16 Apr Emotional health in the workplace: Building the Wellbeing in the City Learning Tool
Last week our Learning Consultant Kat Rolley joined representatives from Samaritans and the Lord Mayor of London at the launch of a ground-breaking new Learning Tool: Wellbeing in the City. This unique project sets a new high watermark for interactive video e-Learning, and here she describes the profoundly transformative effects it had even while it was being designed.
A few years ago one of my clients said to me, “When you tell people what you do does anyone ever say ‘Oh – I love e-Learning!'” We both laughed and she said “No – me neither.”
Digital learning is great field to work in and we often produce content to be proud of.
But I’ve always dreaded being asked what I do.
At best people look blank and the conversation comes to an abrupt halt. At worst they regale me with stories of all the appalling compliance courses they’ve ever had to struggle through.
As a result I’ve become adept at avoiding talking about what I do and – when asked directly – giving vague answers and changing the subject as quickly as possible.
So it was an extraordinary experience last week to be sitting in a room full of people who were all saying – sometimes to me personally – how much they loved two particular pieces of digital learning. How the world was going to be a better place because they existed. How people were desperate to enrol on them.
And how they were proving to be 100% successful in achieving their learning objectives.
The learning in question is two courses we’ve created with the Samaritans for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. They’re designed to support wellbeing at work and to help employees – particularly in the high pressure environment of the City of London – to recognise the signs and signals that someone might need some extra emotional support and to give them the confidence and the skills to reach out and ask:
‘Are you OK?’
Having worked on one of the modules from the outset I’ve been aware that this learning started to make a difference long before it was launched or even built. As our team explored the issues we wanted to cover, and listened to our contributors’ stories, we also started to share our own experiences of emotional and mental health and wellbeing.
And what I discovered was surprising, challenging and quietly transformative.
I found out that pretty well everyone on the project (including people I’d worked with for years) had experienced – and in many cases were still experiencing – some kind of mental health or wellbeing challenge.
And yet none of us had known this before.
We were all valued, high-performing colleagues and employees – and we were all concerned about being too open in case we were seen as liabilities rather than assets.
Like so many of the people we interviewed, we did our best to hide what we were experiencing and to carry on pretending that everything was fine.
At the launch on Monday more inspiring personal stories emphasised just how important it is for all of us to start talking openly about our mental and emotional health. It’s a project I’m very proud to have been a part of and it’s also a project that has enabled me to be a little bit more open about two things I’ve kept quiet about for years:
My mental health challenges – and my work in digital learning!