4 June 2024

#MyWayFriday – creating a culture of personal and professional wellbeing

Almost a year ago, our Director of People and Culture (Hannah Wheawall) introduced #MyWayFriday into Acacia Training. In very basic terms, it focuses on prioritising employee wellbeing by the company wrapping-up at 1pm every Friday afternoon.

“Lucky you!”, we hear you cry. And yes, we are very lucky to have incorporated this into our weekly routine – but possibly not for the reasons that you’re expecting. This isn’t about simply leaving work early…..

Of course, it’s fantastic to ‘finish early’ on a Friday, but there’s both reason and evidence behind the decision. We incorporated it because it’s a great opportunity for colleagues to get their work-life balance right and also to focus on their wellbeing and development – something that we often want to do, but never get the time to. We all know that the Covid-19 pandemic changed the world, including the world of work. We now work in different places, at different desks, use different forms of communication, work different hours, and many have had career changes in recent years due to increasing pressures, stress, and because their lives changed forever since 2020.

The World Health Organisation defines wellbeing as ‘encompassing quality of life and the ability of people and societies to contribute to the world with a sense of meaning and purpose’. Wellbeing is often seen as being measured by health, satisfaction and happiness, but we feel that the last part of the WHO’s definition is key – we want our colleagues to be in the very best position to make contributions that have meaning and purpose. To do that, we want them to prioritise their wellbeing and development, which will have a positive knock-on effect on both their lives and how they work, and how they feel about both. Because at Acacia Training, we would prefer to judge our workplace culture not by our social media announcements or even articles on this website – but rather by how they feel on a Sunday night!

Whilst we aren’t naive enough to think that the ‘Sunday dread’ doesn’t affect our colleagues, we want them to know that Acacia Training are fully behind developing themselves professionally AND personally. We think that’s a hugely important message to get across and a hugely important culture and environment to create.

The benefits to a company of focusing on employee wellbeing and development have been well documented: the likes of increased productivity; reducing illness and absenteeism; producing stronger working relationships; reducing stress; improving job satisfaction and retention; higher employee engagement and resilience; strengthening community and morale……..and producing happier colleagues!

We are striving to create better lives, not just better workplaces, as they go hand in hand. We feel that #MyWayFriday will not just have a positive impact on our business, but also on those who work for the business, too. Some of the examples of how our team are using their Friday afternoons can be seen here:

  • Spending quality 1-to-1 time with family
  • Completing relevant training and qualifications
  • Joining a gym with a target of losing a stone
  • Undertaking a short course focusing on diabetes
  • Watching a family member play county cricket
  • Completing Operational Manager Level 5 qualification
  • Reading a HR book
  • Starting volunteer work with a local charity
  • Undertaking courses and CPD relevant to the role
  • Wreathmaking classes

These are just a few examples of the breadth of what our fantastic colleagues are undertaking on Friday afternoons – all without the distraction of work, but all hopefully contributing to a better work/life balance and helping colleagues to enjoy their weekends and to start work on Monday mornings recharged, refreshed, and ready for the busy week ahead. Our ethos is that wellbeing and personal growth go hand in hand. Good wellbeing supports personal growth by equipping colleagues with the necessary resources and confidence to progress and succeed, whilst personal growth contributes to wellbeing by providing a sense of success and accomplishment.

We feel that colleagues feel happier and are more productive when they feel valued, and that’s why Hannah started #MyWayFriday – to make a real investment in our colleague’s holistic wellbeing and development, and not solely in the workplace. And anyway, making colleagues feel valued – that surely should be a given at work, shouldn’t it? We don’t pay lip-service to this, at Acacia Training we like to practice what we preach. We often talk to our customers about the importance of investing and creating time for their qualifications, studies, and themselves – so why should we be any different?

What we do is all about people, because that’s what the world is all about. We have a responsibility to provide a community where ‘our people’ feel happy, valued, and supported. At Acacia Training, we are passionate that those within and outside the building see that we invest in workplace wellbeing and development, and that we appreciate our colleagues and their lives. #MyWayFriday is a big part of that.

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