To complement last week’s Guernsey Mind’s ‘Change for the Good’ conference, staff at Deloitte participated in a series of wellbeing at work initiatives.

Deloitte sponsored Guernsey Mind’s annual conference and dinner and former Deloitte Partner and Trustee of Mind UK, John Binns, shared his own experiences of mental health problems at the events.

The professional services firm is working hard to break down the taboos of mental health issues at work and scheduled a programme of office-based events for staff.

Jo Huxtable, Partner, Deloitte said: ‘As employers we have staff wellbeing at the top of our agenda. We work in a high pressure industry and our “always on” digital environment can heighten stress and have a negative impact on physical and mental health.

‘At Deloitte we are committed to breaking down any taboos about mental health problems. It is only by being open and sensitive to the problem that we can give our people the help they might need.’

The week-long programme included seated acupressure massage sessions and an introduction to yoga, mindfulness and TaiChi. Deloitte invited Mindful Guernsey to deliver a short, office-based “mindful movement” session for the team aimed at giving staff new techniques to help handle stress and aid relaxation. Mindfulness has been embraced by businesses across the UK in a bid to reduce work-related stress and improve focus and productivity.

Alex Adam, Director, Deloitte, said: ‘I learnt some simple mindfulness techniques that I can see will be useful and easy to use in stressful situations.’

Warren Mauger and Phil Smith spoke to staff about the benefits of physical exercise on workplace wellbeing and how they stayed motivated during their recent Epic48 challenge. A number of staff members have recently participated in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, various Charity Challenges and the Royal Parks Half Marathon and the benefits of physical exercise on mental wellbeing are well-proven.

As well as his Guernsey Mind conference commitments, John Binns also spoke at Deloitte’s Guernsey office about his own personal mental health experiences. When John was a Deloitte partner, he had to take three months off work and found his colleagues and the firm reacted with “unfaltering kindness”. But knowing that many sufferers of depression do so in silence, John started working with mental health charity Mind and within Deloitte, to develop strategies to help support staff with mental health issues.

Staff were also able to sign up for occupational health screenings with Jean Preston, a health advisor from Deloitte. Ms Preston performed checks on height, weight, BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol and offered information on issues such as resilience, drinking, eating well and breast and testicular checks.

Jo Huxtable concludes: ‘This year Deloitte staff have participated in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) – a wellbeing and fitness initiative. This was fun for staff to do and developed positive habits around sport, exercise, good nutrition and sleep. This was also an important building block in our strategy to support our staff’s mental health as these factors are proven to play an important role in maintaining the healthy chemical balances in the body and the brain, contributing significantly towards rebuilding and maintaining mental and emotional resilience.’