Supporting our team’s well-being under lockdown
When we first heard about the Covid-19 virus, very few people thought it would lead to a year of restrictions, difficulties and a completely ‘new normal’.
Humans are sociable creatures and Arca Blanca is a company that cherishes the community spirit needed to find innovative solutions to our client’s needs. At first, the idea of moving to complete remote working seemed like it would be a real test of our core values.
But as ‘experts in uncertainty’ we soon realised this change was not something to fear but embrace. Cognisant of the burn-out culture synonymous with consulting, we have always made employee well-being a priority, for example providing an annual monetary benefit for employees and their families.
Creating a sense of community and togetherness
In the year since lockdown started, Arca Blanca’s headcount doubled. It was vital we acted quickly and made meaningful changes to our hiring and onboarding processes to avoid a dilution of our treasured company culture. Our leadership team put a high priority on building a strong sense of community and togetherness, ensuring each new team member felt valued and connected, especially because they had been hired and onboarded remotely.
This came in the form of informal ‘watercooler’ chats, virtual games nights, and a regular ‘Social Drinkstancing’ evening. Each event was aimed at getting to know each other, building more personal relationships with colleagues and regularly checking in on one another.
The pandemic allowed us to accelerate our efforts in this space. Arca Blanca decided to commit financial and human resources to launch a well-being programme, as well as activities to keep team spirit high.
The Well-being Programme
We soon realised that remote get-togethers and perks had to be part of a broader focus, to find a way of designing a more ingrained approach to building, nurturing and growing a team in remote working settings.
Knowing that one size does not fit all, we opted for a five-week programme covering a different topic each week. It included team activities, individual challenges and education pieces to generate interest and engagement.
We wanted to develop our employee’s ability to ‘check-in with themselves’ – to know how they were feeling and equip them with tools they could draw on to build a better sense of well-being in an increasingly difficult situation.
- Week One – Exercise: Studies show that moving our bodies regularly significantly reduces depressive symptoms while improving mood and concentration, alongside all the physical health benefits. We introduced a little healthy competition by asking our employees to track how far they travelled each week whether running, walking or cycling which we reported at the end of the week on our company-wide business call.
- Week Two – Mindfulness: We showed how effective being centred and grounded in the present moment can be at controlling worry and anxiety. We utilised innovative technology to teach optimal breathing patterns and give employees a wearable they could use anytime, anywhere.
- Week Three – Nutrition & Hydration: While many recognise the physical benefits of a healthy diet, harnessing that food-to-mood connection can be a powerful tool.
- Week Four – Nature: We encouraged our team to enjoy their surroundings, encouraging time away from our desks and limiting screen-time. We suggested taking a call each day outside and asked them to share photos of nature where they live.
- Week Five – Sleep: The stresses created by Covid-19 and remote working can have a huge impact on the amount and quality of our sleep. This can create a domino effect on almost all aspects of life; our mood, the ability to function properly and our general health. We offered an evening relaxation session and a sleep tip each day to help individuals think about their habits and routines.
To supplement the programme, all employees were sent a well-being box containing items aligned to each of the key topics including a sleep aid, mindfulness book and healthy snacks.
The situation has changed continuously over the last 12 months and we have all had to adapt accordingly. Arca Blanca by no means has it all covered but by putting our people first with a clear focus on how best to support each other we know that we will be in the strongest position to face the challenges ahead.
About Arca Blanca
Arca Blanca is an integrated consulting and data company, resolving complex growth and profitability challenges. We help businesses of all types thrive in the face of unprecedented change and upheaval driven by new technologies.
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