Having an interest in health and wellbeing both at work and at home, I was really pleased when Whistle encouraged me to attend the first CIPR Midlands Mental Health Awareness in PR workshop in February 2020.
It might not be something that everyone would look forward to attending but with an increasing awareness in my own life of the importance of work/life balance I felt it was the perfect opportunity to upskill and also come back and share the knowledge with the team.
Whistle as an employer is very committed to the health and wellbeing of its staff (see blog here from our Director, Claire Gething) which is especially important in a sector where PRCA research has shown that 60% of PR and communications practitioners have experienced mental ill-health.
Already, Whistle invests in regular wellbeing training, encourages regular 121s and buddy schemes for new starters, and provides flexible working and a ‘Beat the Commute’ grace period on Mondays and Fridays to help curate a great work environment for employees. However, as a business we realise there’s always scope to do more.
My remit in attending the event then was to learn new practices which I might be able to implement at Whistle which could have an impact on the wellbeing of my colleagues and team members – and that’s a huge motivation.
The event certainly didn’t disappoint. It proved to be an excellent balance between input on mental health from our trainer Lisa Whittleton from Illuminate VR, the sharing of best practice from other agency/in house practitioners who uniquely understand the particular pressures of the PR world and also getting the opportunity to practice skills that I could take away to use both at work and at home.
Key learnings included the importance of managers having regular times to sit down with their team and talk about how both their work life and home life is going using tools such as the MHFA stress container and Stephen Covey’s ‘Circle of Influence.’ This will all now be fed into our Whistle line manager toolkit.
My commitment now to both myself personally and the Whistle team is to ensure that the lessons learned are not forgotten. After all, it’s only through talking with each other, sharing best practice and working as a team that we can help individuals flourish and achieve our full potential in our very busy PR world. And surely that’s worth a wellbeing strategy done well?
Claire Saltmarshe is Office Manager at Whistle PR which offers a range of integrated communications services including strategic consultancy, PR, social media, community engagement, internal communications and issues management. For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.