Employer Blog: 300 North

Michelle Connolly, the Strategic Development Director at 300 North, discusses why being a Mindful Employer Charter Signatory is important to her organisation and shares top tips on wellbeing activities in the workplace.

As a recruitment company, it’s scary reading to discover that a survey from The Stroke Association Charity identified our sector as the most stressful working environment with around 82% of consultants claiming to be stressed whilst at work.  Stats aside, you only have to look around at your own peer group to see that it’s real. So, as a company, we feel really passionate about the overall wellness of absolutely everyone in our team.

At 300 North we believe that positive mental health and wellbeing is key to meeting our company values of honesty, efficiency, integrity, knowledge and fun!
Before signing the Mindful Employer Charter, we created a mental health policy to mark our commitment to the importance of this; however ongoing implementation is vital to make sure it’s really brought to life.
Some of the things we have already done to begin this journey include:

  1. Lunchtime personal training sessions
Once a week to get everyone away from their desks.Unless the weather is horrendous, we do these outside.Fresh air and exercise mean everyone comes back feeling energized and good about themselves! We also have slots in the diary for lunchtime walks and an after work running club.
  1. Quarterly ‘Challenge and Involve’ meetings
Everyone in the team has the opportunity to provide feedback, moan or suggest improvements. This can be anything from keeping the kitchen clean to business process ideas.From these sessions, the team feel that they are heard, ideas are respected, and it gives the management team an opportunity to fix anything that people are not feeling positive about.
  1. Flexible Working
Not everyone wants to work 5 days a week. Offering flexible working gives people the chance to achieve that vital but challenging goal of work-life balance.We are big advocates of taking time for yourself or with family and friends.
  1. Quarterly Socials
For one day each quarter we leave the office early so we can put into practice one of our values ‘fun’. We put forward a couple of activities for everyone to vote on. This quarter we are heading out for a Cheese Fest ‘Raclette and Fondue’, reliving memories of a team trip we had to Annecy last year!
  1. Team challenges
We regularly sign up for various challenges, including fun runs, triathlons and the upcoming Total Warrior in June at Bramham Park in Leeds. We’re always on the lookout for other challenges that we can do as a team. These help to keep us in shape, do our bit for charity and promote the 300 North fun and team spirit.
  1. Office Refresh
We have listened to team feedback and are due to refresh our office to include a break out area, more attractive decoration and a more practical solution for meetings. We have already improved our kitchen area to make it a more sociable space.
  1. Standing Desks
For those who want it. We all spend too much time sitting down and on our phones, so getting on our feet has to help just a little!
  1. Our Chief Happiness Officer
AKA Poppy our office pooch! Stroking a dog is widely known to help produce stress relieving hormones such as oxytocin, so why not! Poppy seems to pop by everyone’s desks at just the right time when people need a mental break.  It also helps people to wander away from their desk to give her a bit of attention occasionally.

Plans for the future include training a member of staff in mental health first aid to help spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and giving the confidence to provide support when needed.
In the next month, we are also introducing a fortnightly lunchtime yoga session to channel our inner calm, boost our mood and build strength and flexibility.
We have an open and sociable ethos where we all feel driven to work hard, play hard, create a strong sense of team and look out for each another. We are motivated to create a great culture where wellness is at the top of our list.