Law firm, Rollits, is supporting its team across the region by collaborating with a mental health charity, Mind, to present a package of activities which promote working together on wellbeing.
Rollits has embarked on a series of emails, texts and calls to keep in touch with staff and the firm has also turned to technology to reinforce the social network established by its Employee Forum.
The group, which usually organises fund-raising events, walks, Easter egg drops and even office visits by an ice cream van is now setting up virtual alternatives to keep colleagues connected.
Caroline Neadley, an Associate who runs the forum jointly with the firm’s head of HR, Linda Cook, said staff are logging onto Zoom to take part in firm-wide quizzes and are now taking part in online sessions with Hull and East Yorkshire Mind to share the benefits of meditation.
Caroline said: “Before lockdown we ran various physical events including a wellbeing week and yoga sessions. This was something the firm encouraged for staff in both our Hull and York offices as we see a great benefit in offering these activities to bring people together to support their health and wellbeing.
“But because of everything that’s going on with coronavirus, and with everyone working away from the office we have now started delivering activities virtually.”
Experts from Mind provided online training for Rollits staff during national Mental Health Awareness Week in May and for June progressed to the weekly meditation sessions.
Caroline said: “I’ve tried meditation before in the context of yoga and pilates but this has been different. It’s not lying down on a yoga mat, it can be office based, getting in to a relaxed state of mind.
“We looked at some of the physical benefits because for a lot of people meditation is purely about mental wellbeing, however there are many physical health benefits as well. The sessions explore different types of meditation from breathing exercises to mantra meditation so that individuals can find the technique that works best for them.
“It has definitely opened some sceptical minds and we’re getting good feedback at the end of each session. Some colleagues find it very relaxing and for them it is akin to the concept of a power nap. I think we will continue to encourage meditation in the workplace because it’s a practice that helps calm a busy mind at times of stress and we can use the techniques anywhere, at home, in the office or in a quiet room and it fits the journey we are all on in terms of focusing on our wellbeing.”
Lorraine Hamilton, Training Manager at Hull and East Yorkshire Mind, said: “We did an online session about working from home and the importance of looking after your mental and physical wellbeing and making sure you have the right environment and have a good routine.
“We have followed that with four meditation sessions. It’s difficult when you are managing people more from a distance and you aren’t able to have those physical catch-ups. Meditation and mindfulness are great relaxation techniques and very effective as a preventative measure for mental ill health. It can also be useful for people who may be experiencing issues already.”
[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]