ANS Wellbeing Week 2018: Not just for October


Mental Health is slowly rising to the top of organisations’ agendas when it comes to employees’ quality of work life. Wednesday 10th October was World Mental Health Awareness Day and at ANS we pulled out all the stops to make not just Wednesday, but the entire week, dedicated to wellbeing in all its forms.

Wellbeing at ANS is centred around our people. We promote balanced/positive ways of working and provide a support system to make sure our people are as healthy and happy as possible. And that’s what wellbeing week was all about; letting all our employees know that it’s ok to talk and our door is always open. Each day we focused on an important aspect of wellbeing with activities and information for everyone to get involved in.

Monday 8th October – Wellbeing Week launch

We kicked off Wellbeing Week by talking about what wellbeing means. Our CEO, Paul Shannon, said, “At ANS we believe that good health and wellbeing are essential for our teams to flourish personally and professionally. Healthy behaviour inspires and motivates change and innovation which in turn allows business to drive forward.

That’s why the happiness of our employees is one of our top priorities because we want the best versions of our employees coming into work each day.”

The truth about wellbeing is that we never really know what is going on in each other’s lives, so the first day centred around our ‘It’s good to talk’ session. Our HR specialists were available to talk to our employees about anything and everything. It could have been just a chat or something they need help with, either way, our team was there whatever the topic.

Monday also saw the launch of our wellbeing tips competition. We asked our employees to share their wellbeing tips with each other and then the winner, picked at random, would win an extra days’ holiday! We had ideas on how technology, using apps, can support down time, after all we are in the IT industry. Others talked about how important exercise is and keeping endorphin levels high, some people even shared how small changes to daily routine like reading, listening to music and healthy diets help towards happier healthier lives.

The tips came from right across the business, we had a technical apprentice suggest a book called Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang and then moments later our CEO ordered the book online! It was amazing to see wellbeing week reaching employees from all corners of the business to support each other.

All that talk of exercise got employees inspired for a day dedicated to physical wellbeing.

Tuesday 9th October – Physical Wellbeing

Wellbeing covers all aspects our being and physical wellbeing is just as important as mental. We believe that if we look after ourselves on the outside, we can take better care of ourselves on the inside.

With this in mind, we jam packed Tuesday with activities designed to get the heart rate going such as yoga (ANS employees watch out for this becoming a regular thing!), a special edition of our weekly running club and reflexology sessions. All topped off with some healthy snacks around the office! The feedback from everyone who attended was brilliant, one employee even said she fell asleep during her reflexology session – it must have been good!

Day 2 - Physical Yoga


Wednesday 9th October – World Mental Health Awareness Day

Work related stress is the number one cause of poor mental health in the UK. Did you know that on average you have 50,000 thoughts every day? And 70-80% of those thoughts are negative! For every 1 negative thought, we have to have 5 positive ones to cancel it out. That’s a lot of positive thinking for one person. The little voice in your head has more impact than you know.

On Wednesday, we were joined by special guest, Julie McGann. Julie is Chief Wellness Designer at Unicorn and Co., she came to our office to give our employees a session on mental health fitness and how to combat stress. As it was world mental health awareness day, Julie invited our employees to take ownership of their own mental wellbeing and learn tools that will help them to deal with stress in a more effective way in the future.

Thursday 18th October – Emotional Wellbeing

When we improve our emotional wellbeing, which can be affected by depression, anxiety and stress, our mental health and physical health can also improve too. Our employees commented that some of the best ways to improve their emotional wellbeing was to manage your stress levels, be more mindful, foster healthy relationships, be more physically active, help other people and eat well. Well, it’s a good job we are promoting all those things then! 😉

Anthony Smoothey, Technical Architect at ANS, wrote a very personal blog about neurodiversity and his own experience of thinking differently. It’s a powerful piece that will hopefully help people to forget any associated stigmas surrounding neurodiversity. At ANS we value and celebrate our employees’ traits because they create amazing things!

Friday 12th October- Financial Wellbeing

The last day of wellbeing week was dedicated to all things financial! Financial worries are also one of the biggest causes of poor mental health. We all worry about money, paying bills, debt and budgeting but sometimes it can get on top of us. So to help us get on top of our financial worries, our Finance Director, Qaiser Akhtar, shared his top tips on financial wellbeing. From budgeting, to borrowing, to knowing exactly where your money is going, Qas has your financial fretting covered.

Also, on Friday, 9 of our employees underwent guided training to became qualified Mental Health First Aiders. They are now fully trained in how to spot the signs and symptoms of ill mental health and provide help on a first aid basis. This is a qualification that will stay with them forever, not just for this week. They will always be on hand to look out for their fellow colleagues when they need it most.

Day 5 - MHFA1 (002)


Everyone who took part said how insightful and inspiring the session was, the session made our mental health first aiders reflect on their own mental health wellbeing. They mentioned that whilst it’s amazing when friends and colleagues can look out for one another, sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves once in a while. It can never hurt to look after number 1, even for just a few minutes each day.

Our first wellbeing week was a huge success at ANS and it certainly won’t be the last. The most important thing we took from this week is that every week should be wellbeing week. We all have a continuous role to play in creating an environment that promotes positive wellbeing and supports those with poor mental health. We don’t have to be a doctor or a therapist, just keep the door open and offer a listening ear when our friends and colleagues need us. Wellbeing week may have lasted for 5 days, but healthy wellbeing should last 365 days a year.

Thanks to our brilliant People Operations Team for organising such a brilliant and inspiring week!

Posted by Kate Auchterlonie