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Staff blog: Amanda Evans – Championing workplace wellbeing during COVID-19

This blog was originally posted on the Time to Change Wales website. To see the original post, click here.

The most successful well-being initiatives are the ones that are proudly owned and driven from the ground up.

I work at the office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, based in Swansea. We’re a small team of dedicated individuals committed to promoting, championing and protecting children’s rights in Wales.

Whilst Team Wellbeing sits within my work portfolio as Human Resources Manager I really have no idea what I would do without my band of Wellbeing Warriors; staff members from across the organisation who have a keen interest in workplace wellbeing and who genuinely care for their colleagues. On top of their day jobs, this motivated bunch of people drive fabulous initiatives, positivity and cheer to their colleagues and prove to me that the most successful people management and wellbeing initiatives are the ones that are proudly owned and driven from the ground up.

COVID 19 and Lockdown has only enabled our team of Wellbeing Warriors to rise to the challenge even more.

Without prompting our champs are circulating amazing ideas from their networks to help support the adjustment to full time homeworking. It’s obvious from the reach and quality of the articles shared that they each have a keen personal interest in health and wellbeing.

The Warriors have decided to meet more frequently during lockdown to share ideas and softly monitor the health of the wider Team.

They have initiated a Buddy system that means everyone in the Team has someone from a different work area checking in on them regularly, sharing stories, sharing problems and getting to know each other.

They have designed a set of Wellbeing challenges that are communicated to the wider Team each Monday. These challenges change each week but have included encouraging people to share photos from their daily walk/run, encouraging people to tell others about a new skill developed during lockdown, asking colleagues to write down their thoughts about what they miss most in lockdown and many many more ideas.

And they have adapted the Staff Shout Out Board, which was a physical initiative in the office to a virtual one. Our staff intranet now hosts a document where colleagues can ‘shout out’ to another member of staff thanking them for their help or to generally show appreciation to each other.

We have also adapted our Monday morning FIKA session (Swedish tradition of taking coffee and cake with friends) to a virtual meeting space. A round up of the previous week’s challenges and people’s contributions shared by a pair of particularly creative Warriors, is often the source of much interest and applause.

All in all, in addition to a well-established formal Line Management structure these well designed and targeted initiatives have really helped to make the transition to fully remote working a wonderful success story for my Team. If you would like to see the list of our challenges or our Buddy system please get in touch, we would be happy to share.