As part of Surevine’s People Strategy we are working hard on better understanding and supporting our mental health and wellbeing. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year* and many more people will know or care for people who do. So we have no doubt the importance of both talking and doing something about it.
Our last RLM (Real-Life Meeting) actually fell on World Mental Health Day, so we focussed on working out what that meant for Surevine and being a remote company – and what changes we could make over the coming year to better look after our own Mental Health and that of our colleagues. We asked The Wellbeing Project to come along and open up the discussion about mental health and how work impacts this.
We started by asking “what is mental wellbeing”? Our facilitator urged us to look at both the positives and negatives, with people in the room drawing on their own personal experiences to start the discussion. Afterall, we all have mental health which ranges on a continuum from mental illness to mental health challenges, to mental wellbeing and then finally resilience.
We then looked at the Pressure Performance Curve. When pressure is applied, whether at work or at home, it can enhance performance and drive motivation. However, too much pressure for too long can be overbearing and have the opposite effect, throwing us into strain and crisis.
Some people have telltale signs of when they are reaching their tipping point. Through discussions of what these may be, we learnt about steps we can take to help support somebody when they begin to display these signs. At Surevine, some teams have also adopted a method of tracking themselves on the Pressure Performance Curve once a week to judge how they are performing, and to spot when they might be approaching strain.
After identifying factors that can impact our mental wellbeing, we looked at the more positive aspects of mental wellbeing and the processes which can support it.
The 5 foundation stones work together to provide a base for this wellbeing:
- Self-care: nutrition, hydration, movement, sleep, recovery
- Focus: being centred and having meaning
- Connection: engaging with your support network
- Adaptability: being open to new ideas and experiences
- Appreciation: how you appreciate yourself and others
Through examining the 5 foundation stones we could identify actions that we currently do and the changes we will strive to make for the future. And for Surevine as a company, this means putting in place practices to support them.
This was only the beginning of Surevine’s journey in understanding more about mental and physical health and wellbeing. As a remote company, we face some unique challenges – the most obvious being the loneliness and lack of movement. But by recognising these challenges we can work to overcome them.
Since the RLM, we have started to make changes in our behaviour. We run an anonymous daily poll (based on Niko-Niko) to ask our team “how are you feeling today?” And then we report back on the findings at the start of the next week so we can track our happiness and make changes to our behaviour where needed.
We have also started using the Fitbit ‘Workweek Hustle’ to help get people moving and get some healthy competition going!
And our most appreciated idea was a Mindfulness Advent Calendar to remind everyone to stay cool, calm and collected over the festive period, and to give our minds a treat before Christmas.
*McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.