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Gold for Ocean with mental health focus

Published March 29th, 2021


Ocean Housing Group has been awarded gold at the Cornwall Healthy Workplace Awards 2021.

The awards, run by Cornwall Council, act as a toolkit to encourage employers to think about ways to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees.

Recognised for its continued mental health support and safe working from home initiatives, Ocean has maintained the gold award for the third year in a row.

Heather Taylor, HR coordinator at Ocean, said: “Supporting our staff is always a main priority for us as we strive to be a great place to work. In a year full of changes for everyone, we are proud to have continued to look after the team as best as we can.

“Communication has been key, with monthly video briefings from our group chief executive Mark Gardner for all staff to join, as well as regular support emails from the HR team providing tools and reminding staff that there is always someone available to talk to.

“Our content is strongly driven towards supporting staff’s mental health, and we have five mental health first aiders available to provide support should a member of staff need it.”

The business ran a mental health awareness week in May, which provided staff with helpful tips on a variety of subjects including parenting and working from home, supporting mental health in lockdown, coping with living alone, and staying positive. The week finished with a virtual coffee morning and quiz for all team members to enjoy.

With most staff working from home, Ocean designed a number of initiatives to keep members of staff safe and supported.

Departments created WhatsApp groups and scheduled Zoom calls for regular check-ins, while the HR team arranged for gifts to be sent out to ensure everyone knew they were appreciated, including grow-your-own sunflower kits and a Christmas hamper. Flu jabs were also offered to all staff in October.

Ocean’s Facebook page helped keep staff and tenants updated with ideas to support their mental health and staying active, as well as updates from the Government to keep everyone safe.

Mark Gardner said: “I really appreciate how the whole Ocean team has pulled together this year, for each other and also our tenants, and I’m delighted to see this reflected with this gold award.

“We already had plans for a smart working programme to be introduced over the next few years, which has been put into practice more quickly due to pandemic. As part of this movement, we have created a scheme for eligible staff to receive a payment to purchase vital equipment they need to continue working safely from home, such as a new desk and chair.

“Smart working will involve a combination of home and office-based work throughout the week, which will mean less commuting for our staff, and will also help towards providing a safe and flexible environment for their families.”

For more information about Ocean Housing Group, visit oceanhousing.com.

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