A Healthy Self Promotes a Healthy Team

Stephen Smith,

This year has been strange, challenging and quite different from most others we have gone through in recent times; we work differently, we communicate using technology and spend more time in isolation than perhaps we used to.

The subsequent outcome of this worldwide has been varied to say the least. Sadly, for some, this has included a negative effect on wellbeing, health and general quality of life.

Whilst some occupations lend themselves to this new way of working, underneath, whether or not you feel it outwardly, we have all been impacted in terms of how we live our life and in terms of the quality of our health, both physically and, just as importantly, mentally.

I have been through waves of a strict exercise regime and healthy eating to hammering box sets on Netflix and working on my relationship with chocolate. One thing that arose from this constant fluctuation was that one of those ways of living served me better. But not only me – one was far better for my team and other colleagues, customers of Romax and industry partners.

Without any doubt in my mind, the healthy approach made me feel far sharper and more focused, which not only my customers but also my team should absolutely expect as a minimum. This got me thinking more on the topic, hence me putting these words down to share.

My feeling healthy, having a more focused and sharper mindset, enabled my team to work more efficiently and with better communal spirit. Perhaps it even gave them the feeling that they too could take advantage of this approach in support of their own direct colleagues.

Across our team, discussions about current levels of eating, running and cycling became commonplace discussions during various meetings (appropriately punctuated by inappropriate appearances from both barking dogs and expressive children), and it has become very clear that we were all supporting one another in the absence of the close, face-to-face standard working environments.

Your health as an individual is critical to the overall health of the team, has a knock-on effect both professionally and personally and contributes towards physical and mental wellbeing. The net effect is a productive and cohesive team. Therefore, you being healthy helps your team to be healthy and gives them the best chance to cope, exploit and overcome the current challenges and today’s world climate restrictions.

Although I have always spent some time working from home, and a lot of time travelling on business, I have really missed being in the office and having close contact and interactions with my colleagues. Those water-cooler/coffee machine informal chats are where some of the best ideas are born – missing out on those have been another regular discussion item across the team.

Fortunately for us at Romax, our office culture meant we could put some initiatives in place to mitigate these reduced interactions. Our HR team advocated the idea of Well-Being Champions – where one individual from each team becomes a central point of contact for any well-being issues. All the champions meet on a regular basis to feed back the issues being faced by every employee across the company and ensure all are OK and not feeling under too much pressure from this unusual situation.

It was one of these Well-Being Champions, Mike, who came up with the idea of having virtual tea breaks to enable you to have these ad-hoc chats with colleagues from other teams whom you would only normally meet whilst making a coffee. It provides an outlet to chat about non-related work things for 15 minutes and give some light relief and break up the day. This has been incredibly popular and enabled staff to remain in contact as best as is possible whilst we are in this isolated working environment.

He also took this one step further and introduced the Virtual Friday ‘afterwork’ drinks; again, very popular and I have no doubt will continue even past the lockdown to ensure remote workers can interact informally with each other. The premise is to simply join after 5pm on Friday afternoon to share a drink, alcoholic or not, and chat to your colleagues as you would if that traditional after-work drinks were possible. People dip in and out, stay for as long as they want, and the conversation often goes on later than the familiar ‘last orders bell’! Colleagues from overseas regularly join, and this creates a close team connection across many parts of the business.

I feel quite lucky to be working in a company that holds these types of values at the core of its business and each employee plays their own vital role in that. Each person being healthy, happy, and feeling part of a healthy, happy team is essential to a successful business.

Still, the day we can all go back into the office and be one, is something I very much look forward to.

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Stephen Smith is currently the Head of GLOBAL Sales for Romax software and engineering services. Graduating from UMIST (Manchester) with a B.Eng in Mechanical Engineering and MSc in Mathematics, Stephen worked with Fluid Dynamics in R&D and Engineering Design in motorsport and automotive applications. Gradually transitioning into a more commercial role, for leading CFD vendors, Stephen joined Romax in 2016 as Sales Manager for Northern Europe, them becoming European Sales Director in 2019. Since October 2020, he has taken responsibility for all commercial and engineering functions worldwide.