Following the enormous success of our Mental Health and Wellbeing Month in January, we’ve extended our programme to make sure it remains a core part of our company culture and activities. We recognise the vital importance of wellbeing to everyone, and that the pandemic (and winter!) has been a real challenge for everyone to cope with. As we move back to normality and more of our people return to the office, we want to continue to support their mental and physical wellbeing – now and in the future.

Looking back to January and our original Wellbeing Month, we ran a full programme of activities alongside our sister company Bridge Partners, including nightly Zoom sessions of yoga, tai chi, boot camp training and wellbeing talks. These were open to both employees and their families, and were recorded so that people could access them whenever was convenient. We also raised money for the local branch of MIND, to support the vital work that the charity does. Take-up was really high across the company, and it provided another way for employees to connect outside working hours, even if it was achieved remotely.

Extending support after Wellbeing Month

As we moved into February and March, we expanded the programme to cover wider mind, body and soul, running sessions on mindfulness and techniques for mental wellbeing. We’ve had talks from doctors and other experts on areas such as addiction to technology, good nutrition, and building resilience – all vital at the best of times, but particularly crucial in current lockdowns. We’ve added training for line managers on how to best manage teams and individuals remotely, as well as encouraging ideas such as walking conversations when they are in the office.

We’ve focused on the physical as well as mental side of wellbeing. We’ve entered a team in the virtual Cambridge Half Marathon, with everyone able to contribute to our total, and from the end of March will be hiring a local tennis court for staff to use on a Saturday morning. For those in the office there are regular lunchtime runs – all part of encouraging people to leave their desks and get fresh air during the day.

Creating a resource for the future

Our activities haven’t just revolved around wellbeing – we hold a games night every month (currently via Zoom), and managed to hold socially-distanced Summer BBQs and a team building day during the gaps between lockdowns in 2020.

As we’ve recorded all of the talks and sessions, we now have a wide-ranging library of wellbeing content that people can dip into from home or work, and will continue to add to this moving forward.

Given we provide critical infrastructure, our office has remained open during lockdowns, although many staff switched to homeworking to fit in with their particular needs. The return to the office may feel daunting to many people – it will be a big change to the routines that have built up over the past year, so we’re committed to helping people adapt and expect a range of hybrid working approaches to be adopted. Supporting everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing is a key part of Bridge Fibre’s culture, and whatever the future brings, this will continue into the rest of 2021 and beyond.

Kate Wesson, HR Manager