Mental Health Awareness Week — how we make it a focus all year round

mental health awareness

spottydog pup Emily Wardle talks about the benefits of working for a PR agency that puts mental wellbeing first and offers some top tips for employers to consider.

Tapping away on the keyboard, with my head in a meaty piece of client work, I notice tapping of another kind on the back of my leg. As I look down to my left, Ron — my 7-month-old Dachshund — is sitting there looking rather adorable. He gives me the ‘look’ and a little whimper for good measure. ‘OK, OK I know it’s 12.30pm — let’s go then,’ I tell him.

The sound of the laptop lid closing shut is a trigger for him and his furry brother, Harry. They know they have my attention for the next half hour. Spinning and leaping with joy, we head out the side gate and into the meadows opposite our house. Ah, fresh air!

Mental Health Awareness Week

While Mental Health Awareness Week is a brilliant opportunity to talk about the importance of staff wellbeing and how great it is to be able to go out with the dog for a lunch time walk, at spottydog we know it’s so much more than that.

For us, ‘mental health’ is not just a buzzword and something that we are talking about because it’s trending on Twitter and Google. It’s because, as an employer, spottydog lives, breathes, and understands the importance of supporting our team.

Our motto is ‘best of breed communications delivered by pedigree people’ and how can we deliver this unless our team’s wellbeing is our priority? Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity to step back, think, and open our eyes to the ways we can help ourselves and the people around us.

How to support mental health at work

Whether you’re working from home, or back in the office, here are some takeaway tips that can be considered all year round:

  • Get moving — nowadays this is taking a walk at lunch for me. But when I think back to before lockdown, we were always encouraged to take our bums off the office seats and spend our lunch break doing something that we enjoy. Whether that’s grabbing a favourite Pret baguette and being hassled by the local pigeons in Birmingham’s city-centre parks (in my case) or taking a wander through the nearby shopping centre in search of some lunchtime bargains. We shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time away from the screen.
  • Lunch areas — ‘No food at desks’ sounds pretty harsh, but this policy isn’t about taking our favourite snacks and food away from us. But having a real excuse to step away from the laptop and move to the lunchroom to have general chit chat with our colleagues is actually a clever move by the spottydog team. I’ll admit that this self-discipline isn’t always so easy at home, and not always easy for everyone to achieve, but something we should all consider.
  • Teamwork — when lockdown hit in March 2020, we jumped at the opportunity to take part in Birmingham Dogs Home’s Take the Lead initiative. We worked together to walk one million steps to raise funds for homeless dogs (we’re a competitive bunch here so this definitely appealed to us!). We were helping our minds and bodies without even really realising it.
  • Keep talking — while we’re at home, the spottydog team has found that having regular, scheduled virtual get-togethers is really important. Every Wednesday afternoon, we each take it in turn to create a fun challenge for the rest of the team to join. It can be as simple as sharing pictures and discussing interesting things we’ve found or spotted on our walks that week. And, it’s amazing how much you find out about each other and the conversations it leads to.

As I close the laptop lid tonight, my priority will turn to giving the dogs their dinner (yep, more spinning and leaping from them) and heading down to the stables to tend to my horse. Having the healthy work/life balance is so easily neglected, but certainly should be top of the agenda for employers.

What have you found helps you stay happy and productive in the workplace? Let us know on our social channels @spottydogcomms — we’d love to hear from you!

 

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