Like many companies across the world, back in March 2020, we took the decision to minimise the number of staff working in our offices, resulting in many being asked to work from home, to reduce contact with others, and help stop the spread of COVID 19. This was a big change for all of our teams and, like any changes to working life, we were aware that this could impact on the health and well-being of our staff.

Even now, a big percentage of our workforce continue to work remotely, whilst others going into our offices have been working in smaller teams. Whatever their individual situations, all of our staff have had to face the pressures and challenges of adjusting to new ways of working.

We started to see very early on that for staff working from home, the combination of lockdown restrictions, zero commute and back-to-back Teams meetings meant that many employees were putting in long days without a substantial break or taking time away from their desk to exercise. 

Whilst working from home means you don’t have as many interruptions during the day, it also results in less ‘unconscious breaks’, such as a conversations with colleague in the office, walking to a meeting, a visit to the staff kitchen to make a coffee, or chatting over the printer. These important micro-breaks give our staff a natural time to pause their thinking and reboot before re-commencing a task or moving onto something new. We were also finding that ‘conscious’ planned breaks, like lunch and coffee breaks were not always being taken.

Staff well-being is a really important part of the culture here at CTEK and our HR team works hard to ensure that staff feel happy, supported and motived. Over the past 12 months we have been working harder than ever before, to really understand the ways that employees were affected by these changes, so that we could continue to create a positive working environment and help staff manage these challenges.

So back in September 2020, as we started to see winter set in, and days get shorter, we launched our catch the light initiative. This company-wide initiative encouraged all of our employees to take a break during the working day to get out and catch some daylight. 

These breaks were essential in helping our staff de-stress and re-charge for the rest of the workday and have a really positive impact.