Article by Felicity Barnes, Head of People & Culture at Fooditude
Here at Fooditude, we are taking part in #mentalhealthawarenessweek for another year – although this time it will be one with a difference. We are closed as a business during the lockdown, but our team’s mental health and wellbeing is still very much a priority. The pandemic is causing a strain on everyone’s mental health, so this week I feel it is vital to raise awareness to help support our team and their mental wellbeing.
The topic this year is kindness, which has been so wonderfully prevalent over the last few weeks – showing that small acts of kindness really do make a big difference. Kindness is defined by doing something for yourself and others, motivated by a genuine desire to make a positive difference.
This year’s theme has reminded me of all the acts of kindness I’ve had the pleasure to witness around our business. Firstly, there’s the most recent community work we have been undertaking, which has seen team members from across the business volunteer their free time to create meals for the most vulnerable in our community. Our Head of Operations has even been enjoying her volunteering role as the kitchen porter! But, also in other ways such as our Business Development Manager creating an awesome virtual quiz for our colleagues to take part in during lockdown, our Managing Director hosting fun (but informative) zoom calls, team members setting up weekly coffee morning chats – these are acts of kindness from others that have made a real difference in lifting the teams mood during these uncertain times.
So, what are we doing this week?
This week we will be encouraging our team to do something kind for themselves and for others, then share their stories on EKO (our internal chat platform). We will also be providing tips and advice on acts of kindness both personally and for others. I’ve seen how one act of kindness can lead to many more – so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this helps our team and others!
We will be signposting our support services, advice and guidance to our team on how we can support their mental health and wellbeing, as well as encouraging our staff to make use of our employee assistance programme with Hospitality Action.
Here’s some of our other initiatives, achievements and goals:
I’m a mental health first aid champion. Mental Health First Aid England offers excellent online courses, which I highly recommend!
We’re currently working hard towards the London Healthy Workplace Award. We’re not there just yet, but we’re in the process of adapting our business to the comprehensive framework they set out for a healthy workplace.
We are proud to be using Hospitality Action as our employee assistance programme. Their support is free for our team to use at any time and their online portal has a ton of useful resources on offer. We have found that their managed referral process has provided excellent support for our team members.
We work with mindful peak performance for cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, they delivered an extremely helpful session last year and we’re hoping to deliver a virtual session later this week!
My top tips on how you can achieve more kindness in your workplace:
Remember to check-in with your colleagues. Even if people are furloughed it’s important to know how they are doing. People really appreciate this during such uncertain times, especially those who are shielding and isolating themselves.
Support volunteering opportunities. There is more opportunity now than ever to get stuck into some meaningful volunteering opportunities. Workplaces can support their employees by offering a paid day of leave during the year for employees to do some volunteer work.
Share acts of kindness stories of your team members. These stories help to strengthen relationships and a feeling of community, whether people are working in the office or from home!
Do you have any acts of kindness to share with us? We’d love to hear about them. Share on Twitter or Instagram @WeAreFooditude #BeKind