With an astonishing 90%* of people working in PR experiencing poor mental health, we simply cannot ignore the pandemic’s impact on our industry. At Represent we are invested in supporting our talented team’s mental wellbeing and health. Without them, we wouldn’t be the award-winning agency we are.
This International Stress Awareness Week, Associate PR Director Grainne Byrne shines a light on five ways Represent supports wellbeing at work. See what you can learn!
Take care of your people
With research revealing that PR professionals are more likely to suffer from poor mental health compared with other industries, employers must take action to look after the mental wellbeing of employees and seek ways to mitigate the risk of work-related ill health and burnout.
At Represent, we take the mental health of employees seriously and try to normalise conversations around wellbeing. As we know workload is a leading source of stress, we check in a few times a day to plan activities and ensure that everyone’s to-do lists are realistic and manageable.
We pride ourselves on our open culture, and while employees are encouraged to talk to their team and manager about issues they are experiencing, we know not everyone will feel able to when things get heavy. The latest PRCA & CIPR (2021) research states that 60% of those experiencing mental health issues told someone at work about it.
For those in the team wishing to have these conversations elsewhere, every member of the Represent team has free access to a confidential Employee Assistance Programme that can be used 24/7 and used to discuss any issues they want to get off their chests – not just work-related ones.
The balance of both worlds
At Represent we have embraced hybrid working as we know it brings about a much better work-life balance. We support working from home with innovative tech and tools that allow us to stay connected, enabling each member of the team to work efficiently and support one another throughout the day.
While our core hours are pretty conventional to reflect the way our clients do business, employees have the flexibility to work their hours to a pattern that fits into their lives and this is helping bring out the best in the team while maintaining productivity.
“Represent appreciates that staff have a life outside of work, and endeavours to accommodate this where possible. As a result, we feel valued and motivated. The hybrid structure gives us greater flexibility, while also feeling supported and having that social connection which is vital for both wellbeing and creativity.” – Melissa Albarran
Supporting individuals to Thrive
Over the past year, our comms consultants have engaged in a 1-2-1 business coaching programme called LIFT Leadership Roundtables to help motivate and inspire them in their day-to-day lives, while equipping them with skills to help take care of their physical and mental health.
Informed by science and delivered by expert coaches, each member of the Represent team has been on a personal development journey to inspire them to develop and excel in every area of their lives.
The programme features science-led learning and topics like performance, mental health, resilience and more. A key focus has been breaking the cycle of cumulative stress through mindful practices.
What employees love about it is the peer network approach and the supportive community that the program fosters.
“My experience so far on the programme has been amazing and I have seen some concrete impacts on my day-to-day life and work. Although sceptical at first, it has grown my confidence levels and helped me take steps towards overcoming my self-doubt.” – Erin Bertram
Building mental muscle
Building on the successes of the LIFT programme, this Autumn we embarked on a new development programme called Positive Intelligence (PQ) to allow us to build powerful habits, grow a positive mindset and enact real change in our lives.
Through daily practice in the PQ ‘mind gym’ and weekly peer support sessions called POD meetings, we have been learning ways to help us silence negative self-talk and kick our inner saboteurs into check.
The new mindfulness-based Jedi mind tricks we have been picking up are allowing us to recognise negative thought patterns and how these can derail us in all areas of our life, all while building mental muscle through daily practice that will help us to bring our best selves to every situation.
The daily practice is delivered via an app and requires around 15 minutes a day – so it fits into our busy schedule. The app provides metrics which bring about measurable progress that we PRs love!
The team sessions build in much-needed support and an accountability group with team members. This has been critical for ensuring the success of our group as well as allowing us to become much more open and trusting of one another.
We are learning how to convert problems and challenges into opportunities and even gifts through this innovative programme.
In addition to our EAP, mentoring and coaching programmes, every member of the team takes part in regular quarterly and end-of-year appraisals. These reviews are in addition to our regular daily and weekly check-ins, and a more formal opportunity to review work performance, discuss career goals, and identify any support and training needs.
As well as helping to motivate the team, these sessions help to foster job satisfaction and boost morale which we know can suffer in challenging times such as those we are living in today.
The reviews provide a useful forum for constructively raising and resolving any issues, as well as suggesting areas for improvement for the agency. We treat them as a dialogue in which employees are empowered to speak openly and freely so we get the best out of the sessions and ultimately our people!
While our team lunches, staff socials and early finish Fridays are fantastic ‘work perks’, workplace wellness is our ultimate goal. The comprehensive programme we have in place is designed to ensure that every individual has the chance to thrive and be part of an inspiring, healthy business.
If you are interested in a career in PR and digital comms with one of Scotland’s leading small agencies, why not get in touch via our careers page!