I’m Hayley, I work as Studio Manager / Mum and as a Mental Health First Aider for FuturLab. At the start of the pandemic, we were catapulted into a new world of remote working, and it became evident very early on that getting that feeling of togetherness and engagement was not going to be easy! Add to that an extremely successful game (PowerWash Simulator, since you ask 😉 ) and a subsequent recruitment drive, I’ve really had to think fast about how to retain our small family vibe both online and in an ever changing landscape, whilst taking into consideration the effects of the pandemic on the teams overall wellbeing… I mean, I’m exhausted just reading that paragraph but have a huge sense of achievement because I honestly feel like I’m doing alright, you know?!
Over the past two years I have tried many things, from virtual escape rooms, pub quizzes and even wreath making through to stretching and breathing exercises, regular hangout calls, gifts such as house plants, cookies, novelty socks… some have been great, some have fallen flat on their face but overall, we are thriving!
Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day and for this I decided to take the concept of ‘Secret Santa’ and use it to spread kindness in the name of good fun and community spirit! The team signed up, drew a name from the virtual hat and were tasked with getting to know that person. This was great in several ways but mostly because it got people that wouldn’t have otherwise spoken, speaking. It also made people really consider what kind of person they are (always a good opportunity to redefine values, right?!) I asked people to think outside the box, set a very small budget and off they went. We’ve so far seen some beautifully thoughtful gifts. I also started a thread in the company slack channel inviting people to call out a fellow colleague for being super kind/helpful/all-round awesome person and that’s going well so far… giving us all the warm and fuzzy feels!
I recently attended a webinar with Mental Health England and am linking up with fellow MHFA’s within the gaming industry to share how were embedding mental wellbeing practices within our businesses so watch this space for more!