Mental Awareness Week With Alex Cliffe And Elite Group

22nd May 2020

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Being Kind Costs Nothing But Adds So Much Value


Alex Cliffe Elite Group Director
 

Throughout the lockdown period I have talked about the wellbeing of remote employees and how to best manage working from home, with mental wellbeing at the heart of those conversations.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and considering the current circumstances, it’s timely that this year’s theme is kindness. Just under three-quarters of employees across the UK believe the one lesson we should learn from the COVID-19 crisis is to be kinder as a society.

It goes without saying that when someone is kind to you, it has a positive impact on your mental health – and the same goes for when we are kind to others, you can’t help but feel good about making others feel happier. Kindness can help reduce stress, improves emotional well-being, helps with self-esteem and can be motivating on an otherwise dreary day.

The story for Elite is how our employees, teams and customers have shown their own acts of kindness, more so during the last couple of months. Maybe I am noticing this kindness more than I would do normally because of the situation we are in or maybe people are being more thoughtful… but whatever the case maybe, it is definitely working and it is lovely to see.

We are seeing more positive news stories about each other, more of you are thanking your colleagues and sending notes of appreciation. Customers are taking the time to show their gratitude for a job well done and the feedback we have had has been outstanding. My Elite group team have been so helpful to me personally in sending stories to write about or in their willingness to share help and advice to others. Even when I am out and about for a walk (infrequent despite my tips from working from home), people are saying hello from across the street and smiling more than ever.  Usually, everyone has their heads stuck in their phones but now people want the connection and its great.

This week we would like to promote acts of kindness as part of Mental Health Awareness week, here are a few ideas to get us all started:

At home and in your community

  • Call a friend who you haven’t spoken to for a while
  • Post a card or letter to someone you are out of touch with
  • Send flowers to a friend or your family out of the blue
  • Find out if a neighbour needs any help with shopping
  • If you bake, share some with your neighbours
  • Send someone a hand written thank you note
  • Offer to help an elderly or vulnerable neighbour

work

  • Offer to support colleagues who may not be familiar with video conferencing or new software that you have already used
  • Set up a virtual coffee/lunch club – with your regular colleagues and with new ones
  • Have a conversation with a colleague you don’t normally talk to
  • Get to know a new member of staff – it is hard to join a new workplace under these restrictions
  • Say thank you to a colleague who has helped you
  • Praise a colleague for something they have done well

COVID-19 may have disrupted our lives, but it has also shown our potential for huge acts of kindness, both as individuals and, critically, as a company to work for.  That is why moving forwards Elite will be incorporating well-being and mental health as a key pillar of its future policies and every leader, manager and employee will be asked to recognise the importance of a robust mental health and wellbeing strategy, which places kindness at its heart.

Elite’s mental health ambassadors are doing a fantastic job in helping our colleagues’ day to day and advising the directors and management team on employee well-being.  We want to strengthen this team for the future and will be asking for volunteers to participate in mental health awareness training. I’d encourage other companies to implement Mental Health ambassadors as well, because maintaining the mental health of your employees only strengthens your company as a whole.

As we plan for returning to work, we will also be involving employee representatives and volunteers to help review our plans and feedback their thoughts and questions.  Remote working and the crisis, in general, has taught us to be more open and inclusive and the company and employees will see a real benefit going forwards.

Finally, and of equal importance, it’s really imperative to be kind to yourself – don’t forget this!