Over recent years, we've seen the spotlight on mental health in the workplace grow brighter. Reflecting back on the recent Mental Health Awareness Week, it's encouraging to see increased recognition of these issues. However, unfortunately, we live in a world where people battling mental health conditions still face bias and hurdles in obtaining the support they need.
The World Health Organization reminds us that the absence of solid support can chip away at an employee's confidence, hinder productivity, trigger more frequent absences, could stop people from getting promoted, and even make keeping or finding a job incredibly challenging. Therefore, as employers, it's our responsibility to craft an environment that supports mental wellbeing, allocates resources effectively, and works hard to dissolve the stigma associated with mental health. This belief forms the basis of our ethos at BioStrata.
At BioStrata, we've always believed in the power of our people. Each team member, whilst sharing the same set of core values, brings unique skills, personal attributes and strengths that shape our collective identity. But what underpins all of this is something even more fundamental: mental health. We’re committed to fostering a team environment that actively encourages self-care and prioritises mental wellbeing, knowing full well how these factors drive engagement, motivation and productivity — elements crucial to our shared success.
In this blog post, we explore how BioStrata's recent initiatives (which saw us shortlisted for ‘Best Workplace Health and Wellbeing Awareness Initiative (Agency)' at the 2023 UK Company Culture Awards) are bolstering our team's health and wellbeing, and how we plan to continue our proactive approach prioritising the needs of our people.
An introduction to our “people first” ethos
In contrast to the pressurised and fast-paced environment typically associated with agencies, we aim to redefine the “norm” by always putting our people first. Every decision we make is driven by the best interests of our team members.
We believe that by attracting and retaining like-minded people who live and breathe the same core values, and who share the same passion for our mission to help our clients bring 100 game-changing scientific impacts to market by 2030, we can give everyone in our team the opportunity to reach their full potential, do great work together and enjoy themselves doing it.
We've created a unique “3Ps” business model, covering People, Purpose and Profit (in that order), that demonstrates how by supporting our People, we can achieve our Purpose by doing a great job for our clients which brings in the Profits needed to further invest in our people.
At BioStrata, we firmly believe that our team forms the bedrock of our success. We understand that a happy team is a motivated team. By ensuring our people are well-taken care of, we empower them to channel their energy and creativity into providing exceptional service to our clients. Our team's shared passion, energy, and knowledge drives our mission to ultimately make the world a better place. Without prioritising our team's health and wellbeing, we wouldn’t be able to deliver the best work for our clients and fulfil our mission.
A look at our recent health and wellbeing initiatives
Our long-term mission is to be pioneering world-leading mechanisms for our team's health and wellbeing. With several supportive initiatives already in place, last year we took it up a gear by officially launching an ongoing company-wide health and wellbeing initiative designed to improve the physical, mental, and emotional health of our employees.
Spearheaded by our People and Culture Manager, Caroline, this initiative includes various programmes and employee support mechanisms. From enhancing our health and wellbeing benefits, to sharing supportive advice on improving and maintaining wellbeing, and instilling mechanisms for early intervention and support within the team where possible.
So far, Caroline has implemented a series of health and wellbeing programmes ranging from sharing regular wellbeing tips and tricks, various wellness gifts, including spring bulbs to plant (as featured in the blog image at the top of the page!), and organising team activities that promote health and wellbeing, such as a trip to the Cambridge Aqua Park last Summer. The team was also given a 'positive potato' gift and mental health support leaflet (also featured at the top of the page), a small but meaningful gesture to remind everyone that their mental health is a priority to us. In addition to these programmes, we’ve adopted a hybrid-working policy and continue to maintain openness to flexible hours as we believe that a flexible work environment is integral to our team's mental health.
Notably, Caroline also actively seeks team feedback and sends the team an anonymous quarterly engagement survey to help ensure everyone remains motivated and fulfilled. These surveys have provided valuable insights into our team’s workload and stress levels, enabling us to take proactive measures to prevent burnout.
But that’s not all. Our agency operating system (EOS) instils productive, structured weekly team meetings that include dedicated time for solving any barriers to completing projects and goals. For the first half of the meetings, everyone shares their personal and business bests with one another, which often spreads much happiness and laughter. We also run quarterly company meetings to provide full transparency on where the business is heading and celebrate the team’s quarterly achievements.
The importance of a work-life balance and the impact it has on mental health is something we understand and take seriously, so we proactively manage workflow to ensure that nobody is being overstretched. To aid homelife, our employee benefits package includes the likes of Perkbox, which provides hundreds of benefits and discounts, and YuLife, which gamifies physical activity with rewards to incentivise investing time in their wellbeing. We also provide in-house yoga classes and an ergonomic standing desk at the office, all aimed at promoting physical and mental health. Caroline is also planning a new programme aiming to foster open communication between the team and HR on topics like mental health, development, and regular check-ins.
"Working at BioStrata is quite unique actually. It’s very much a family culture, everyone cares about each other." – Jean-Pierre (JP) Joubert, Senior Account Manager
You can hear directly from JP and others in the team about what it’s like to work at BioStrata and some of the support offered in the video below.
A supportive working environment where your health and wellbeing matters
BioStrata's commitment to supporting the team's mental health is more than just an initiative; it's a fundamental part of our culture. As we work towards our long-term company goals, we’re committed to continuously improving our health and wellbeing initiatives to ensure our team is supported and valued. We recognise that every individual is unique, and so are their mental health needs. Therefore, our approach to mental health is not one-size-fits-all. We strive to provide a supportive environment and resources that cater to the diverse needs of our team.
At BioStrata, we believe that a happy, healthy team is crucial to our success. We will continue to prioritise mental health and well-being, fostering an environment where our team feels supported, valued, and empowered to do their best work.
If you're looking for a workplace that genuinely cares about you and your wellbeing, values your individuality, and offers supportive resources, we invite you to consider joining our team. Together, we can continue to create a positive, supportive, and inclusive environment that promotes mental health and wellness.