April marks Stress Awareness Month in the UK, and while as a country we’re celebrating finally regaining some normality after two years of lost time, it’s as important as ever (if not more so!) to raise awareness of the subject, as many of us continue adjusting to a new way of life.
The theme of this year’s campaign is Community. The pandemic has had a huge effect on the country’s sense of community. Disrupted social lives, the cancellation of large gatherings, travel restrictions and working from home kept us sheltered away and disconnected.
Creating a united community and sense of togetherness has always been at the core of Agent’s values and we’re always eager to try new things to enhance that. We’re a business that prides itself on its people, because to make good work, we need good people who’re passionate about coming into work every day.
Here’s what we’ve done, and continue to do to encourage that sense of community and prevent that all too infamous stress burnout.
A problem shared is a problem halved.
We have always had a proactive approach to supporting each other to deal with stress by encouraging open, honest conversations, and creating a supportive environment where our team feel confident to voice how they’re feeling.
When it all gets a bit much, it’s great to know there are people we can turn to who will support us whatever the weather.
Take a break.
We all need to take a breather throughout the day – how else can we stay productive?
That’s exactly why we strongly encourage our team to close their laptops, step away from their desks and take a well-deserved break – usually with one of the sweet treats most likely on offer in the communal space!
Who let the dogs in?
There’s plenty of research to suggest that having pets at work can help reduce employee stress while also increasing productivity – and we’re the proof in the pudding. We love having our furry four-legged companions by our sides in the office, well…except when they’re stealing our treats!
Self-growth is self-love.
Each week we set aside designated learning development time which gives us all chance to step away from our desks and invest time in developing our knowledge, or learn about something new. Whether it’s reading a book, completing an online training course, or listening to a podcast, this time allows us all the opportunity to enhance our professional growth and broaden our skillset.
So much to celebrate.
From shout-outs in our group chat acknowledging the work successes of our team members, to taking the time to sit together and celebrate each other’s birthdays, we’re huge advocates of championing each other here at Agent – any excuse for some positivity!
Whether it’s work-related accolades or personal celebrations, we’re lucky to be part of a supportive team who shout about each other’s success and give credit where it’s due.
Table tennis tournaments.
If you follow us on social media, it’s no secret that we take table tennis pretty seriously in our office, but it’s all for good reason!
Table tennis has been proven to be a great stressbuster, with countless sources and studies confirming it not only improves physical health, but it promotes strategic thinking, increases mood and productivity, fosters collaboration and reduces stress by giving an outlet for the team to switch their work-brains off for a short period of time.
Investing in wellbeing.
We’re always finding new ways of educating ourselves and learning how we can do better to support the people around us. That’s why we think it’s important to invest in services and training to provide us with the tools to do just that.
For example, earlier this year we invited the teams from The Mind Map and Mental Health First Aid England to host a series of insightful workshop sessions and training in the office, centred around helping us explore new ways we can look after ourselves and those around us – from learning about anxiety, to mindfulness and interventions to take, we learnt a huge amount.
Taking time for each other.
We love a social event here at Agent, whether it’s an occasion to celebrate a client or support a notable campaign, such as last month’s International Women’s Day, or simply an after work impromptu gathering; our team events allow us time as a group to switch off from work, destress and build our bonds.
At the end of the day, we spend so much time together, the closer we’re bonded, the higher our morale and the less stress we take on as individuals.
The takeaway? While there are some benefits of acute, short-term stress, such as increased performance; chronic stress — you know, that muted but ever-present anxiety brought on just by thinking about your to-do list — is only ever damaging for both our mental and physical wellbeing. The dated view that work must be a highly stressful environment that comes with no perks and only continuous workloads is exactly that – dated! What do you do to manage your stress levels?
To learn more about the perks of working at Agent, check out our current vacancies and join us!