Leeds Mindful Employer Network speaks to Sam Chana from WRM Ltd, one of our newest members of the Leeds Mindful Employer Network.
Firstly, could you tell us a bit about you and WRM?
WRM is a niche environmental and sustainability consultancy with a team of 15 employees. The company’s purpose is to support organisations to rise to the challenge of a changing climate and the resultant impact to our environment, through their project goals.
My role within WRM is to work sustainably to support the MD with the day to day running of the business which generally encompasses management of office environment and facilities; reviewing and maintaining businesses processes, policies and procedures; finance and payroll; and HR and people. I always strive to promote sustainable working practices and procedures to fit in with the values and ethos of WRM’s net zero carbon target. I am also actively leading to promote positive mental health work and wellbeing practices within the business and currently working on developing WRM’s Wellbeing Strategy with the help of the Leeds Mindful Employers Network’s 10 Steps Toolkit framework. I am also excited to seek and build new partnerships both internally and externally with the purpose of working on shared initiatives through collaboration and cohesive working to make a bigger impact locally and nationally.
Sam Chana at the WRM offices.
Why is staff mental health important at WRM?
We know that mental health is one of the most prevalent causes of sickness absence within the UK. WRM have not knowingly experienced high levels of sickness absence in relation to mental health, however we want a framework to support employees that may be experiencing mental health difficulties and may not feel confident speaking about this openly. We want employees to feel encouraged to seek assistance and support within the workplace environment.
The aspiration is that by having a good framework in place, we will potentially help reduce any sickness absences that may have occurred in relation to mental health. By providing this support and demonstrating a greater understanding, we will be able to maintain and promote a happy workforce and positive employee wellbeing. We also want employees to experience less stress and burnout, and by providing a healthy environment to work in, employees will feel more energised and have an improved work-life balance, leading to improved wellbeing.
In this current economic climate, we are passionate about normalising conversations about poor mental health and promoting open communications amongst the workforce, and are working towards removing any stress, anxiety and associated stigma in relation to this topic.
Tell us about your role in supporting staff wellbeing
I’m proud to have become an active spokesperson representing WRM’s membership of the Leeds Mindful Employer Network which has enabled me to champion positive mental health and wellbeing at WRM. This has required review of all working practices to ensure all our processes and procedures are considerate, coherent, fair, and inclusive. We are currently using the 10 Steps Toolkit produced by The Leeds Mindful Employer Network as guidance to develop a Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for WRM, and looking forward to launching this very soon. I also actively share resources from The Leeds Mindful Employer Network to help signpost our employees to local support services and self-help literature and resources. I am also a qualified Mental Health First Aider, and there are other members of the team in the process of becoming qualified which will help provide more skilled support for positive mental wellbeing within the business for everyone.
What are you most proud of in WRM’s approach to staff wellbeing?
WRM is passionate about this topic as it values people at the heart of its business. Every person’s positive mental health and wellbeing is a top priority for WRM, and it is aspiring to do everything possible as an employer, to promote positive mental health practices and keep this subject at the forefront of its values.
What are your priorities for the months ahead?
I want to do so many things. First of all, I want to create a blog for the network, so that’s done now! I want to keep working on WRM’s Strategy and policy for positive mental health and wellbeing. I’m also currently designing a Wellness Space in the office where staff can relax and take a moment for themselves. I’d also like to do a Pulse Survey to get insight from the team on what they think about wellbeing at WRM. Finally, I want to really encourage all staff to complete a Wellness Action Plan.
What does it mean for WRM to be a Mindful Employer?
We feel empowered by our new status as a Mindful Employer and proud to have the opportunity to be part of a science-backed, NHS-approved initiative for positive mental health and wellbeing. Through the Mindful Employer network, we have been able to experience stories of people that have lived experience of mental health and their journey to positive mental health. This is very inspiring and enforces our commitment to drive some real action into practice for our workforce and put meaningful support measures in place.
What would you say to someone who is considering becoming part of the Leeds Mindful Employer Network?
Join! It will be the best thing you will ever do for your business. Every time I attend one of your events, I return to work completely inspired and having learned something new. There is access to a plethora of resources, and support available through the Leeds Network, and had we not joined, we would have missed out on this valuable resource.
Leeds Mindful Employer Network pools information into one easily accessible space; a ‘one stop’ shop. It provides great direction and support for any business wanting to develop strategies for positive mental health and wellbeing, and it is also a great resource for signposting access to support for all employees.