In May we began a new internal health and wellbeing project that aimed to use the tools and methods we use in our day-to-day work to ensure that the Uscreates team is increasingly healthy and happy. During May we focused on mental health, introducing four changes: we clarified the remote working policy; encouraged the team to book lunchtime into their diary to ensure an hour in the middle of the day is always protected; researched how we could reduce the volume and length of meetings, encouraging snappy standing scrums where possible; and we introduced an email ban that restricted emails to between 7am and 7pm on working days. Click here to read more about what we did.
We had a phenomenally positive response from the Uscreatures and have had feedback that the team are less stressed and have re-established their work-life balance, knowing they can check out when they head home and aren’t expected to be responsive out of hours. Emails are also contained to the working day, which means we start the working week at the same place we finished on Friday, not 50 emails in at 9am on Monday morning. We have also noticed that almost always, everyone has left the office by 6:30pm, which has contributed to the increased wellbeing of the team.
Encouraged by the uptake and compliance of these changes we used our existing insights and research from the team to inform four more changes for June, this time focused on physical health.
Our changes that month:
- Ergonomics research resulting in lots of new screens and improved work stations to encourage better posture and protect eyesight
- Regular activities and sporting events – a team run on Wednesday lunch times; attending a Tuesday evening yoga class held in our building breakout space; in April five team members participated in The Hackney Half which has inspired twelve of our team to sign up for the London Triathlon in August. We have entered four teams to participate including four of our directors and our chairman. We bought a badminton set and boules to play in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens during summer lunchtimes and after work.
- Encouraging and promoting healthy travel to work, including promoting our cycle to work scheme and encouraging the team to get off a tube/train/bus stop earlier and walking a little further to the office.
- We introduced a step count challenge, to stimulate a little healthy competition between us and to try to combat sitting time at work, setting a base count at the beginning of the month and tracking improvements week by week on a chart on a studio wall.
We had a few other ideas and suggestions, such as standing desks, that we couldn’t incorporate into our current studio space, however we will be including these in our plans for our new studio space, and implementing them when we move later in the year.
In parallel to this work, we have been looking into awards and accreditations that supports our project. One that has now been confirmed is our accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation, a truly important movement aiming to ensure everyone has an acceptable standard of living. We are proud to support the London Living Wage because we believe everyone, no matter what their job, deserves to live a good life in this very expensive city.
If you would like to talk to us about this project, get in touch with our internal wellbeing champions, Hannah Pinnock email@example.com and Francesca Cook firstname.lastname@example.org