Grampian Housing Association has announced it is giving staff a ‘wellbeing day’, initially to help them cope with the pressures of lockdown.
According to Chris Mathieson, the association’s compliance, engagement and support lead, staff can use their day whenever they want – all they have to do is ensure they are up-to-date with work, or that they have booked appropriate cover.
He said the day off is a thank-you for the efforts of staff during 2020, but it will become a permanent fixture each year: “As an organisation, we are wanting to move our people more towards self-management – giving people tools time to manage their mental health.”
He added: “The wellbeing day will be part of this by enabling all of our 110 staff to do something that is impactful and meaningful to them – whether it’s taking time to read a book, or hiking up a mountain.”
The association, which provides services to more than 3,500 households, has added the wellbeing day as part of its ‘Feeling GREAT’ initiative, which is designed to give staff a broader set of resources to help manage their mental health and wellness.
It will support other launches planned for April as part of a review of pay and benefits.
Mathieson said: “As part of our Feeling GREAT programme, we’ll soon be launching our GREAT Growth at Grampian initiative – a specific desire to start development conversations – and we’ll also be announcing our GREAT Colleague Instant Recognition Scheme’. This is where staff can award peers for instant recognition [by giving them nominal value voucher] up to ten times per year without the need for line manager approval.
He said: “The instant recognition will be to help drive the sorts of behaviours we want. We’ll also tweaking our long-service awards too.”
With wellbeing being central (Mathieson also confirmed rolling our mental health champions), he said the wellbeing day will be a small but important step in promoting more awareness about health. “This won’t be a sticking plaster for issues of stress, anxiety and depression, but what the day will do is acknowledge the continuing hard work and the commitment staff have shown in what have been very challenging circumstances,” he said.
He added: “The pandemic has necessitated compulsory remote working, home schooling, caring for loved ones, furlough, financial hardship and a whole range of other impacts on their lives. So this is our way of saying thank you and showing appreciation.”