Mental health issues can affect anyone at any time and at Opus we have a collective belief that looking after the mental health of our staff and their families is a responsibility for us all – not just during this campaign or during the COVID pandemic, but as part of our business as usual approach.
Mental Health Awareness week takes place this year between 18 – 24 May. The campaign, founded by the Mental Health Foundation this year centres around the theme of kindness in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Mental Health Foundation says: “One thing that we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times. We have learnt that amid the fear, there is also community, support and hope.”
Supporting colleagues during COVID 19
When the Government announced lockdown back in March, we had already been preparing for a new ‘work from home’ normal to ensure that everyone at Opus was well prepared.
Although we were very prepared none of us knew then how we would likely feel each week as the reality of not seeing colleagues and friends set in. We have been blown away by everyone’s attitude here at Opus, the hard work that has been put in and the willingness to support each other professionally and personally has been amazing. We’ve continued to work hard, support each other virtually and we’ve also had some fun along the way.
Virtual Get Togethers
Our virtual ‘get togethers’ have been a highlight of the week, seeing so many familiar faces all on one screen has brought with it a tremendous sense of togetherness and support for each other. We’ve used these opportunities to ensure that not only is everyone kept abreast of what is happening in the business but also to socialise with each other.
Particular highlights have been all company fancy dress and crazy hair updates, virtual drinks and quizzes and buying in a takeaway lunch of choice with the bill on Opus!
We have the technology
As a technology company we have been embracing the tech we sell to our customers. Video meetings and catch ups using our Microsoft Teams, Mitel Meetings and 8×8 Video solution have become the norm and seeing our colleagues face to face to talk through business has meant we feel connected and empowered for business as usual.
We also launched the Microsoft Yammer (part of Office 365 suite) internally as a social network to connect in a more informal way. We’ve been busy sharing pictures, tips, ideas and experiences like our top films to watch over the Easter bank holiday and a ‘Guess the baby’ challenge which certainly had many perplexed!
Getting the kids involved
Many of us have had to adapt to having the children around, managing how we support them with their schoolwork and play whilst continuing to work ourselves. Virtual team video meetings have been an opportunity for us to say a quick hello to some of our colleague’s children which we’ve really enjoyed. We also got our children involved in helping to say a huge thank you to the wonderful NHS workers by creating their own posters.
Sharing hints and tips
We’ve also shared some hints and tips during this time with blog posts on our website and across our social media networks to try and inspire people with information on how to exercise well at home and a simple A-Z guide on keeping well during Coronavirus all based on our own experiences.
Supporting each other with kindness
Despite some of the hardships that coronavirus brings, there is definitely a sense that ‘kindness’ is starting to win through. There are so many ways that businesses can get involved in to show kindness to one another, and not just during Mental Health Awareness week, here are a few of our ideas:
- Video call a colleague just to check in and not talk business
- Invite a colleague for a virtual cuppa or a virtual lunch
- Send an e-card or gift to someone you know would appreciate it
- Notice if someone isn’t themselves and take the time to ask how they are
- Get the team to share photos of what they’ve done at the weekend