"We must not underestimate the impact of the current pandemic on mental wellbeing. Changing work patterns and concerns about the future can all cause heightened levels of anxiety and stress."
Landau, a leading charity for supported employment and training, launched the ‘Take-2’ initiative for its own 70 employees earlier this month, encouraging them to take two hours off work each week to exercise and relax.
It now wants employers right across the region to follow suit to improve the mental health of workers.
Recent research suggests that more people than ever before in the UK are facing a mental health crisis due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and enforced government lockdowns on people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Sonia Roberts is Chief Executive of Landau, a nationally recognised Centre of Excellence for supporting people with mental health conditions into employment. She said the initiative was already proving hugely successful and bringing a wealth of benefits.
“We must not underestimate the impact of the current pandemic on mental wellbeing. Changing work patterns and concerns about the future can all cause heightened levels of anxiety and stress.
“Our people are certainly our most valuable asset. They have an incredibly important role to play supporting many vulnerable and isolated people in our society.
“During the last lockdown we saw a significant increase in demand for our services so we know we need to support our staff in every possible way, to enable them to support others.
“This initiative gives our staff two hours paid leave each week to do something which boosts that feel-good factor whether it be going out for a walk, cycle, run or doing some yoga.
“It’s well documented that spending half an hour outside each day boosts health and this is exactly what we’re trying to achieve and so far the impact has been considerable.
“Feedback from our staff has been very positive and we are now encouraging other businesses across Shropshire to consider introducing a similar scheme.”
“The evidence speaks for itself,” added Mrs Roberts.
“If we ‘Take-2’ now, we can help safeguard our workforce against future mental ill health as well as maximise business productivity. It’s a win win for everyone.”
Employees taking part in the new initiative at Landau are encouraged to share photos of their ‘Take-2’ activities on the business intranet system.
Cerys Holder, the charity’s human resources partner said the scheme forms part of a wider wellbeing programme for their staff.
“Take 2 is building on a range of support that we put in place in March to help staff cope with lockdown.
“We recognised that during this second lockdown it would be harder for staff to get outside after work to do activities because of the darker, colder nights.
“Allowing them time during the day means staff can still take part in a wide range of outdoor activities safely.”
Earlier this year Landau, which has its head office in Wellington, became a Centre of Excellence for the work it does to help people with mental health conditions secure sustainable employment.
The service has also been recognised nationally by The RAND Corporation – an independent research organisation which guides changes in public policy. Earlier this year Landau became the highest scoring RAND reviewed wave 2 IPS service in the UK.
For more information on the services provided by Landau visit the website https://landau.co.uk