In recent months, many things have changed. There are now restrictions on where you can go, what you can do and when you can do it. Coronavirus has changed the way that we live our lives, including the way we work. Like the majority of businesses across the UK, we have swiftly adapted to home working, with kitchens turning into break rooms and living rooms turning into home offices. Despite this very easy commute for the new home worker and the opportunity for increased flexibility in working styles, these changes have also had some negative impacts.
According to the CIPD, 44% of work-related ill health this year has been due to stress, depression or anxiety (CIPD, 2020). This isn’t something that should be taken lightly and so, at Man Bites Dog, we recently hosted a Virtual Health and Happiness Day. The day gave the team the opportunity to switch on their out of office, and switch off their stresses with some scheduled time to look after ourselves.
It began with secret packages being delivered to the homes of all the Dogs the night before. We felt like children on Christmas Eve, waiting at the door for gifts to arrive. The mystery parcels contained a schedule for the next day's activities, face masks and essential oils to kick off the calming process that night, flowers, and a few other treats including an incredible food parcel for lunch the next day. I took some time to read through the agenda on Thursday evening and it was amazing to find two hours set aside for exercise first thing, with the only condition being to send pictures to the rest of the team. Jade, our Senior Copywriter, took her dog for a windy seafront walk and Ally, a Divisional Director, shared photos of a home workout. One of our Consultants Gina teamed up with one of our Executives Ellie, to do a yoga and balance class. It was great to see what everyone got up to in the morning, being given the gift of time to work out and release some endorphins.
Our first team session of the day was a Happy Heads Meditation & Emotional Freedom Technique workshop with Kim (@happyheads.me). This workshop taught us how to meditate and reset different areas of our brain. We learnt to balance the logical parts of our brains with the emotional, restoring balance. We also learnt about the prefrontal cortex and amygdala and how we can mollify our instinctive reactions to situations. A lot of us admitted that meditation and mindfulness wasn’t something that we had given much time to before, so having a dedicated hour to practise was very beneficial – and something that I have tried to incorporate into my daily routine.
We then broke for lunch, tucking into a delicious graze box from Flying Saucer (find them at the Brighton Open Market). It was great to be able to support other local businesses all at the same time – especially by eating cake.
Afterwards, we had a session with Sanderson Jones – a comedian, keynote speaker and social entrepreneur – to discuss working from home and how to feel more connected. We brainstormed different ways that the team can socialise and stay connected while adhering to new government guidelines and being safe. Popular ideas included organising walks, starting a book club or even just grabbing a cake on a Friday lunchtime. Sanderson demonstrated how these ideas don't have to be big or crazy to boost morale and contribute to company culture.
We finished the day with a session from our CEO, Claire Mason, to discuss the progress we’ve made as a company over the past year: what we have achieved, the new members of the pack that have joined us, and reflected on how the business has adapted in the face of a global pandemic. Meetings are now Zoom calls, and emails and Slack messages are now our primary form of communication. However, we have stuck together as a business, supporting each other through house moves, childcare and absent family and friends. It is great to work for a business that looks after each other and prioritises health and wellbeing, as well as delivering world-class work.
Thank you MBD family.