Wellbeing and Working from Home

During the COVID-19 pandemic, wellbeing is more important than ever, and at MarineSpace we recognise this, and have been encouraging staff to look after their mental wellbeing in such difficult times. The wellbeing of MarineSpace staff is a priority for the company, and the company recognises that the functioning and success of each member of our team, underpins the functioning and success of the company as a whole.

For some, remote working is something that they are used to, or something they prefer, however for others the shift to working from home has not been so easy. With reported stress levels and mental health issues increasing during the last year, it is crucial for companies, and individuals, to be pro‑active when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.

The implementation of the MarineSpace, virtual, twice daily coffee breaks has become an integral part of the day, where staff are encouraged to make use of this set time for a ‘non-work’ catchup. This has been shown to improve team morale, and has been especially important for new members of the team, when starting a new role remotely, to get to know their colleagues.

MarineSpace also operates flexible working hours, that allow staff to balance the requirements of their role within the team whilst, importantly, allowing flexibility in working patterns to meet their individual needs. This has been especially important at a time when many of the team are trying to juggle work and home-schooling.

In order to get a better understanding of our staff’s wellbeing, MarineSpace has undertaken 2 Wellbeing Surveys, over the past year. The overall results of the surveys were very positive, and there were lots of positive and constructive comments. The surveys also highlighted some areas that could be improved, which will be actioned accordingly. Ensuring the continued wellbeing of our staff is an iterative process, but one that MarineSpace is fully committed to.

Resources to help with mental wellbeing:

A BBC news article Coronavirus: How to be happier while working from home provides some useful advice for homeworking.

The key take home messages from the article are listed below:

  • Sunlight – try to work near a window, sunlight prompts the brain to produce serotonin which helps to boost your mood and decrease anxiety;
  • Shut out noise which may become distracting, particularly loud noises which have been linked to distress signals sent to the brain;
  • Keep your work space tidy, a messy work are may lead to overstimulation and increased stress levels;
  • Stand up/stretch/moveexercise has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress and boost your mood and wellbeing through the release of endorphins;
  • House Plants to enhance your mood. Nature is associated with relaxation which can help to boost your mood. Looking at natural objects, such as house plants when feeling stressed, can give your brain a break by changing your focus onto something else (known as ‘attention restoration’);
  • Socialise in person, meet someone to go out for a walk on a lunch break (where Regulations allow) and give yourself a break from the virtual world;
  • Nature is proven to increase your mental wellbeing, so schedule in regular breaks and get outside for a quick walk.

MarineSpace works closely with the British Marine Aggregates Producers Association (BMAPA), which is part of the Mineral Products Association (MPA). The MPA has put together some useful resources on mental health and wellbeing including guides for managers and employers on recognising wellbeing issues in yourself, or others around you. The MPA also provides a comprehensive list of resources for support services which can be contacted when you need advice or support, or just somebody to talk to.

Other valuable resources are available from Mind, a mental health charity providing support and advice, and raising awareness for anyone dealing with mental health problems. The charity has developed Wellness Action Plans for working from home, one specifically for line managers and employees. Click here to download your own Wellness Action Plan.

Headspace also offers guided meditations and exercises available for free for employers and their employees to support workplaces through stress and anxiety related to COVID-19.

MarineSpace staff enjoying a virtual coffee break.