CharityComms podcast: Leading wellbeing from the top
11:59AM Aug 2, 2021
Lauren Haizel-Cobbina, CharityComms
Chris O’Sullivan, Mental Health Foundation
Bevis Man, Hatch Enterprise
Susie Sek, Hatch Enterprise
Richard Davidson, Sarcoma UK
Hi, everyone and welcome to the final episode of season two of the CharityComms podcast, where we'll be discussing all things wellbeing. As you know things have changed this season, and we will be having a guest host take over each episode. They'll be inviting three guests who will be interviewed about various topics surrounding wellbeing. This episode will be hosted by our final guest host Bevis Man, who is Head of marketing and communications at Hatch. Bevis has more than 14 years of experience working in media and communications within the third sector. He will be talking to his guests about investing in staff wellbeing and leading from the top and his guests are Chris O'Sullivan, Head of fundraising and comms at Mental Health Foundation, Susie Sek, Marketing and communication manager at Hatch, and Richard Davidson, CEO at Sarcoma UK. So welcome Bevis.
Hello, nice to be here.
So, so happy to have you. So let's kick things off, I thought it was only right, as usual to let you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as a senior leader?
Well, I guess like a lot of people, I've just been gradually working my way up in terms of like increasingly more senior roles in the comms kind of area of the third sector. So starting off at VSO and then working for British Skin Foundation, and then on to Imperial Health Charity, an NHS charity based in London, and you know, like all roles, they kind of inform and you learn a little bit with every road and you take that kind of learning experience into your next one. And I guess that the topic I guess, of wellbeing really struck home mostly between, really the last three roles, the NHS charity, Royal Imperial Health Charity, and Sarcoma UK my previous role, and that kind of experience in my current role at Hatch Enterprise. And, you know, working within an NHS environment, the subject of wellbeing and I guess, the focus is on making people you know who are sick or ill better, but equally as we've seen a lot in the pandemic that focus on staff and NHS staff, and what does that mean for them in terms of their wellbeing and long-term kind of health. And likewise at Sarcoma UK, and we'll touch a bit when we get to talk to Richard Davidson, Sarcoma UK's Chief Executive, about what he's done and what he's kept in developing in terms of wellbeing for staff for that charity, and the unique kind of challenges that, that working in that organisation brings. And then most recently, I guess, here at Hatch Enterprise where Iam now, it's about all the challenges that, the challenges that, every charity and third sector organisation has faced around working remotely, but actually having to work much harder. And all of the challenges and stresses and strains that brings with that and trying to deliver on at times, you know, less resource, or at least, you know, less able to communicate because you're not able to pick up lots and lots of things that you wouldn't have done in person and and all of those things, and how do you try and mitigate some of those and what are the kind of positive things to come out of that process. And it's been a really interesting, I guess, journey to have spoken to all of the guests all bringing a very unique kind of perspective to what they've learned and what they've done and how they kind of intend to continue. But what I have seen is certainly increasingly, not just mental health, what what's been clear on the interviews, and also what I've seen in the roles is the role of wellbeing and mental health. And that kind of starting to be taken a lot more seriously as the years have gone by, you know, the mental health issue is always in the news and that and that's only a good thing. But I guess that what we're talking about here is is that full spectrum of wellbeing not just mental health, which that's a part of it. But even I guess the smaller things, the day to day things that staff can do and actually as leaders can do to encourage wellbeing, which is as simple as turning off your computer at lunchtime, going for a walk and making sure you're having a proper lunch. I'm as guilty as anyone to kind of just plough on through because I'm you know, we're working in comms and so we're constantly busy. So it's the kind of small things through to the larger things and seeing the organisational approach and seeing that kind of approach be increasingly more integrated into, into strategy. You know, at Hatch, one of the five objectives we have actually, is over the next five years, is around prioritising people and focusing on well how do we make sure in terms of staff wellbeing we're doing the best we can, but we're also developing our staff and so on and so forth. And that's a really good thing to see where that focus and this topic itself, getting the kind of pedestal that it deserves because at the end of the day, a charity is only as good as its staff.
Amazing. You've mentioned I guess, wellbeing being taken a lot more seriously in recent times. And I guess I wanted to ask for charities that are struggling and haven't implemented wellbeing practices as easily or as well, what are the kinds of ways they can prioritise wellbeing more widely in their organisations?
I think that in terms of tips or advice, you know, certainly from my own experience, but also having spoken to the guests on the podcast, I would say, practice what you preach. If you are going to take it seriously follow through with what you say. And I think talking to Chris from Mental Health Foundation, that was one thing that I certainly walked away with, you know that that was very clear about what they wanted to do. Talking to Susie at Hatch, the main thing for me was really about taking leadership around well, around staff wellbeing doesn't necessarily actually have to come from the senior leader or a leader. If you, if you care about something, and your organisation allows it, encourage your staff to actually take, take the lead on subjects like that. And, and you'll see them flourish really, and take the project and run. And then I guess the final one is really about probably the most important one, right at the start, talk to your staff, you know, figure out what is and isn't working, and then figure out what the appetite is for for change, and what needs to be done and what people are happy or not happy with. And that's a really good starting block to kind of build on staff wellbeing developing that
Amazing advice. Thank you so much Bevis. And before I hand the episode over to you could you just describe this episode in one word or phrase?
One word, I'd say listen, and that's really about probably about the key thing is around, obviously talking to people but as I said before, listening to what you get back, and that that should really inform what you do and how you do it.
Well, thank you so much Bevis, I'm going to hand it over to you.
Chris, thanks for joining us from the Mental Health Foundation and talking about all things wellbeing - much appreciated. I guess what would be really useful would be for listeners to get a sense of I guess what wellbeing and staff wellbeing looks like at the Mental Health Foundation, and what your role has been in it.
Hi Bevis, how you doing? Errr I am a long serving member, I guess of the, of the foundation staff. I've been around in various roles for just over 10 years. And throughout that time, the foundation has changed and tried to flex with the times and over the last few years, we've had a huge opportunity to spring forward as a result of a major legacy. So we've been in a position of planning quite an expansion so that we can really bring our mission on prevention and mental health, so our mission is good mental health for all, you know to a wider audience. And because our mission is good mental health rule, it really places upon us a requirement to walk our talk. And we've recently framed our values and reframed them and stated them and there are two walk our talk, and side by side, which are particularly relevant to staff wellbeing. And you know, it's exceptionally important that our staff feel that they are part of our mission, and that we are part of our mission. And particularly when we offer so much evidence-based content to workplaces about how to look after staff wellbeing and we also offer consultancy and training programmes to businesses, you know, we need to walk that talk. And we've had a commitment to staff wellbeing for a very long time, there's a lot of our staff have a lived experience of mental ill health, we are attractive to people who have a lived experience because people often feel that a mental health charity is a place that they can make a difference. And also a place where they're likely to not have to contend with some of the stigma that you have to contend with in many organisations when you disclose. But we also have a broad range of other lived experiences of the challenges which can affect our wellbeing with people from a broad diversity of race, people with LGBT experiences, all sorts of other kinds of experience that that mean, that wellbeing is is really critical to get the best out of our people and our head of HR talks about our ambition to be a great place to work where people do great work. And that is very much an ambition and an aspiration. We try to get there, we're not perfect, there are some things that are not ideal, but we are, we're on a conscious journey and a conscious journey, which is very much led from the top with our CEO and our board fully behind that. And that's an exciting place to be.
You mentioned earlier on about the kind of springboard element. And I guess that brings with it certain amounts of pressure, you know, pressure to deliver but also to kind of make things work and what does tha,t what does that mean on staff and how's the kind of pandemic kind of changed with this?
Yeah, I think that's, that's absolutely right. We've, in a lot of the years I've been at the foundation, we've had a kind of scarcity mindset and need to find the next income the next grant the next contract and that has led to people feeling a need to perform and a need to save the organisation, sometimes literally. And over the past couple of years where we've been able to plan this expansion, thanks to an improved financial picture, and a much improved financial picture. You know, we've had to transition to a growth mindset and almost started to think a little bit like a startup. And how do we frame that? And how do we share that? And how do we make that case for support. And one of the things which is really important within that for us is to make sure that our people remain our key, our key assets. So it's sometimes interesting, because I will sit there and think, well, there are things we don't do. We could do this for staff. And we could do that for staff. And then we've expanded our staff complement by nearly 40%, in the second half of the pandemic, after the hiring freeze was lifted. And what our new staff tell us is actually what we have in place is much more expansive than many organisations in the sector and indeed the private sector. So maybe just to give you a sense of some of the things that, that we've been doing, particularly in the pandemic, but a lot of the things we were doing beforehand; focusing on mental health, and other things, but the pandemic almost as it has, for many workplaces pushed an accelerator for us a double accelerator, it pushed an accelerator on mission because the connection between COVID and mental health was so clear, and it allowed us to push forward straight away. So we started a research project on the impact of mental health on COVID in March 2020, when the pandemic first started, and we also started a COVID hub with evidence-based information at the same time, which very quickly was reaching a million visits a month and was, you know, widely quoted across media. And that allowed a lot of our people to come together and maybe share disciplines, which was really rewarding. But it was also, there was also an accelerated requirement because of the need to adapt to technology in home working, and also laterally to deal with some very traumatic things, including the death of George Floyd, and our desire to be a better anti-racist charity. And we've done a huge amount of work on that. So you know, what we have in place, we already had quite a few good things, we had a fully provisioned Employee Assistance programme, offering information, but also things like counselling and CBT, we have contractual wellbeing days. So we get three days to do with what we wish at whatever notice we like. So some people, if they can't face a day, for whatever reason, can take a discretionary day without giving an explanation. Or you can plan it in for after something difficult, then we have discretionary leave between Christmas and New Year where the office is closed, and that kind of things like cycle loans, and all those those kinds of things. And we also have quite a strong culture of peer support, which has been helpful and we had just launched before the pandemic a coaching programme, as well. So all staff have access to group coaching and leaders and managers and people who are changing roles or under change have access to individual coaching, which is, which has been really good. And since the pandemic, all of those axis have kind of pushed forward. So the flexible work requirements on COVID meant that obviously, everyone was working from home the organisation was very quick to provide technology and kit for doing that very keen to support family and took the position partly because we were in a good financial position to not have to furlough people to allow people to do different skills or fair jobs, offering people full pay to deliver what they could if they were doing family working. So for example, me and my wife split homeschooling 50/50. So one of us work the morning, one of us work the afternoon, essentially, for a good few months, I was working pretty much half of my normal hours and receiving full pay and full backing from the organisation, which meant a lot to people. And we've done a lot of team building as well, because we've been recruiting and inducting staff, we've been deliberately setting things up so that people got to talk to not only their existing teams, but also others and we've had regular wellbeing check ins we've built wellbeing into our work in all sorts of areas. And we've had some very hard conversations in a number of places and and enabled people to do that. And as we're looking forward now to recovery, we, coincidentally the leases expired for both our Glasgow and London offices and we've got a new office in London in the pipeline and a new office in Glasgow in the pipeline. And we're now looking at how we build and equip those offices to put wellbeing at the centre and to maximise what people do in those spaces. So there's a lot happening,
And I guess it's an impressive portfolio of initiatives. And you know, from an employer, there's a whole load of things there that are kind of huge ticks and what would you say you know, as a leader in your in the charity, what would you say the visible and also non visible benefits are to staff who are kind of making use of these initiatives.
I think people sometimes, people sometimes don't , and it sounds terrible to say people don't realise how good they've got it, but it may be true when we have a lot - we have all this kind of support available. And it allows us to support quite a diverse experience within the staff team. It allows people a lot of growth potential. And I think whether we have psychological safety or whether we seek to create psychological safety is an interesting idea. So psychological safety is the ability to feel you can have your point heard, and make mistakes and learn from them. And I think that is certainly something that you can do in this organisation, you're able to, you know, say as it is to the CEO, and your job is not at risk. And that's not an environment, I've always been in. We're attracting and retaining talent in a lot of senses and we're working on quite a number of change axis at once. It's the, you know, the change curve, the Kubler Ross curve, or or others, it sometimes feels like we've got 10 of those curves in parallel, and sometimes they're intersecting. So there's a lot happening. And and I think if we didn't have the focus on wellbeing we did, and the structures and systems we had, we could be in a terrible state, which is not to say that we're always in a great state, because we are changing so rapidly. And I've done work, you know, in my previous job, as a head of corporate, I've done work supporting wellbeing in a number of business environments, including in highly agile startups and sometimes it feels like that kind of startup environment where things are moving so fast. And there are so many challenges and pressures and defining what it is that you're trying to achieve is hard. So I guess it's not all perfect, but we are moving forward quite quickly. And if we didn't have the protection we have and, you know, our mission is prevention in mental health, which is basically doing more of the things that support our wellbeing and fewer of the things that put our wellbeing at risk. And we're trying earnestly to walk that talk.
And last question for myself, you know, you mentioned just now about that kind of fast moving environment but also having those kind of challenges and for the benefit of listeners, from your experience and the years that you've been at the Mental Health Foundation. One piece of advice you'd give to other leaders in the kind of comms sphere?
One piece of advice is always hard. So I'm, I might make it a couple. You can't serve from an empty vessel. So you need to look after yourself to rest and to recharge, so that you can model the behaviours you want to see from your team. So taking your leave, doing your development, working out what your internal weather is and dressing accordingly. That kind of thing. I would also say learn to live with discomfort. Discomfort is not a thing that we hold well as leaders and managers, so learning to live with failure and learning to live from it, understanding things like power limits, and also what happens when your boundaries are breached, particularly around things like fragility. We've had some great discussions and important discussions on racial justice in our organisation and that's involved confronting our own biases and attitudes, and you need to be prepared to do that as a leader. And I guess the last two quick things. Learn to have difficult conversations. So learn to listen and learn to ask questions, and that will help in mental health, and do the basics of management and leadership well, so make sure that you are giving people supervision and appraisal, that people's workloads are manageable that you make reasonable adjustments, those things which are sort of management 101. And in the days before the pandemic, when I used to go through airports a lot, I used to look at all those management books and sometimes even buy some and most of those books are about mental health and wellbeing, you know, the greatest success 10 minute MBA, all of those things, every aspect of management and leadership has an aspect of wellbeing so embrace that and keep learning.
Chris a real delight to talk to you and a huge amount of insight there, so much to chew over the coming week. Thanks for talking to us.
Susie, thank you for joining us on the CharityComms podcast to talk about staff wellbeing and we'd love to hear about who Hatch are and I guess what prompted you to take the lead in this area of staff wellbeing at the organisation?
Hi, yeah, really excited to be here. So at Hatch, we support underrepresented entrepreneurs. The groups that we support are Women, Black, Asian ethnic minority, Minorities, and Social Impact entrepreneurs. And we do this through a variety of core programmes, through our launchpad incubator and accelerators and through events and resources and also providing an entrepreneurial community. So what prompted me to start the wellbeing at Hatch was that we were currently working on our five year strategy and we had been wanting to prioritise people. I've always been interested in wellbeing and self-care. So I had been talking to Operations director Philipa about how I would like to be involved in shaping the culture at Hatch and how you'd go about doing it.
And those conversations with the Operations director Susie, what did they lead to? What were the kind of activities that happened as a result?
So one of the activities that I thought off was creating an internal hub for staff to access physical and mental health wellbeing resources. And then another thing we did was during Mental Health Awareness Week, we had an internal wellbeing event and we did a variety of different activities. One of them was a day where we self-reflected on our personal professional development doing a yoga session in the afternoons and meditation and then sending everyone a little gift just as a, just to say, thank you for being such great team member.
Sounds like a really lovely, set of gestures there and why would you say this is an important thing to do? And I guess, particularly at Hatch?
So I think over the past year with the pandemic, like mental health and self-care has been like at the top of everyone's agenda. And I think that a lot of the time with charities, everyone is like, so focused on the mission, that staff wellbeing becomes less of a priority. But I think it's so important because if people are stressed and burnt out, then they won't be performing their roles as well as they could be which in, which will affect the whole organisation. So I think nowadays, it's so important to think of your people as a priority.
Absolutely. Bang on there with with, with what you said, just now. What was the kind of feedback that you got from, from staff?
Um yeah, after we did our wellbeing week, we received such positive feedback. Everyone was really thankful for that, for that week. And they felt like they had that time to just like, think about how, where they were with their self-care. And Dirk, our CEO actually gave me some really good feedback and made me really happy that I did it, it's that the week that we did it he had been feeling really low but the 30 minute meditation session had like, changed how he felt about that week, and he felt so much better after it.
And we mentioned in our chat, before we started the recording, you mentioned that there's something new which is around a wellbeing budget. What's that about?
Yeah, so we recently introduced a £750 learning and wellbeing budget. So this budget is to help our team develop professionally, so they can do a course that they want to learn. And the wellbeing budget, and the wellbeing side is that they can use it to improve themselves personally, so they can access like therapy or you know, if they wanted to improve their physical wellbeing they could get a gym pass, take themselves on a retreat, or just even read a book that they want to read about mental health and how they can improve themselves.
And the thing I wanted to, I guess make a point of, is the fact that Susie your role is Marketing and communications manager ay Hatch so you're not a member of a senior leadership or senior management team where I guess traditionally lots of these kind of initiatives might stem from initially. What would you say to others who aren't in those kinds of roles about taking the initiative and just doing this at their own charities?
Yeah, I think if it's something you're passionate about, kind of research into what other charities are doing. And then kind of gather some stats or whatever and then bring it up in a team meeting and say why mental health and physical wellbeing is so important to the organisation just get everyone's thoughts and ideas and kind of gauge if it's something that they're interested in and then put this into a plan.
My last question to you, looking ahead what's the kind of future look like in terms of staff wellbeing and this kind of unique type of investment?
Yeah, I think we want to do more regular events so maybe like every other month and then keep bringing up that mental health is so important so just take regular breaks get away from your screen and just give everyone that reminder. I'd eventually like to get to the point where staff mental health is talked about and normalised, yeah.
Perfect. Lots of rich insight there Susie. Lots to think about as well. Really lovely to hear about all the things that you've done over the past few months at Hatch especially I guess, as you say, at this kind of pre, during, and now post pandemic times. Lovely to talk to you Susie.
Richard, thanks for joining us today on the CharityComms podcast talking about all things wellbeing and leadership. I guess it probably makes sense to the listener to just maybe just tell us briefly about what, what the setup is in terms of wellbeing at Sarcoma UK, and what kind of initiatives you've got running.
So we are a charity of about 20 people, and most are normally in old times office based but of course, we've all been working remotely. And one of the things that we have at Sarcoma UK is we have a counsellor because we deal with lots of dying, death, and ill patients end of life care. So we come into contact with a lot of patients, and one of the things that we have is a counsellor that comes in once a month. And she has one to one or group sessions, helping staff deal with and talk through issues that they are dealing with in their day to day jobs. It's a fantastic woman called Jo Ham, who is a trained counsellor and she's been involved with the charity for about 10 years, actually. So since the charity was established, and she runs a really popular offer, a really popular service where people can call her when they're feeling that they need to talk to someone, they need to talk through an issue. And sometimes it's in a one to one basis, and sometimes it's in in group sessions. But one of the things that we've done with Jo during the pandemic is we've introduced once a month she comes to our team meetings, and she does a mindfulness session. So she talks through a mindfulness group, and everyone in the team attends, and it's integrated into the team meeting. So it's led by her, but everyone gets involved and it's gone really, really well, people find it popular, we survey people regularly to make sure that it's what they want, and that they're getting the most out of it. And yeah, it's a really popular session.
Do you find in terms of the members of the Sarcoma UK team, there are particular groups of people that always go, or is there kind of, is part of it mandatory for certain members of staff.
So people, it's mainly people who have got direct contact with patients. So it's, you know, it's not paid people who work on the support line or community fundraisers, but it's open to all people who answer the phones, it's but it's open to everyone. So there tends to be set people who go more regularly, but it is open to everyone in the team because everyone gets a value of it. And then also, you can't always second guess how it will impact members of the team and so some people might have more contact with the public, but it might be the people who deal with them less regularly that will get the most out of it. So we opened it up to the whole team rather than just key individuals.
And you mentioned earlier on about the kind of members of staff being on that front line and talking to patients. And obviously, what's the kind of impact that kind of content has on staff?
I think in normal times, it can be quite relentless. Because I mean, at the moment, we're dealing with lots of people who are end of life and who have terminal diagnoses. And that's, that's really difficult. So it's always valuable. However, during the pandemic, where I think people's anxieties and isolation have been heightened, it's even more important because they can't necessarily see their colleagues that they have a safe space to go to someone and they talk and talk through how they're feeling. And sometimes that is around difficult conversations, emotional conversations that they're having, or dealing with. But sometimes it's just, you know, an ear it's someone, a shoulder to lean on, it's to talk to someone who's got experience in those in those areas that you just want to talk to. So it's, it's vital at any time, but it's even more vital at the moment when anxiety levels I think are through the roof.
I guess as as Sarcoma UK's Chief Executive what kind of impact in terms of benefits, I guess, what do they get out of this whole process? Do you see a change in terms of mood, behaviour, productivity, what's the kind of benefits that this brings to I guess both individuals and I guess wider organisational perspective?
As Chief Executive of Sarcoma UK, I've a duty of care to all the team. So even on a very basic level, on a human level, it's really good that we're supporting staff, and we're making sure that they are feeling supported and cared for. But also, I do think it helps people be more productive if they can deal with certain issues in a particular way and move on or deal with them in a way that helps them get their heads around it. To move on and feel less anxious and less worried and less uncertain, because I think all of that side of things leads to certain uncertainty and anxiety. So anything that helps people deal with that will make them happier, more productive staff. And what we've seen at Sarcoma UK, is that it doesn't lead to people who have been going to Jo Ham, who've been working at the charities for 8-10 years, who are still there. So I think it's valued by both older, more established and newer staff that come into the organisation. And I suppose, essentially, it might even be a draw to the organisation because people see that we are caring for our staff, and we were looking after their wellbeing so they want to kind of stay with the charity.
And what, what's worked, I guess what's worked and what hasn't worked around this process? I guess, Joe the counsellor, the counsellor has been there for a number of years now, so then there must be some kind of learnings I guess about how you might maybe approach the subject or how you introduce kind of going to a counsellor, or is it just an everyday thing that, that's because it's so integrated? What would you say the learnings are?
Well, I think that, I think that Jo does a really good job not just with established staff, and people know what they can go and talk to her about. They can, they know how they react and how Jo knows them as individuals. So all of that is kind of a continuous process. But I think that what we also try and do is pick up from those sessions and, and develop other things. So for example, we've just done a group session on emotional resilience and on dealing with emotional conversations. So to kind of tease out some of the ways some of the calming mechanisms that people can use, some of the ways of approaching, so even some of the turn of phrases that people can use in conversations to move things on, and Jo does other training for us. You know, she does a telephone training, how to deal with telephone calls, but those all come from having those long established relationships with the team. So that can be picked up through those, you know, one to one and group sessions, we can identify kind of across the board training needs that we have as an organisation, and Jo delivers, Jo delivers those. And it really does feel as if Jo is a member of the team, that although she doesn't work very many hours, you know, and we got to her on a on a weekly fortnightly and monthly basis. But you know, we invited her to the Christmas parties, we invited her to away days, she even speaks at Sarcoma UK conferences, you know, when we're dealing with, with patients and so on, so she feels like an integrated part of the team.
And as a leader yourself, do you go to Jo, you know to, I mean, I can imagine being a Chief Executive, but also, you know, the charity that Sarcoma UK is you also, you also have contact with, with patients, and so on and so forth. I'm guessing you would visit and talk to Jo in the same way that any other more junior members of staff would?
Yeah, and I think that Jo is incredibly, obviously, it's all confidential, you know, when you go to speak to Jo, and you have conversations, it's all all completely confidential, and none of it comes back to the, you know, line managers or whatever. So she provides a great service to everyone across the organisation. And I think that everyone at various points, you know of their working life, you know, needs to seek Jo out and have conversations and advice from her. So she does that on a kind of a weekly and fortnightly basis. But she is incredibly wise counsel. And so she will, in a non judgmental way help you talk through and help work through certain issues. And yeah, everyone in the organisation, I think, I think goes to her at some point.
And I guess, looking ahead, what's the plan for the future in terms of, will you continue to invest in this way into staff, but also, are there kind of different types of wellbeing initiatives that you think right, they seem to really kind of resonate with members of staff? What's the kind of future look like in terms of that side of thing?
Well, I think the pandemic's made everyone think more, certainly personally speaking, it's made us think all about what, what do we need to do to help support staff and think about their wellbeing. So we introduced periodically, every four to six months, we'll have a taking stock day where we try to do it around people's objective setting, so that it kind of works with that, but it's very much a chance to put on one day, have no meetings, have no email, and just think about what you've achieved, what your objectives are, and how, how you want to change things moving forward. And that is everything. So it's not just about work objectives. It's also about, you know, how you're coping, how your work life balances and so on. And then after that, we ask people to kind of offer learnings and so on so, so they can think about what they've learned and achieved through that process. But we've also set up a wellbeing group. And I think that's a really important thing for us that it's, it's not what we think is the wellbeing of staff should be about, it's about what they want. And this wellbeing group deal with lots of different things. They talk about how they want to do team building, how we're dealing with home working, how often we want to come back into the office, how we want the office environment to work, you know, whether or not it's different teams in on different days, or whether it's across the team, how we get to speak to and interact with, with other members of different teams. And so that wellbeing group has come about and actually, it's been quite interesting, what they have come up with, because they've come up with stuff that I would never have dreamed of, you know, are things that staff would have wanted, for example, they recently came up with the idea that as a way of doing a team building activity that would do origami. So we did origami, a guy came and gave us a talk on origami and we all made various different, you know, animals from bits of paper, which was just great. And I would never in a million years have dreamed of doing that. But we did chocolate tasting, you know, wine tasting. So there's lots of different activities that the group has come up with, and it's, you know, a really nice mix of people from across the organisation. That's, that's something that I think is something that we would want to continue and want to do because that is a way of making the team come up with solutions to wellbeing. I think the senior staff, the senior team, just would never in a million years come up with. So I think that's probably the future of that type of activity.
And listen to you speak there about the kind of range of activities and this kind of, I guess we've been describing it as a type of investment in staff. I'm distinctly aware that having spoken to lots of different people in different charities, in comms and outside of comms, not every charity has this kind of support available, whether it's a counsellor, whether it's time, you know, time and space to kind of think through things in the same way that you've described. What would be your one piece of advice for other leaders around I guess, putting resources, putting investment behind wellbeing.
My only piece of advice would be just, just do it. Just think, take a step back and think about what it is that you want and how, how much of a sense of wellbeing your staff or your team have and, and really do focus on it. Because I think that the pandemic has shown us that, that people are feeling brittle and anxious and worried and concerned in ways that they wouldn't normally, necessarily be able to talk about. And I think that we need to be able to allow people to talk about it to acknowledge it. So I do a weekly email. And I often talk in that about what I'm feeling anxious about, or what I'm feeling worried about, whether it's about the country opening up or whether it's about going into or missing certain things, because people can feel anxious about, you know, all types of things. One, some people can feel anxious about the world opening up and things going back to normal. And other people can be feeling about the fact it's not go ing fast enough, or it's not going back to normal enough. So everyone is different. So I think being open and honest about your own anxieties and worries, but also encouraging other people to think about theirs and think about ways that they think we can improve as an organisation because we're really committed to wellbeing and care about stuff. We think it's valuable for them. But we think it's valuable for, for Sarcoma UK and for the patients that we serve. So I would just encourage everyone to to invest in it.
Richard it has been lovely talking to you. And clearly lots of really good things to learn from, from Sarcoma UK and thier approach to wellbeing. So thank you again.
What a way to end the series. A big thank you to Bevis, Richard, Susie and Chris for giving their thoughts about leading from the top. This whole season has been put together to encourage everyone to take responsibility of their wellbeing, whether it's their own or their teams. So we hope you feel encouraged and will go and implement some of the things you've learned. As we have mentioned throughout the season, our wellbeing guide for comms professionals is for everyone, whether you're a solo communicator, or you work in a team of 20 every article in there is written to help anyone at any stage of their career, and with every organisation in mind, it's also a living guide, meaning that it can be added to over time. If you're a charity leading the way when it comes to soft wellbeing, or your mental health professional then get in touch and share your tips. But that's it for us, this is the final episode of the season. Please keep an eye on our socials to hear what our next season will be about. Till then if that's something you'd like to hear about or if you have any questions for us, you can catch us on Twitter. I'm at @LaurenHaizel, or head over to CharityComms' Twitter page @CharityComms. Alternatively, you can reach me at my CharityComms email, which is in the episode description. Make sure to subscribe if you'd like to be notified when we upload and if you enjoyed this episode, we'd really appreciate a review or rating. So see you next season. Bye.