Mental health matters

Mental health matters

Throughout our 15-year history, we have always been a people-centric organisation.

Our team and their families share in our success. Our colleagues make Altus what it is so we work hard to give them the support they need not only to excel, but also to enjoy their work. After all, we spend a lot of our awake time at work, and when people enjoy what they do, they are happier and perform better. Simple really…

We don’t stop there however, as happiness at work relies on a lot of different factors. So we try to encourage everyone to stay mentally and physically healthy, whether that’s providing flu jabs or fruit baskets in the office. Looking after the wellbeing of everyone is our priority. We have created a dedicated wellbeing page on our intranet, which lists websites and apps to address the six areas of wellbeing: emotional, physical, intellectual, financial, spiritual and environmental. For over a year now we have had monthly health & wellbeing surveys, so everyone has the opportunity to tell us how they are feeling, whether it’s work-related or not. This feeds into incentives and ideas that our team of Health & Wellbeing Champions put together. Our Champions are also there to support employees and are able to signpost to services if their colleagues need additional help.

We live in a beautiful part of the country and we are proud of our local community. We are passionate about helping them and giving something back. Over the last couple of pre-COVID years we have provided teams of volunteers to support a number of local organisations, most recently with stewarding at the COVID Vaccine Centre. But we also support a number of local charities, especially Forever Friends who are the beneficiary of our annual charity golf days where all the proceeds have gone to support the Children’s Ward at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.

Lockdown has brought many challenges and we have continued to look after the wellbeing of everyone while we all work remotely. We want to protect the collaborative team spirit that we have enjoyed all those years; it is part of our identity.  We also want to ensure home work stations are safe, and we are supporting vulnerable households and those balancing home-schooling alongside their working day. We recognise that everyone’s experience and needs in lockdown are unique so we have worked to help the team as individuals. We have also organised group activities so that our colleagues can socialise outside of their household, such as monthly virtual social events and online classes. We are also encouraging break-time away from our screens: we have introduced walking meetings, and challenged the team to go outside and send pictures of the scenery that surrounds them.

Winter can be a difficult time for the wellbeing and mental health of people. And in lockdown, we were only too aware that things would be even more difficult. So when the clocks went back last year, we sent out Winter wellbeing packs which included Vitamin D tablets, hot drink sachets, warm socks and a newsletter packed with tips to tackle the short days and cold weather. Thankfully now the weather is improving so this week’s challenge of photographing the signs of Spring will give us a chance to enjoy some much needed sunshine!

 We were also extremely fortunate to be able to partner with Bath Mind over the last 12 months. Their support has been invaluable, providing training courses for the team and line managers on mental health and nutrition. We are also financing private counselling sessions through the charity, and if any of our team need them, they can self-refer for this confidential service.

 Hopefully, we are now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel after an uncertain 12 months. But we are very conscious that this new chapter will bring with it a new anxiety, as we all learn to live a new post-Covid life. And here again, we want to help our team go through this new phase of uncertainty. We have arranged for a team training course focusing on resilience, helping our team come to terms with the emotional rollercoaster we’ve been on and their reaction to it, and challenging ourselves to face what’s coming in the months ahead.

We will continue to support the team whichever way we can, as and when we slowly make steps to emerge outside again.

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