The third part of our series of Q&As with those leading the way with employee wellbeing, sees Katy Sharpe from Guerillascope supplying the answers. Katy is the Managing Director at the full service media agency and is actively involved in its employee mental health and wellbeing focus.
SWW: Can you describe any initiatives Guerillascope is running to boost employee wellbeing? If so, what are some of your favourites?
Katy Sharpe: There are various wellbeing initiatives we implement to encourage healthy lifestyle habits, whether it’s allowing longer lunch breaks for exercise, running a cycle to work scheme or facilitating discounted gym memberships through our comprehensive health cover. We also run free monthly meditation sessions with Rachael at the Happy Habits Club, as well as in-house yoga classes. I’m a fan of them all.
The pandemic has been a difficult time for employees. How did Guerillascope help look after staff wellbeing during this period, particularly during the lockdowns?
KS: We understood the impact that multiple lockdowns had on our employees’ mental health; many within our team were isolated during these times, so it was a challenge. One way we kept spirits high was with regular online catch ups, quizzes and events such as virtual wine tasting, an escape room and a comedy night. We also sent our staff ‘care hampers’, including dressing gowns, toiletries and snacks. These small gestures were a regular reminder to every individual member of the team that they were being thought of and remained important to us.
I see you are a Mental Health First Aider. Are there other MHFAs at the company and is the training something you would encourage other businesses to invest in?
KS: We currently have six Mental Health First Aiders within the organisation; it is a company objective to ensure that 75% of the team are fully trained by the end of 2022. Businesses are ultimately groups of people – with nobody immune to potential issues. I would therefore recommend every business ensures it completely understands the importance of communication; of removing the stigma around mental health. Our aim is to make Guerillascope a safe and open space for these conversations – there can be no better investment.
Are there any new wellbeing initiatives your team are looking to implement this year?
KS: We’re currently reviewing our mental health policy and are looking to join up with Self Space as a means of providing quality one-on-one support. We’ve also developed a new initiative whereby if a member of staff is feeling stressed or at a low ebb, they can email their line manager simply with the words ‘handle with care’. This will immediately signify the need for space with no questions asked, though there is always an opportunity to chat with confidentiality too.
When it comes to your own wellbeing, what are your non-negotiables / must do activities that you do to maintain your wellbeing?
KS: Personally, I always feel better when I’ve done something active; getting away from the computer and taking even 15 minutes for myself can completely reset my mind. I also love to spend time with my family, so a good work/life balance is essential.
How do these activities make you feel personally?
KS: They can often put everything into perspective.
Katy wrote a great piece about Time to Talk Day in 2020 on LinkedIn, which is still very relevant in 2022. You can have a read of it here.