For many, the third national lockdown has hit harder than before. The shorter days, gloomier weather, and prolonged sense of uncertainty have left much of the UK public experiencing pandemic fatigue. Recent research suggests that UK home workers are putting in 2 extra hours per day* as employees struggle to switch off and the work/life boundaries become increasingly blurred.
At PHA, we have offered a simple but significant gesture to our employees that recognises the current difficult climate. As part of the ongoing wellness offering at The PHA Group, the Wellness team has introduced a Wellness Hour that is blocked out in all staff diaries each week outside of the daily lunch break. During this time, all PHA employees are encouraged to forego internal meetings, avoid booking in calls where possible, and do anything but work.
All staff get to decide how they spend their Wellness Hour each week. They can use this time to go for an afternoon walk to clear their heads, take part in an exercise class, meditate, watch an episode of their favourite series, or even just catch up with some friends from across the agency for a chat (about anything but work!). The aim of the Wellness Hour is to remind employees to take time out of each working day to disengage from work during these difficult times.
Since its launch, PHA employees have taken full advantage of the Wellness Hour and have been utilising the time to step away from their screens and take part in an abundance of activities they otherwise might not do. Staff have commented that the time is a useful reminder to switch off and have additional time to get outside during daylight.
The Wellness Hour initiative is part of the wider employee wellness offering which includes a fortnightly Wellness Newsletter, a dedicated Wellness Day, themed seminars, mental health training and an Employee Assistance Programme.