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NEWS


With the busy rhythm of the travel industry often making for long working days and some


sleepless nights, it’s important to ensure we protect the mental health of our employees and ourselves, particularly during the peaks period. We’re lucky to work in an industry where


Gordon McCreadie SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR, IF ONLY


Make time for mindfulness and encourage staff self-care MENTAL


HEALTH MATTERS


we turn customers’ dreams into reality and visit beautiful destinations, but getting it right can mean putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. When you add unpredictable weather, virus outbreaks and natural disasters, it’s easy to see how day-to-day workplace stress can develop into something more serious. While we’re living in an age where there is


more of a focus on mental health, there’s still a way to go. Abta recently reported that a quarter of the workforce experience mental health problems annually, and when I cast my mind back over the rollercoaster year we’ve just had, I feel more than ever that we need to rally together to drive change. But how can we practise better self-care and how can employers support the mental health of our staff?


Employee self-care We all have a responsibility to ourselves to take a break when we’re feeling overwhelmed. When it comes to workplace stress, we should do this every day to prevent more-serious issues developing. I find a simple break away from my desk, whether it’s a short walk around the block or a trip to the vending machine, can help clear the head. Sometimes the steps we take outside of work can really help. After a hectic day on the phones or in meetings, a small amount of exercise can be a great way to stimulate endorphins. We need to support staff in building a more open- minded culture and encourage time for self-care.


Time for change It’s great to see Abta has a seminar on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace this year, covering common triggers to supporting remote workers and crisis management. I was also impressed by the video shown at the Globe Travel Awards in January, where industry figures shared their own experiences as part of Travel Weekly’s Mental Health Matters campaign, launched last year. This issue goes above and beyond companies,


however. It was troubling to read the stories of ex-Thomas Cook and Super Break staff who had problems with benefit applications. In a volatile marketplace, where these situations can arise with little notice, the government needs to do more. Individuals should not be driven to anxiety and depression due to substandard payment systems. Hopefully, with the industry rallying around after last year’s events, we can prompt change.


Employer empathy While management training and government legislation are both integral in preventing mental health issues, companies can also make small day- to-day changes. This peaks, we’ve trialled complimentary yoga


and mindfulness sessions for the If Only team, which have had fantastic feedback and allow a bit of time to tune out. We’ve also had a masseuse come in to give mini massages to help relieve tension during the hustle and bustle. I wouldn’t say I feel ‘namaste’ every day, but it’s a start.


Read more columns by Gordon McCreadie: go.travelweekly.co.uk/comment


16


5 MARCH 2020


travelweekly.co.uk


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