Liberty Marketing, a Cardiff-based marketing agency share what they’ve learnt in the weeks since they closed their office doors following government guidance.
Last year, we wrote about their efforts to make mental health a priority, and since then the marketing firm has won a prestigious HR Award and been shortlisted as the UK’s ‘Best Company to Work For’. So, it’s no surprise that their supportive efforts have successful translated into remote working.
“A main company value of ours is Unity, so we knew it was imperative to promote such a strong sense of togetherness throughout this entire situation” says Emily Webb, HR Manager at Liberty Marketing.
“We have actively worked to ensure the well-being of our staff has been our biggest priority, and this week during MHAW it has really shone through. There is no stigma around mental health at Liberty, and that is a difficult barrier to overcome in any workplace, but as a business and a workforce, it really has been accepted and embraced and I couldn’t be prouder of that.”
But lockdown has had its difficulties. Everyone faces different situations working from home. Team members have children, pets, and some are without a desk space or comfortable chair. There’s been talk of anxiety, panic attacks, sadness and sickness having been some of the battles Liberty’s team has faced – and we’re sure they’re not alone.
“When the UK lockdown was announced,” Emily continues, “we had no idea what the outcome would be on the business. Therefore, as a priority we put in place increased support with a 24/7 assistance programme where staff can confidentially contact qualified advisors if they are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed and don’t wish to speak to colleagues or their managers about the situation.”
In addition, Liberty have heavily encouraged “coffee catch-ups” in their virtual kitchen just like they would’ve done at the office while making a brew, they’re hosting regular quizzes and fun games to maintain their celebrated company culture.
Randomly assign your employees/colleagues another person (that they’re familiar with!) and have them draw that person onto an egg. Then, collect all the drawings and challenge everyone to guess which egg is who. If you want to take it a step further, have everyone guess whose drawing is whose too.
Liberty recognised early on that they needed to maintain a sense of togetherness and to keep alive the feeling of being one big family with their company values at its core.
It’s why they’ve also maintained their ‘Wins of the Week’ initiative and celebrated their greatest successes with JustEat and UberEats gift cards, bringing everyone together through the medium of food to celebrate.
And now, nine weeks later, they’re reflecting on their successes.
Office desks and chairs have been collected from the office by some, parents have flexibility to work when it suits them, and the quality of work being delivered hasn’t been impacted.
“Despite everything, there has been an increase in productivity since lockdown began. We’re so proud of our team for consistently delivering excellent standards of work. Our teams work incredibly hard, so it is only right that they have the absolute support that they need when it comes to their well-being. For well over a year now we have been actively promoting positive mental well-being in the workplace, incorporating it into the fabric of the way that we work, and our culture” says Emily.
So, to build on this and to encourage positive wellbeing this week, Liberty are supporting the Mental Health Foundation’s plea for ‘Kindness’. Research shows that kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships too.
“We have an incredible team of unofficial Mental Health Ambassadors at Liberty, that have worked to ensure a collective sense of inclusiveness and kindness across the entire agency. Amongst many other things, they have organised, quizzes, a bake-along, a wellness walk, lunch-time yoga, Breakfast clubs- the list really does go on.”
Therefore, if you want to sustain a company’s culture remotely whilst promoting positive mental health, focus on kindness and unity.
Some of Liberty Marketing’s Mental Health and Wellbeing initiatives are:
- Encouraging coffee catch-ups in a virtual kitchen.
- Hosted virtual games, quizzes and murder mystery parties.
- Celebrating successes, no matter how small.
- Encourage staff to make time for themselves with wellness walks, yoga or enjoying one of their hobbies – like baking.
- If possible, provide a small “desk-space” allowance for staff to get comfortable at home.