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Mental health and wellbeing are vitally important to help us deal with challenges, both positive and negative, and the setbacks that are an inevitable part of life. World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to talk about mental health, with the motto of the day at Miele X being ‘Be kind to your mind’. Here we catch up with Elisa Middendorp and Mariya Muelders from the HR team to find out what fun and meaningful activities they have planned for the day, and how being kind to your mind is important today and every day.
As HR Generalists Elisa and Mariya look after the interests of every Miele X employee. From practical considerations such as health and safety, pay and ensuring relevant documentation is correct. To implementing systems and processes that help us do our jobs to the best of our abilities. Another key part of their role is to focus on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our people, to set us up for success both personally and professionally.
Both women believe strongly that all aspects of life need to work harmoniously together, as much as possible for people to be happy both in self and in work. And they work tirelessly to provide initiatives that are there to help everyone in key areas, from physical and mental health, to finances, social interaction, immigration and much more. The latter of course, a fundamental area given our position as a multinational organisation.
Supporting mental health in a multi-cultural business
The rich diversity of our business is one of our greatest strengths, and one of our proudest achievements to date. We do not underestimate the lifechanging adjustments people from other countries make to work here and we want to ensure that everyone feels fully supported in the transition, arriving to a warm welcome and being guided through each step of the process from immigration legalities and settling in the city, to psychological support.
In terms of immigration support, we partner with a company that offers help with every detail from visas and immigration documentation, to bank accounts and social security numbers. They are here to make the process as smooth and stress free as possible.
How does Miele X support mental and physical health at work?
Elisa explains, “Recognising the pressures that people are under, be they big or small is vital. We are no longer in a world where we can disconnect work from life. Covid-19 has changed all that. We want to make sure that whatever issue a colleague is facing, there is something in place to help.”
For this reason, Miele X has partnered with a psychological well-being vendor called OpenUp, a service that encourages people to talk in confidence to a professional about anything that may be on their mind, anonymously. OpenUp provides fast and easy access to a psychologist via phone, chat or video consultations, and also offers insights, self-help programs and practical tips about mental wellbeing. This service is free of charge and fully funded by the company.
“Whether it’s being nervous about an upcoming presentation, problems with your work life balance, or you just want to talk with someone. This company makes it easy to have a chat with someone, even if it's just a tiny problem, to avoid it becoming a larger scale problem”, Elisa shares.
Mariya tells us, “Many of us here know how it feels to move to a new country, and we recognise how challenging this is, especially when we are first starting out and don’t know anyone. Our partnership with OpenUp gives every new starter the option to have a coaching session with a certified psychologist when they join us. It’s easily accessible and available in 14 different languages, which is perfect for our diverse audience, and it is also open to any Miele X colleague at any time.”
Bringing an athletic perspective to the workplace
Another powerful new program that we have recently introduced is Werk Atleet. This vendor is helping us employ principles and practices used by professional athletes to gain optimum performance in work and help us feel at the top of our game. Werk Atleet covers topics such as nutrition, movement, mindfulness, and mindset through interactive workshops, and will support us to develop a coaching culture at Miele X to get the best from ourselves and our teams. We have already had two great sessions with them covering physical movement and daily habits, and we have another booked in November which will focus on stress management and how to turn it into a positive driving force.
Mariya says, “These sessions provide us with bitesize, actionable insights which we can incorporate into our daily routines to help us develop a positive mindset, but in light, engaging and fun ways. We are really looking forward to working closely with Work Atleet in the coming months and beyond.”
Regarding athletes, another step we’ve taken is to introduce running events. Many Miele X colleagues have already taken part in runs of varying durations, and for those that would rather spectate, we have the cheer team. The marathons are a great opportunity for everyone to come together for good causes, get to know each other and support our colleagues at positive and energising events.
“Popularity for the running events is gathering pace”. Elisa explains, “We are taking part in the Amsterdam 8K on the 16th of October, so if you are a Miele X employee and interested in running, please get in touch and the company will cover all the participation fees. Or alternatively, we’d love to see as many Miele X people as possible with red and black pom poms and flags on the cheer team. It’s always so much fun!”
There are many other ways to look after our health and keep moving at Miele X too. As Mariya shares, “We have the bike swapping and rental service Swapfiets to assist with any bike issues and provide us with a new one if we need it. We also have a static bike in the office, which is free to use, and a walking app called Ommetje, where people are encouraged to compete to see who can cover the most distance walking. In terms of nutrition, we have healthy snack choices available daily. We try to think of everything we can to help everyone feel and perform at their best.”
What is happening on World Mental Health Day at Miele X?
To celebrate World Mental Health Day, Elisa and Mariya have been busy behind the scenes arranging a day of activities to mark the occasion. We will start the day with a morning yoga session. Following this, around lunchtime we will be delivering a workshop with OpenUp, where Miele X employees can discover more about what they do, the many benefits and how they can access the service. There is also the opportunity to take part in a relaxing mindfulness session with a psychologist. And to help us unwind and recharge, employees will receive a surprise wellbeing package.
Everyone’s mental health and wellbeing is a HR imperative
We are really excited to bring these events to you on World Mental Health Day. However, we also recognise the importance of sustaining the focus and awareness of mental health and wellbeing at work. To Elisa and Mariya this is an everyday practice which bring lasting benefits to all. Some big. Some small. And all equally important to our collective dedication to help everyone who works here thrive.