Aviva has offered a range of activities, tools and other support including a dedicated wellbeing day off to help employees and revealed that it will be re-thinking how it uses office space with more home working.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Health & Protection spoke with Dr Subashini M, associate medical director, UK health & protection at Aviva, about some of the initiatives it has implemented.
Dr Subashini M (pictured) revealed support included recognition of staff juggling their jobs with caring responsibilities and home schooling during lockdown by paying people in full, regardless of the hours they were able to work.
The insurer also ran a programme of wellbeing and happiness events during the third lockdown including family quizzes, art competitions, live kids’ bakealongs and even a dog behaviour webinar.
An additional day off in 2021 has been granted specifically for wellbeing and there has been flexibility on first days back at school after lockdown.
Access has also been given to the insurer’s wellbeing app, it’s Digicare+ app, as well as external apps Headspace and Thrive to help build overall resilience and help specific areas such as sleep.
Return to the office
On employees’ return to work following lockdown, Dr Subashini M added the insurer would be welcoming more of its people back into Covid secure buildings if they would find it easier or better to work from the office.
“We will be driven by the data, follow government guidance and provide a safe space to work in our buildings for people who need it. Our focus continues to be on the safety and wellbeing of our people, customers and communities.”
But according to Dr Subashini M, a positive outcome of the last year is that it has busted the myths around outdated and restrictive ways of working.
“The vast majority of people want to work flexibly, so businesses need to take responsibility for providing guidance to leaders and their teams on how and where they work to achieve the best outcomes for customers, organisations and individuals,” she said.
“Ninety five per cent of our people have said they’d like to work more flexibly in the future.”
And Dr Subashini M adds the way Aviva uses its office space in the future will change significantly.
“As our people continue to work in a new flexible, smart working way, our offices will become more collaborative spaces and less about rows of desks,” she continued.
“Offices won’t exist for people to check emails; they will become the ideal place for work that inspires creativity and collaboration.
“We need to think about how hybrid working looks in practice. For example, certain meetings work better face-to-face, like performance reviews. Team meetings might work better virtually – but only if everyone joins virtually whether they’re in the office or not, so that everyone has an equal voice.”