Nina Doehmel-Macdonald, Senior Consultant shares her thoughts on Atlas’ wellbeing policy during Mental Health Awareness Week…
One in four people will experience diagnosable mental health issues during the course of a year – that’s technically three people within Atlas alone. Mental health is a critical part of life and given that we spend more time with our colleagues than most other people in our lives, it’s astounding to think that mental health in the workplace is only just becoming part of public discourse.
We take mental health very seriously at Atlas – our wellbeing policy is not just a token gesture. Together, we have all undergone both Mental Health First Aid and mindfulness training so that we can best support each other and manage our own health. Our flexible working policy is a core part of our agency's culture and has enabled us to learn to drive, look for new flats, make time for doctor and dentist appointments, care for relatives in hospital and drop off kids at school. And of course, sometimes, things happen which mean spending a bit of time at home simply helps. We actively try and reduce the stigma around mental health and operate a metaphorical open door policy (metaphorical, as we have no doors!) – all of these points contribute to a better quality of life and work.
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to wellbeing, which is part of the reason why Atlas also offers all employees a ‘Smile More/Save More’ budget to invest in an activity of their choosing – be it painting, language lessons or yoga, or putting the budget into a savings scheme. Along with eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising these activities all contribute to a healthy and happy life, and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my 32 years it’s that you have to find what works for you and stick to it. All. The. Time.
For those not personally affected by mental health issues, it’s more than likely you know someone who is, or will be in the future. It’s so, so important to talk about it so that others know that it’s okay to ask for help. It may be Mental Health Awareness Week this week, but protecting and building our mental health needs to be a 24/7, 365 days a year thing.
Our mission is to be the happiest agency in London – and not just because it’s the woke thing to say. We firmly believe that a happy team results in great work, and great work means happy clients. At Atlas, we’ve pursued this model for almost four years, and we know it works. Our clients stay with us, refer us on to friends and colleagues or come back to us when they themselves change roles. Healthy, long term revenue streams mean we can reinvest back into the company and our staff, which has allowed us to recently launch a completely equal enhanced parental pay policy. The policy is on par with many of the biggest employers in the UK - something we are incredibly proud of.