As part of our new series of interviews with those carrying out sterling work in the employee wellbeing space, we were delighted to talk to Kasia Kuchnicka from the Royal Albert Hall. Kasia is a key member of the Hall’s Wellbeing Network and the prestigious venue recently gained with Achievement status from the London Healthy Workplace Award. This higher level status is only bestowed to organisations  that have a more advanced and comprehensive approach to employee wellbeing.

 

SWW: You have a prominent role within employee wellbeing at the Royal Albert Hall; how did that start? 

Kasia Kuchnicka: Previous to the Wellbeing Network I was representing my team in the Staff Forum at the Hall. This is a platform where employees from all levels of the organisation are able to voice their concerns and ideas directly with the Executive team. Back in 2018 one of the suggestions that came out of the forum was that the Hall should look into supporting people’s health and wellbeing more holistically. This is how the Wellbeing Network began and I was involved in the initiative from the very beginning. Over the years we have grown so much, and I’m very proud to say that thanks to our efforts wellbeing has become a central pillar of the Hall’s next business plan 2022-2026. 

 

Kasia Kuchnicka

Since being part of the Wellbeing Network, what has given you the most satisfaction? 

KK: Being able to observe how small actions make a huge impact on different teams, but also seeing people smile (never fails to warm my heart).

 

Did you run any initiatives / activities during lockdowns? If so, what were they? 

KK: Yes, we had quite a few, actually:

  • One of the most impactful were the ‘10-minute stretch at your desk’ sessions that we ran every morning. This was mainly set up for those working from home, but it was also popular with furloughed staff (in the end we managed to run 300 sessions!)
  • We also started our own Wellbeing Newsletter. To this day, it is a great platform to keep all the teams connected, and inspired. 
  • What seemed to keep everyone going (literally) was a couple of step challenges that were set up during the winter months. They were very popular, and got everyone moving! 
  • For Men’s Health Week we produced six short video interviews with different men from around the Hall talking about their health and wellbeing. They were a lovely and gentle reminders for men to think about their own wellbeing journeys.
  • Throughout this time we also ran 10 webinars on different wellbeing topics (anything from nutrition, back care and eye care to financial wellbeing) and 3 online quizzes

 

When it comes to your own wellbeing, what are your non-negotiables / must do activities that you turn to maintain your wellbeing?

KK: I’m a professional musician, so listening to music is the balm for my soul, and an essential part of my existence. I also cannot imagine life without tea! What has become a little ritual for me every day is having a cup of green tea with a handful of goji berries (it might be a placebo, but I truly believe this is the reason I haven’t had a cold for over 5 years!) In addition, I love spending time in nature, so I make sure to spend some time outdoors at least once a week. Lastly, I ensure to make my bed every morning.

 

How do these activities make you feel personally? 

KK: I feel healthier, happier and calmer. And a great thing about them is that you can do them alone, or with others (depending on your needs). And if the day didn’t go well, at least I have a tidy bed to go back to.

 

Finally, if you had to give one piece of advice to someone who wants to get involved in employee wellbeing at work, what would it be? 

KK: Choosing only one is hard, but I guess I would say: you will not achieve much unless you have a ‘buy-in’ from the top, so work with your executive team to ensure that everyone is on board. Also, do your research – find out who your ‘audience’ is, and what their needs are before rolling out any initiatives.