Written on 15 March, 2022

Conversations around mental health have increased in recent years and it’s now widely recognised that positive mental health is just as essential to our wellbeing as our physical health. The events of the past few years with the COVID-19 pandemic and a shift to fully remote or hybrid working have made this even more relevant. Increased anxiety caused by current events and feelings of isolation due to remote working need to be counteracted to prevent them having a negative impact on our mental health.

Supporting mental health at Surrey Translation Bureau (STB)

At STB we are proud to have open conversations about mental health and to support our employees’ mental wellbeing. We regularly send staff on mental health training courses and we have two in-house Mental Health First-Aid Champions. Our team also have access to an Employee Assistance Programme, through which they can seek free and confidential advice on work and personal issues alike.

Throughout the recent period of remote working due to the pandemic, STB emphasised the importance of regular communication and meetings, and held initiatives to keep staff morale high with drop-in online coffee breaks, remote baking challenges, photo campaigns that drove team engagement and even a remote Christmas quiz. The team were supported in completing remote working and return to work wellness action plans, and managers listened carefully to any thoughts and concerns via targeted employee satisfaction surveys. Once we returned to the office, team leaders were encouraged to organise team building activities as a means of strengthening team relationships and getting to know newer team members after the long run of remote working.

Positively purple

Following in the footsteps of previous STB events to support our own mental health and that of the freelance linguists we work with, in March, we ran a series of activities to promote positive mental health. These events tied in with the excellent initiatives run by two fantastic organisations – Woking Mind’s #positivelypurple day on Friday 18th March and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England’s My Whole Self Day, also on Friday 18th March.

Purple was very much in evidence in the STB offices for an entire week, with #positivelypurple clothing and bakes, and a #positivelypurple board, where staff shared positive words of encouragement for one another. Crafting has been shown to reduce stress levels and have a positive impact on mental health, so two of our colleagues ran daily lunchtime crafting sessions for staff to attend in person and online. These included origami flowers and stars, cross-stitch projects and tassel keyrings. We really enjoyed taking a break together and sharing a conversation while doing these mindful activities. As a bonus, the STB office looked very colourful!

For the MHFA My Whole Self Day, colleagues shared their “My Whole Selfie” and submitted their desert island favourites for a My Whole Self quiz at the end of the week – both great ways for us to get to know our colleagues better. We believe that it is really important to have open conversations around positive mental health, so we have been really pleased to align with these campaigns and raise awareness of the ways in which employees can support their own mental health, especially when working from home.

If you need any support with your mental health or would like to talk to someone, please contact the following great organisations:

Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/

Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/getting-help

Mental Health Training for employers: https://mhfaengland.org/

Written by Chloe Jones