The headline for this article may at first glance, seem somewhat selfish or self-centered however looking after oneself is really important, it allows you to look after others. I overheard a conversation between a fellow passenger and the flight attendant on a recent flight to Salalah who asked why we should fit our own oxygen mask first before helping those less able, the response captured it quite nicely:
“You must put your own oxygen mask before assisting your parent, sibling, partner or child. … Because if you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen masks anyway”.
This is the kind of mindset we should have in our lives; we need to learn the new habit of looking after and appreciating ourselves first whilst leaving time, effort, consideration, and empathy for others.
The wellbeing of all employees continues to be at the heart of decision making at Douglas OHI, and thankfully having this ethos has helped the company and its people during the ongoing transition through the pandemic. We have amplified our focus on people by leveraging our culture with the pandemic now into its second year.
The past year has been challenging for everyone, on both professional and personal levels. From moments of feeling isolated from family, friends, and colleagues to lockdown restrictions. It’s no wonder the pandemic took a toll on our mental and physical health.
All that said, and going back to the conversation on an airplane, we must make time to ensure we have enough “oxygen” to get us through these challenges whilst helping and supporting others, this logic applies to business as well as individuals.
How we define our “oxygen” will differ immensely and we will all have our own thoughts on that.
Embedded in our culture
Employee wellbeing is deeply embedded in our culture which we convey through our “It’s OK” people-based wellbeing programme. This programme, which we had the pleasure of rolling out 2 years ago is borne out of senior managements’ commitment placing people at the very heart of everything we do. This programme:
Employees can participate in scheduled activities, courses, events, and workshops organised across our business at all sites. It’s all about ensuring that employees can take care of themselves, colleagues, friends and families.
We turned the “oxygen” up in 2020.
The promotion of employee health and wellbeing through scheduled activities, events, and workshops is rooted deep within Douglas OHI’s culture. And in 2020, when the pandemic turned our work-life habits upside down, we were able to reinforce and give an oxygen boost to support to employees.
We’ve focused the It’s OK’ programme on raising awareness of mental health, encouraging our people to talk and to connect with others. They know that sometimes it is ok, not to be okay. In collaboration with external institutions, we hosted a series of webinars covering a wellbeing theme such as cancer awareness for both men and women.
There are of course dangers with introducing any behavioural based HSSE programme, however good the intention, the temptation may remain to find the fault and apportion blame, this is often done in a downward direction and rarely upwards. That said if done with an open and honest approach and one that allows for open dialogue, for the use of open questions, such an approach is like a breath of fresh air, i.e., it introduces oxygen, the stuff of life!
Supporting the conversation on mental health – mind matters/mine matters.
According to the World Health Organization, one in four of us will experience a mental‐health issue in our lifetime. To foster an environment where we all feel safe and well, we need to ensure we not only take care of our own wellbeing but also take care of each other. We’re encouraging employees to break down the barriers about mental health and better understand the causes and symptoms of mental disorders.
We want to equip everyone at Douglas OHI with the tools to be able to recognise the signs of stress and anxiety in themselves and in their colleagues. By recognising that ‘It’s ok not to be ok’ and encouraging conversations around wellbeing issues, we aim to create a culture where talking mental health is normalised, and everyone feels comfortable discussing it.
Douglas OHI ‘It’s OK’ programme is aimed at early intervention and destigmatising mental‐health issues. By raising awareness, we are making all our people ‘wellbeing ambassadors’, creating better collaboration and strengthening team spirit ensuring our employees can thrive now and in the future.