We’ve always put the wellbeing of the team at the heart of our benefits package – flexible start times, providing endless fruit, holding wellbeing sessions where we bring experts in to inspire the team with tools for better sleep, nutrition and even attending Sudden Movements gym for a monthly movement session.
But with a post-pandemic world and even more of our energy and focus as a nation being plugged into screens and endless negative news we felt it was time to do even more than we already offer and completely overhaul our benefits package.
For the past few months we’ve been speaking to our team and reviewing what they like and what they want to see more of. We’ve assessed the space we have and how we use it and also looked at switching around the work week, all to positively uplift our mental health as a team, whilst still achieving all of our client’s goals and keeping productivity high. So here’s what we’re doing:
Monthly Joy Bonus
We encourage the team to enjoy their downtime doing whatever it is that helps them to disconnect and relax, so we pay them monthly amount to spend on something that brings them joy – a Netflix subscription, or their Spotify, their Calm app or their gym membership, yoga class or even a pair of roller skates!
4.5 Day Work Week
To build upon this foundation we’ve recently shifted to a 4.5 day work week where a slightly later start on Mondays and an early Friday finish means that we have a longer weekend… even if that just means you get to spend a little longer having your morning coffee and breakfast at the start of the week or to relax into the weekend that bit earlier on a Friday. Read more about why we made the move here.
”The 4.5 work week has been really positive as it has allowed me to regain work-life balance, feel less stressed and be more productive during my time at work. This is because I have more time to live a healthier life (exercise, meal prep etc), do my admin (work and general life) and have more brain space to be creative!"
”It feels like a huge boost to morale for the team. It's definitely improved my work/life balance."
”It's made me use all my time outside of work better, not just Monday mornings as it's shown me how valuable the extra free time can be."
Whilst the pandemic proved that we can all successfully work from home, we still believe in the power of community and collaboration face to face – especially for a creative agency. It’s up to us to create an office environment that people enjoy coming to and a culture that’s positive and that’s what we have here – so we don’t have a set amount of time people have to be in the office – nor do we have specific WFH days. Why? Because people can make the choice for themselves and we trust them to work from wherever they’re most comfortable, whether that’s in the office, at home, in a coffee shop, in the park or even on the other side of the world if they need to!
As it stands our team choose to come into the office for the majority of the week, and sometimes they choose to work elsewhere. There is laughter and chatter and people going for lunch together – everything that you don’t get when you’re not together in one room – and we want to encourage that, not create a business where everyone works remotely all of the time.
In his book Lost Connections, Johann Hari talks about the growing levels of depression and anxiety people are facing and links much of it back to losing connection with other people, along with the change to how much our social contact is played out – moving online where people are actually less connected, and feel lonelier than ever.
Device Free Spaces
Inspired by another book by Johann Hari, Stolen Focus, which addresses our diminishing attention span as a nation, blaming it largely on the influence of social media and smartphones. We’ve increased our office space and this means that we’ll soon have a device-free room for reading, rest, relaxation and letting the mind just wander and wonder.
Free 121 Therapy with Spill
We can’t remove the impact working on screens has entirely but we can do everything we have the power to do. We’re very aware as an office that the nature of our work – always looking at a screen of some kind and with social media right at the forefront of what we do – can be challenging. Having access to the resources that allow us to look after our mental health is an important part of allowing us to thrive as a productive and happy team, therefore we also pay for 121 therapy – for any reason, related or not to work – through the online platform Spill. Read more about that here.
So our benefits package has developed and the response from our team has already been fantastic with everyone feeling better rested, more productive and feeling brilliant!
Workplace Mental Health Responders
Last week our Studio Director, Lynne and Head of Social, Scott attended the St John’s Ambulance training on mential health and are now our certified Workplace Mental Health Responders. Two dedicated members of our team here to call on and to help spot any potential issues and helping the agency to whilst foster an environment where the subject of mental health feels as important and open as physical health. Read more about that here.