It is key for us to look after our staff and to be open to any conversation which may be work related or external to our four walls. So, as a part of Mental Health Awareness Week which falls on Monday 15 May to Sunday 21 May, we want to share what the BDC does to support our team, and shine a light on the importance of mental wellbeing and wellness in the workplace and beyond.
BDC invited senior yoga teacher, Katrina Kurdy, to host yoga classes for staff weekly. Yoga has a number of physical and mental benefits, including stress relief, improving mental health and sleeping patterns, reducing anxiety, increasing strength and productivity and a general advancement in the quality of life. The wellness activity also helps with developing awareness for your breathing patterns.
While it was the first time for the majority of our team trying yoga, we are happy to hear the benefits it has already had individually, and we will continue to encourage weekly participation, allowing staff to take some time away from their desks, computers and phones.
Subscriptions and Talking Therapies
We also offer yearly subscriptions to the Headspace or Calm Apps for the team, both of which use guided meditation exercises and mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness meditation consists of sitting in quiet and focusing on the self; specifically paying attention to thoughts, sounds, your breathing. In addition to this, BDC also offers mental health support and advice through two health providers, which are available to staff at any time. As well as this, a 24/7 counselling helpline with a qualified counsellor is on hand for staff if they require professional support.
All of the above are regularly communicated to staff to remind all of what is readily available to them, should they which to access it.
BDC Quiet Room
BDC recently renovated a new staff room to become a calm and inviting space which staff can utilise when needing a break from their desk, now called our “Quiet Room”. The room was decorated with bright-coloured sofas and plants, ensuring natural daylight , as these elements are shown to enhance an individual’s mental mental health.
BDC New Talent Group
While we are proud to have very high staff retention at the venue with many members of our team being here for well over five years (some more than twenty) we have also welcome a number of new graduates over the last couple of years. From this cohort, we created the BDC’s New Talent Group, which aims to hear from some of our newer members of staff and pick up on fresh ideas to improve current operations at the BDC. A huge part of this is generating ideas to improve mental wellbeing, and one of these was renovating our staff room into a Quiet Room mentioned above.
It is absolutely pivotal that we listen to and recognise the needs and thoughts of our staff, and we are happy to have taken on the New Talent Group as a voice of development for the company.
Mental Heath First Aiders On Site
Over half of the team at BDC are trained as Mental Health First Aiders, who are available should staff ever feel in need of help or support. We encourage all to approach our mental health first aiders if they would like to talk at any time, be it personal or otherwise, with support or signposting in a confidential manner.
Refresher training takes place for these first aiders, ensuring that they are up to speed and reminded of the important role they play in the support of all venue users – not just staff.
One of our favourite visitors to the BDC is Suzi, who has been coming to the BDC for many years. Seeing her popularity, we now welcome her on a monthly basis for staff to have chair massages. Suzi from The Vital Touch coming onsite to provide massages, benefits an individual’s wellness. Multiple studies propose that massages help to improve symptoms of anxiety while encouraging relaxation.