SFE YP Blog | What Wellbeing Means to Me
Katie Hume is a Corporate Associate at CMS and a member of the SFE Young Professionals network. For more information about SFE Young Professionals, click here.
Wellbeing is a term that is used a lot, and in such a broad brush manner, that its meaning and relevance can often be completely diluted. However, it is a term that has been central to our lives over the past year and a half, and as we reach the summer holiday period and hopefully time for a bit of R&R, I wanted to share my reflections on what wellbeing means to me, and what I think its relevance is to the wider SFE YP community
1. Physical wellbeing
As a keen gym class attendee, the closing of gyms and sports facilities at the start of lockdown was a bit of a shock to the system. This, combined with a move to home working and lack of commute, put my routine into disarray and resulted in me doing almost no exercise for a number of months. However, the recommendation of a good podcast and series of bright, sunny days got me back out and about and I discovered the joy of a walk – not a “power walk because your stressed and running late for work” walk – but a walk to wander new areas, discover new parks and just to spend time in the fresh air. Where possible, I’ve found meeting up with colleagues for a walk and coffee has also been a great way of connecting with team members beyond a screen, and the step count is an added bonus. As we look to the future of what working life might be like, arranging walking catch ups with team members is something I am going to try and continue to do, and think that a meeting encouraging people to step away from a zoom call for an hour can only have a positive impact on the working day.
2. Mental wellbeing
Mental wellbeing has been an enormous point for consideration over the pandemic, and it is not yet clear what the real impact of the pandemic will be on the nation’s mental wellbeing. I have found that the pandemic and associated lockdowns have led to greater awareness and thoughtfulness around a person’s mental wellness, but any positive change shouldn’t stop here, and should be seen as a springboard for making lasting changes to the way mental wellbeing is viewed both in our personal lives and in the workplace.
That is why the launch of the SFE YP mental health awareness campaign is such a positive and important step. With an ultimate goal of making a difference to people’s lives and lasting improvements to mental health across the sector, SFE YP and SeeMe have conducted a survey to gain a better understanding of how the mental health of the young professional population has been impacted. The data is still being analysed, but the valuable responses will help show where young professionals feel there need to be changes across the sector to help people be more open, by reducing barriers and creating environments where people feel comfortable to speak about how they feel.
Keep an eye out for survey results in the coming weeks. If we can all take a small step to help action some of the recommendations, the combined affect across the sector could be massive, and make a real positive difference to the workplace.
3. Financial wellbeing
As a member of the SFE YP, it would be remiss of me to not touch on the financial element of wellbeing - not discussed as often as perhaps the latest superfood, but arguably significantly more important to a person’s overall wellbeing. It has been amazing to see the steps taken by SFE member firms to help with the financial wellbeing of customers throughout the pandemic, and the refreshed SFE strategy looks set to continue this with a focus on financial inclusion and wellbeing by aiming “to deliver innovative and inclusive products and services to meet the evolving needs of all customers”. We all have a part to play in helping implement the strategy, whether that be developing new product ideas, or facilitating change to make digital more accessible, and should step up to do so when the opportunity arises.
To conclude, whilst the pandemic has presented us with a multitude of challenges and difficulties, it also presents an opportunity to make changes and take forward positive lessons, a focus on wellbeing being one them. As young professionals in our organisation, we have an opportunity to keep the momentum on making it acceptable and normal to block time in the day to move, be that a run, walk or cycle and to create an environment where colleagues and friends feel able to speak about their mental wellbeing, as well as working with our member firms to make lasting changes to the work place to ensure this happens.