Recharge Week: mental health and wellbeing at Emakina

Author: Marina Zarth

Taking care of each other is on the top priority list for Emakinians. It has been embedded in our culture for quite a long time, so it was natural for us to focus on a Mental Health and well-being strategy for the whole company since the pandemic started. 

You probably agree with us that Mental Health and Wellbeing started to become a trending topic since covid hit us, we’ve been hearing more and more about it and of course, you all know the reasons for it, as it was a tough year for a lot of people worldwide. 

This is why last year we created a Mental Health & Wellbeing program, directly connected to our employee experience and happiness strategy

We have to say that this is an ongoing program and it is something that we are learning every day on how to work with, but we want to share with you what we’ve done so far. 

The recharge week

The Recharge Week was a week full of different initiatives per day, all focused on improving mental health, wellbeing and employee happiness.

We had yoga sessions, Bootcamp, meditation, walks and daily challenges (which included preparing a healthy smoothie, walking with a colleague and also having a cold shower/swim to boost energy! – Yes, we had plenty of employees who did that, even though we were still below 10C degrees in the Netherlands).

We’ve done the Recharge Week on the same week as spring started, which you can imagine that here in the Netherlands is a good reason for celebration, after a long and grey winter. 

Below you can have a better outline of the program we’ve prepared: 

All the sessions were done online and we followed all the government guidelines for it, which made it even more challenging, but pushed us to think further on how to engage everyone! 

Among other things, our main goals were:

  • Give opportunities for our employees to interact (cross-department) in non-work related activities in order to boost social connection;
  • Increase employees engagement and happiness within Emakina;
  • Encourage our employees to become healthier. 

It was a week full of positive energy, nice moments with Emakinians and of course focus on Mental Health and well-being. Even the ones that couldn’t join the sessions mentioned that they felt energized by seeing this initiative in place! 

It was not only about having all those sessions in place but also having a full week where Mental Health and well-being were the trending topics inside the company (and in our Slack channels of course!). 

Connecting the recharge week to a bigger purpose and strategy

The Recharge Week is just one example of an initiative that is part of our Mental Health and Wellbeing program, that exemplifies how we are approaching this topic at Emakina.NL. 

As we’ve mentioned before, caring for our people has always been in our roots, it was something natural for Emakinians. However we didn’t have an official program for it yet, nor were we used to doing that completely remotely in the middle of a pandemic. 

We’ve started to see the need of having not only loose initiatives about Mental Health and well-being but also to consciously connect that to a bigger strategy related to our employees’ happiness and experience. 

When first creating this program we’ve come up with 3 main goals: 

  • Create awareness about the importance of mental health and wellbeing (especially during COVID-19);
  • Make sure that everybody within Emakina can work as comfortably and happy as possible to stay in good mental health; 
  • Provide the right support and tools for our employees and leaders to work on mental health & wellbeing;

These goals are driving us and we are constantly re-assessing if we are still working towards them and adjusting along the way based on our employees’ needs and suggestions. 

More details about our mental health and well-being program

We’ve understood that it is really difficult to create a framework and a static program focused on Mental Health and Wellbeing and the reason why is because this is a broad topic, that involves not only different people (HR, leaders, employees, etc) but also different needs from everyone.
It is also a program that we see evolving with time, as we get more mature and aware of it.

Our Mental Health and Wellbeing program consists of a few pillars as you can see below:

Information and communication about Mental Health and Wellbeing;
Development of skills and competencies;
Internal policies and guidelines;
Ongoing support for our leaders and employees;
Measurement of the impact of those initiatives using our engagement survey tool.

Inside of all of these pillars, we have different initiatives and depending on the moment we focus more on one or another. Our employees can join those and we see a direct impact on their happiness, experience and engagement within Emakina.

Cold swim challenge

Our main learnings from the program until now

This is a new program for us, it is a new strategy and we are learning every day on how to add value to our employees’ Mental Health and well-being. 

We are still experimenting, testing different sessions, different approaches and understanding what works and what doesn’t work for our employees. Maybe in a few months, our opinion will be different, but for now, here are a few insights:

  • We understood that there is no “one solution fits all” – everyone is different, everyone has different needs and we need to be creative to try to reach most part of our employees
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing is a broad topic, which means that we need to have different strategies in place. It is not only about doing yoga or having talks with employees, it is about culture (a culture that we should nurture and keep moving forward)
  • We should keep being inspired by what other companies are doing regarding Mental Health and Wellbeing, but more than that we should hear our own employees, understand their own struggles and needs and provide them with a better employee experience
  • As a company, we can’t make sure everyone is mentally healthy and happy, but we do have a really important role and responsibility in supporting these people

We still have a long way to go, but having this topic as a priority at Emakina, really makes us feel that we are on the right track! 

While scaling up, we will make sure to keep introducing programs like that, in order to maintain a strong culture of caring for each other! This is Emakina.NL and this is how we are taking care of our employees! 🙂 

Join the Emakina family now!

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