefits are incredible. It is a great initiative. It offers both discussions around stress management and provides us with someone to talk to.”
“Aoife really pushed me to think about my wellbeing; she helped me to identify what motivates me, and what doesn't. She also helped me to develop the strength I needed to change some habits that weren't any good. After just a few sessions, I felt a lot better mentally and physically as I developed new routines. I thank Aoife for her empathy, patience, and dedication to helping me out.”
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Daire Feeley 8 mins
Shona Healy8 mins
Niamh Healy-Moore 9 mins