International Stress Awareness Week, 1-5 November 2021

So you’re feeling stressed?

Stress is something we are all familiar with, and study after study show that work-related stress is on the rise. Any job can contain stressful elements, and short-term stress is not necessarily harmful. In fact, a small amount of stress can actually boost productivity and help us perform in high pressure situations. This is known as optimal stress. Plus there are plenty of things we can do as individuals to manage our stress levels and reduce the impact of stress when it occurs. From setting boundaries to taking breaks, getting regular exercise and practicing mindfulness. However, if stress becomes chronic, it can be harmful to our physical and mental health. And if stress is experienced widely throughout a workplace, it can be detrimental to company success too. It damages morale, reduces productivity and is a major cause of employee absence.

Stress solutions

But the good news is that stress is something that can be managed, moderated and prevented. And it’s not something we have to tackle alone as individuals. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect employees from stress, and taking steps to reduce workplace stress can benefit the entire team. Getting the basics right, such as providing a safe, supportive working environment and setting reasonable workloads and expectations, goes a long way. However, more and more employers are recognising the value in going beyond the basics and investing in stress-management activities that can positively enhance employee wellbeing.

The power of a good lunch

Here at Social Pantry, we are big believers in the power of a good lunch to keep people happy and nourished. We all love a good old work perk, and delicious office catering is certainly one way to a workforce’s hearts. But we know the benefits go beyond simply enjoying a freshly made, super seasonal, and stylish lunch. We emphasise the importance of keeping a team fuelled and energized with nutritious and varied corporate catering. We can offer pretty much anything you could dream up, with our breakfast pots, mid-morning snacks, cold and hot lunches and afternoon snacks all being popular options. Plus great workplace catering makes food a point of community and connection. No more running off to grab the nearest convenience option. No more #saddesklunches.

Corporate wellbeing programmes we love

This International Stress Awareness Week, we’re shining the light on other brilliant organisations that share our mission of changing company culture by going into workplaces with innovative offerings to support employee wellbeing. From pet therapy to desk yoga to cutting-edge creative events and workshops, here are some of our favourite corporate wellbeing options that can help your team feel calm, cared for and collected:

Paws In Work

Paws In Work offer specialist puppy therapy services for companies looking to boost employee wellbeing, combat stress and encourage team bonding. They bring a litter of utterly loveable puppies into the workplace, create a dedicated puppy-safe environment, and then welcome employees to step away from their desk to enjoy some puppy cuddles. Employees return to work feeling relaxed, refreshed and in a better headspace to get on with their day.

It makes sense that taking some time out to enjoy puppy cuddles and belly rubs would leave you in a good mood. Playing with animals can elevate levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax. That overwhelming feeling of love we might experience is due to the release of oxytocin – a hormone related to affection. And there are plenty of scientific studies showing a positive effect on physiological signs of stress, such as helping lower blood pressure and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. To top it off, it’s great for the puppies too! Puppies need playtime as part of their development and socialisation. So it’s a win all round!

We can’t get over the adorable photos Paws In Work share on their Instagram! Just looking at them lifts our mood!

Heaps + Stacks

Heaps + Stacks is a new-generation, multi-discipline experience design studio. In other words, they design and deliver bespoke brand experiences that dabble in food and drink, set design, aquatic plants, flower pressing and just about anything you can think of! Their interactive workshops and immersive experiences are a great way to engage, motivate and inspire company members, as well as the target audience of VIP guests and clients.

Heaps + Stacks has come up with a range of creative mailer concepts for International Stress Week designed to reduce stress and promote positive wellbeing. Their ideas are based around the key wellness trends of the post-pandemic world and encourage recipients to step away from their screens and focus on the present moment! Heaps + Stacks have come up custom puzzles made made from recycled wood or printed on seeded paper that reveal a one-of-a-kind artwork design upon completion and can be planted to spring a botanical garden. They have also created a multi-sensory curated bath experience that includes aromatherapy, curated playlists, soundscapes, lighting and breathing techniques designed to immerse recipients into bliss. We can feel ourselves exhale just thinking about their innovative concepts!

We also love their commitment to sustainability. Heaps + Stacks is a carbon neutral workforce; they donate leftover fresh flowers to the charity Floral Angels who restyle leftover flowers into arrangements for more vulnerable members of the community; and they partner with food charities to re-distribute leftover food.

The Yeh Yoga Co

The Yeh Yoga Co are one of the most innovative providers of virtual and on-site yoga, fitness and corporate wellbeing experiences in the workplace. They offer sessions as short as one-off 15 minute energisers to long-term bespoke wellness programs. Workplace yoga and other wellbeing activities have been proven to positively impact company culture and enhance individual wellbeing – physical, mental and emotional. From improving employee loyalty and reducing staff turnover, building a sense of community and breaking down barriers, to increasing focus, productivity and happiness at work; the benefits are widespread.

We all know that feeling of having spent too long at our desks, hunched over our computers like a croissant, feeling stiff, stressed and reaching for another coffee just to get through the day. The Yeh Yoga Co step in to change that. Desk yoga, chair yoga and virtual classes also provide convenient options that can be easily integrated into company life. Workplace wellbeing positive disruption with minimal interruption to the working day! (We also love the brilliant quotes, affirmations and reminders to take a deep breath that they share over on Instagram!)

 

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Kelly’s Cause

Kelly’s Cause is the UK’s leading MHFA trainer in hospitality. Kelly’s Cause offers online and in-person, two-day and half-day Mental Health First Aid England certified courses to people across all levels of the hospitality industry. They also offer in-house training for entire teams. While Mental Health First Aid is universally applicable, their courses are framed by a focus on the hospitality industry. This means they can tailor advice to the challenges and realities of hospitality specifically, and equip participants with relevant, actionable skills and solutions to look after their own mental health and support a person experiencing mental health difficulties.

Having trained Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace can go a long way to enhancing company wellbeing. MHFA course participants are trained to spot the signs of a number of different mental health issues, as well as risk factors (including those related to the working environment) which could contribute to stress and mental health strain. They are equipped with ideas and resources to make positive changes to the working environment, implement preventative strategies, sign post to further help, and provide support to someone in a mental health crisis. Simply having better conversations around mental health in the workplace is a great first step to looking after a company’s collective wellbeing. Just knowing there is someone in the workplace who understands can give employees confidence to speak up earlier if they are struggling, and help teams come up with solutions.

Here at Social Pantry, we are well aware of some of the unique challenges of working in hospitality. We think Kelly’s Cause is doing an amazing job to target this unique industry!

Crosstown Doughnuts

Crosstown Doughnuts offer award-winning doughnuts baked fresh daily in London and available for delivery nationwide. Crosstown Doughnuts is a from-scratch bakery, rolling their dough by hand and making all of their jams, compotes, fillings and toppings in-house, fresh everyday, using the finest seasonal ingredients for real, honest flavour. They created the world’s first yeast-raised sourdough base for their doughnuts, and in 2017 came up with a vegan hybrid sourdough that is just as delicious as the original. So when it comes to office catering, corporate gifting and rewarding hard-working teams, a box of Crosstown doughnuts is in a whole other league to a dozen Krispy Kremes.

We love the sound of their Back-To-The-Office Essentials box, pairing their signature doughnuts or new super-thick cookies with Crosstown’s own Espresso or drinks from some of our favourite speciality drinks companies. These include Good & Proper Tea, Prana Chai and Mörk Chocolate which combine great product with great ethics! The Working From Home Box delivered to doorsteps nationwide also sounds like a great way to reward team members who have been working hard from home throughout the pandemic. Oh, and we can’t wait to see their Christmas specials! Bring on the Christmas office treats!

 

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We hope you’ve enjoyed our round up of brilliant businesses promoting workplace wellbeing – if you’re interested in having Social Pantry cater for your team, please get in touch.

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