Connecting with nature for Wellbeing Week 2021

Sophie Ward
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Ensono Digital came together last week to raise awareness for ‘Wellbeing Week’, courtesy of our Wellbeing Committee, which includes eight trained Wellbeing Advocates, a conglomerate of people across the business who have the tools, knowledge and confidence to support our team with mental wellbeing. Wellbeing Week inspired us all to share and kick-start conversations around our mental health and wellbeing and the things in our daily lives that can affect it.

We take pride in supporting our people’s wellbeing and have recently been recognised as 13th in Great Place to Work® UK Best Workplaces™ list and Great Place to Work® Excellence in Wellbeing for the second year in a row. It’s important for us to build upon our learnings, and as an Ensono Digital team, our aim was to inspire our people to connect with nature in new ways, noticing the impact of that connection and benefits it can have for our mental health.

Following a year in which we have spent the majority of it in lockdown, where it’s no secret that it’s impacted our mental health, as we begin to see restrictions lifted, the theme of ‘Connect with Nature’ couldn't have been more relevant. Spending quality time with nature can reduce stress, balance our mood and help us feel more positive. Nature has played a key role for all of us, simple pleasures such as going outside for walks became our nature prescription and coping and protection strategy, as well as a ticket to an ounce of freedom!

We lined up a week of 16 opt-in activities for our people to take part in as much or as little as they liked, from talks, challenges and initiatives with everyone inspiring and engaging with each other with various pictures, activities, and conversations around connecting with nature! We were each sent a sunflower seed to our home address, with a challenge to grow the tallest sunflower over the Spring and Summer months. Chair Yoga allowed us to take part from our home desk, and incorporated stretching and physical health, with wellness and mindfulness techniques we could use regularly in order to reduce stress and improve energy levels. Our Tree of Gratitude on Miro encouraged everyone to take a minute to write something lovely for and about our colleagues who deserves a thank you for going above and beyond in the past year.

What better way to inspire each other, than to showcase our wonderful communities within Ensono Digital to encourage ‘Connecting Minutes’, one of our Wellbeing challenges which took place in the week. On Wednesday we committed to getting out into nature and racked up our minutes of activity, not only to help raise money for Mind, our chosen Wellbeing charity, but to help ourselves feel better mentally and physically. We had a variety of activities and selfies shared, from early morning runs and cycles in our #lunch-run-crew and #cycling channels, to afternoon reading in our #amidobookclub channel, journaling, gardening, playing music with our #jamming group, and evening dog walks.

Collectively, Ensono Digital tallied 1,722 minutes, with 25p per minute in the pot, donating a fantastic total of £430.50 to Mind. Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Mind campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding of mental ill health; so a truly fitting charity for our fundraising this week.

Another of our challenges saw our people share their house plants in our #wellbeing Slack channel, with some fantastic home-grown avocado trees! Our Friday talk, ‘Nature working for you @ home’ showcased some fascinating facts; plants release oxygen at night to improve air quality and sleep, as well as students demonstrating up to 70% greater attentiveness when taught in rooms which contain plants!

Ensono Digital are proud to support a culture of sharing, caring and supporting our people, but also acknowledge we could always do more. We regularly conduct pulse surveys to give our employees a voice and a space to openly share information with us, so Ensono Digital can better support our people and ensure each employee receives the most appropriate support throughout their work.

Our Wellbeing Committee continue to act on insights and implement a number of positive initiatives from remote working tips and tricks, an abundance of wellbeing and mental health tools and resources, from managing stress and burnout to switching off after work. We put together a dedicated Slack channel for our people to post feelings/suggestions to share tips, what they do to relax, recommend books, mindfulness apps and more!

We wrapped up Wellbeing Week in our Friday All Hands meeting, sharing highlights and key learnings from our activities. A few pieces of advice from us; it’s important to set boundaries at work and make your notification schedule work for you and not the other way around. Tips such as turning off when you’re off, reshuffling work areas for the weekends, investing in hobbies, and setting good examples as leaders to champion time off to rest and recharge the batteries.

Wellbeing Week has been about raising awareness of mental resilience, emotional, physical and social wellbeing, and reminding each other to take time for ourselves, especially as we re-adjust coming out of lockdown. Our commitment to wellbeing at Ensono Digital is ongoing, and we continue to prioritise wellbeing all-year-round.

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