The importance of ensuring employees have the mental health resources they need – including dedicated staff to champion wellness – emerged as a key priority for travel firms during TTG Media and Abta LifeLine’s Get Travel Talking Week.
Elegant Resorts managing director Lisa Fitzell, Midcounties’ Co-operative chief operating officer Rad Sofronijevic and Barrhead Travel HR director Wilma Taylor shared their companies’ insights and experiences around creating successful approaches to supporting mental wellbeing and boosting engagement within their organisations.
Fitzell said her team held more than 50 Zoom quizzes for people to relax and unwind, as well as “Time to Talk” sessions. Elegant also struck up a partnership with a wellbeing app to offer support around stress and anxiety through virtual meditation, yoga and counselling services.
Alongside sister brand If Only, eight new wellness ambassadors have also been selected to curate activities. “In everything we do, we embed wellness,” said Fitzell.
Sofronijevic explained how Midcounties had utilised its pre-pandemic partnership with mental health charity Mind to offer tailored support to travel staff.
She revealed the group’s travel employees had reported the poorest mental health across a study of Midcounties’ different divisions – with Mind and grocery industry charity GroceryAid brought onboard to help.
Taylor said she believed the focus of her role had shifted from being heavily operations-led to being more about people and wellness during the pandemic. Barrhead has boosted its number of mental health champions and created a dedicated mental health and wellbeing intranet hub.
“We need to offer flexibility at work, listen to people and keep checking in with them,” she said.
Sofronijevic added: “Covid has given us greater reason to talk about [mental health]. It’s united us all and given us an opportunity to normalise it and embed it in everything that we do.”