With Covid-19 descending upon us and restrictions increasing daily, we had plans in place structurally to ensure our staff could continue providing quality care and delivering services to our much-valued community.
Sites were measured up to ensure 1.5m social distancing was upheld, with sanitisers available at each location. Our support workers were provided with Personal Protective Equipment, relevant equipment was provided for those working from home with IT on hand to assist with any teething problems such as connecting to Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings. 3Bridges staff were redeployed as sites and programs closed. Every single person adapted to the daily change in circumstances and continued to put in 100% effort in the role they play at 3Bridges Community.
But what about mental health and wellbeing? Obviously Covid-19 is something we have never faced before. As an organisation we adapted immediately, as people we all reacted differently. Some of us were happy to work from home, others needed the routine of being in the workplace. As restrictions got tighter and the government advised we must stay at home unless you are an essential worker, we started to think more about interactions. The daily interactions with friends and colleagues around the water cooler, the banter between desks, the people we look forward to seeing on an almost daily basis. Humans as social creatures have a need to interact. Interaction brings us so many feelings, one of which is Joy.
With this in mind the “Joy” Program was created. “Joy” is about finding the silver linings in our new normal, looking for the positives while working from home. Things such as having the opportunity to bake fresh bread and having that delicious smell waft through the house. Stopping to step outside and water the garden, working from the outside deck, having a hot home cooked lunch, daily walks and much more.
We created a staff portal with a section dedicated solely to “Joy”. A weekly newsletter is placed on the portal and an email reminder sent to all. Staff are encouraged to share their Joy by sending in photos, videos, feel-good stories, and recipes. In sharing, conversations, laughter, and that much needed, and very missed interaction started to grow again.
Our Exercise Physiologist started twice weekly live exercise classes as exercise definitely brings an endorphin rush and benefits our mental health immensely. All staff also have access through Joy to stretching exercises which are encouraged every 30 minutes, particularly for those sitting at a desk. We remind people to take a break. It is okay to break up the day with a walk, a virtual catch up with workmates or some mindfulness or yoga.
These are all carefully researched, and links are added to “Joy”.
Recently, we have also introduced Tuesday Teatime with Together Trivia. This is an opportunity to stop, boil the kettle, grab the Tim tams and chat. Our first Teatime had 20 participants, with much laughter, jokes, fun trivia and smiles all round.
Enhancing health and wellbeing is the basis for everything we deliver at 3Bridges Community. With a focus on re-thinking brain and mental health it was extremely important to introduce a program to support and encourage our 3Bridges Family. The uptake of the program and feedback has been extremely positive, and we look forward to continuing this program post Covid-19.