26
Jul
Grace French

Wellbeing is not a one-size-fits-all approach

Posted by Grace FrenchTagged , ,

It’s safe to say that being plunged into multiple lockdowns across the past 18 months – though for good reason – has played havoc with the nation’s mental wellbeing. With restrictions changing at short notice and guidance sometimes unclear, at times it’s been hard to know where to turn and what we can safely do.

A consequence of that has been growing uncertainty and instability in how we monitor and look after our wellbeing. It’s a story of two halves – with the stay at home guidance we’ve had much more time to reflect on our mental wellbeing and focus on self-care. But at the same time, increased isolation and ongoing uncertainty has meant that a one-size-fits-all approach to wellbeing can’t be applied, and we haven’t all been able to access our usual coping strategies.

Recognising that wellbeing means different things to different people, Stand has offered a wellness bounty for a number of years, which colleagues can use however they wish for the benefit of their own wellbeing. By giving everyone the freedom to choose what serves their needs best, we can ensure people feel supported, but not pigeon-holed by a restrictive wellbeing programme.

It’s really come into its own since the pandemic – allowing people to explore new coping strategies as well as reinforce existing ones. Here’s a roundup of what we’ve been up to with our wellness bounties recently.

Tash

“I used some of my wellness bounty to buy a Fitbit. I started running during lockdown to get out of the house, get fitter and clear my head before work – my Fitbit has really helped to motivate me to continue doing this.

“Even on days when I don’t go running, it encourages me to get up and walk around every hour to get at least 250 steps in, which helps take my eyes away from my screen and gives my mind a quick rest.”

Cait

“During lockdown, I found solace in running over the summer months. As we started going into autumn / winter, and another lockdown loomed, I realised I didn’t have the kit to run in the cold. The wellness bounty enabled me to buy active wear that would be warm enough. Exercising outdoors really helped with my mental wellbeing and knowing that I was going to be able to continue to use running as an outlet lifted a big weight off my shoulders.”

Georgie

“I’ve invested in some refreshed yoga equipment, including this eco yoga mat. Yoga is a bit like the swiss army knife of exercise for me – it can be intensive, restorative, focusing – whatever you need it to be. Having a new mat has been very welcome.”

Grace

“During the pandemic I channelled a lot of energy into creative activities. I used my wellness bounty to buy some papercutting, silver jewellery-making and arm knitting supplies.

“Being able to focus on a task I could control, and then have something tangible at the end that I can now enjoy, has done wonders for my wellbeing. And I’ve discovered some lifelong skills in the process!”

Sadie

“I’ve used some of my wellness bounty so far on some walking shoes, for trekking around the Cornish coast when visiting family. I’d had my eyes on them for a while but couldn’t quite afford them, so I’ve been extremely pleased to now have the means to do so! I look forward to making the most of the rest of my wellness bounty and remain appreciative to work at such a thoughtful agency who support health and wellbeing.”

Laura

“I’ve put my wellness bounty towards some new trainers for the London Marathon 2021!  Hoping they will keep me niggle free and help me get across the finish line in October!”

Jevan

“I used my wellness bounty for my gym membership and an apple fitness subscription, which has kept me active during lockdown (and kept my sanity). It’s so nice to work for a company that supports employees’ wellbeing, across both physical and mental health.”

02
Jul
Grace French

Has the pandemic set us back 50 years, or will it propel us forward?

Posted by Grace FrenchTagged , ,

At its onset, Covid-19 was described as the great leveller. But the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated inequalities across many facets of life. For many, the situation has never been worse. But we also discovered a renewed intolerance for inequalities, a greater appreciation for those around us, and a desire to cement a better future for all.

This has created a unique moment for change. It’s vital that we examine what’s changed during the pandemic – both the good and the bad – and learn from it, to create a more equal and inclusive society.

Shining a light on mental health, during the pandemic we saw a story of two halves; more people struggling with mental health, and more people speaking up about it. In a year of drastic change and lockdowns the mental health of people of all ages and backgrounds has been greatly impacted. At the same time, mental health is being discussed more than ever and there’s a desire to improve mental health outcomes as we emerge from the pandemic – which itself comes with its own stressors.

The figures speak for themselves. Depression and anxiety levels significantly increased since the pandemic began, but at the same time diagnoses and referrals plummeted in lockdown. This is creating a pressure point – with an anticipated 11% increase in referrals in the next 3 years – a bottleneck of people who urgently need support.

Read more “Has the pandemic set us back 50 years, or will it propel us forward?”

06
May
Grace French

Celebrating a positive shift across the industry

Posted by Grace French

The PR Week Best Places to Work Awards holds a particular significance this year. In an industry that’s known for being dynamic, adaptive and where “no two days are the same”, this has taken on a whole new meaning during the pandemic.

We’re honoured to have been shortlisted for our employee support during Covid-19, for the numerous ways in which we adapted and bolstered our wellbeing, training and development programmes to support our colleagues. We’re proud of the recognition both from PR Week and the feedback we’ve received from our colleagues, so for us, being shortlisted is a win.

We’d like to congratulate all the winners of the PR Week Best Places to Work this year, for prioritising their colleagues and knowing the difference this can make. The fact the competition was so stiff this year is testament to the many agencies of all shapes and sizes who are doing the right thing.

It’s inspiring to see a shift happening across the agency – the pandemic, though incredibly challenging at times, has acted as a catalyst for positive change. Gone is the era where paying lip service to wellbeing and support is acceptable. Gone are the days when superficial perks will be preferred over meaningful, tailored support.

Read more “Celebrating a positive shift across the industry”

19
Mar
Grace French

A year of working from home

Posted by Grace FrenchTagged , , , ,

How we’ve adapted, what we’ve learnt, and what will change

Like so many others, I remember the surreal afternoon of 16th March 2020 very clearly. At Stand HQ, we were gathered around our TV watching Boris Johnson urge the nation to start working from home immediately.

At the time, it was assumed we’d be a ‘WFH nation’ for a few weeks. But fast-forward a year and our dining tables are still our desks, our lounges are our offices, and our pets make regular guest appearances on video calls.

In a year where time has (almost) lost all meaning, we’ve been reflecting on what a full year of working from home has meant to us, not only as colleagues, but also as a nation.

It’s been a year of fundamental change that’s prompted governments, industries, businesses and individuals to evolve out of necessity, but also to reflect on what really matters. It’s been a reset button that we never could have planned for, but that we have to act on.

So, as lockdown restrictions gradually lift (third time lucky) and offices begin to re-open, we’ll be enthusiastically returning to a “new different” rather than a “new normal.”

Here are our key learnings and reflections from a year like no other:

Adapt quickly, stay flexible

We work on laptops so could adapt immediately to WFH. But of course, there were teething problems to overcome, with WFH environments varying greatly. Our serviced office has remained open and Covid-compliant, but recognising that everyone has individual personal and commuting circumstances, we couldn’t rely on this as a solution for all.

A quickfire investment in screens, office chairs, keyboards and headsets ensured we could all work from home effectively. Looking forward, we’re now set up for greater flexibility, and productive working, both at the office and from home.

Quality, not quantity communication

The transition to WFH is a major one at the best of times. But during a time of significant confusion, emotion, and concern, it had to be managed sensitively. Keeping colleagues connected and avoiding isolation, without overwhelming our diaries with meetings and socials, was a delicate balance to strike. Over time we found the perfect balance: a weekly company meeting, wellness-focused session, 1-2-1 coffee catch up, and a fun activity (needle-felting, pub quizzes, jazzercize, laughter yoga – you name it, we’ve done it!).

We’ll be adapting this model as we head back into the office, and continuing to dedicate time to celebrating success, alongside prioritising wellbeing and creativity. 

Read more “A year of working from home”

11
Jan
Grace French

We Believe that ‘Better’ is on the horizon – so we’re helping brands get there

Posted by Grace FrenchTagged , , , , ,

Why we’re joining forces with LONDON Advertising and Pimento to offer reduced fees for new clients in January.

As the reality of lockdown 3.0 sets in, and with conversations already taking place about it being extended ‘til Easter, it can be all too easy to feel gloomy about 2021. Wasn’t it meant to be ‘better’ than 2020?

The sense of unease amongst individuals and businesses is all too understandable. But with vaccines being rolled out, ‘better’ is coming – and in the meantime we as a nation we must strive to come out of January with an energy and optimism to see us through the coming months.

In a year of lockdown and decreased interaction, communication has proven itself to be a lifeline for many. Relationships between many brands and their consumers have been cemented or shattered in a tense landscape.

Over the next few months, we will see more brands examining their positioning and their purpose, the changes they want to make happen, and how this fits into a post-Covid world. With a collective sense that there are lessons to be learnt from the pandemic – both positive and negative – this time of introspection is critical, and will lay the groundwork for more meaningful comms going forward.

Read more “We Believe that ‘Better’ is on the horizon – so we’re helping brands get there”

16
Sep
Grace French

Believe in Better: Insight and inspiration from industry leaders

Posted by Grace French

Back in July this year we spoke to Steve Swayne, Chair of the Institute for Turnaround – a membership organisation of highly trained professionals in business turnaround and transformation.

In this episode we discuss the work the IFT does in helping struggling businesses go from distress to success.

With thousands of businesses battling to survive during and beyond the pandemic, it’s crucial to understand how vital the work that turnaround professionals do and how their skills can potentially save thousands of businesses from insolvency and make them viable again.

Watch this space for future episodes of Believe in Better with more inspiring thought leaders from our network.

To learn more about Stand Agency, work with or collaborate with us, please email ask@standagency.com. Follow us on Twitter @standsays

04
May
Grace French

During lockdown, the power of a book is even more profound

Posted by Grace FrenchTagged , , , ,

In our second year working with the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction, we’ve found ourselves pitching the story to the press in amongst an incredibly unpredictable and competitive media landscape. Headlines are rightfully dominated by news around the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic, and media outlets are increasingly offering support and guidance to the public on how to navigate our temporary ‘new normal’.

Read more “During lockdown, the power of a book is even more profound”

17
Jul
Grace French

Breaking the taboo with the launch of a new helpline

Posted by Grace FrenchTagged , , , , , , ,

Being a victim of a fraud or a scam isn’t the easiest topic to tackle – no one likes thinking that they might have done something ‘wrong’ or been ‘caught out’. Which is why we jumped at the opportunity to support the launch of a new service to make having these conversations easier, and to break the taboo around what is the most common crime in England and Wales.

To launch the Reassura helpline, we developed an integrated PR, social and digital campaign around the concept of breaking the taboo when it comes to talking about fraud and scams. Everyone has a story to tell – so why aren’t people doing so? And what is the impact of this silence?

Read more “Breaking the taboo with the launch of a new helpline”