Wellbeing in the VCSE Sector

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In the ever-changing Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, ensuring the wellbeing of staff and employees has shifted from being merely important to becoming absolutely essential. With the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic looming over us and workloads on the rise, the line between work and personal life can often become blurred, leading to a potential decline in wellbeing. In a 2022 study, 67% of employees admitted to experienceing moderate to high levels of stress, while 34% experienced negative stress at work.

Over the past year, the Management Team and Trustees of Community Action Norfolk (CAN) have recognised the mounting pressures faced by individuals in the sector and have consequently initiated an increase of staff wellbeing activities. These wellbeing activities have varied from “painting parties” in which the whole Team put on their decorating gear to bring a new life to the office (find out more about our Pay It Forward campaign here), to just having a few hours away from the desk to celebrate Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). In 2022, we also walked 12 miles for Norfolk and Waveney Mind which not only raised money for a good cause, but also got the team out of the office.

So why is wellbeing in the workplace so important?

Scheduling days to step away from the desk and interact as a Team outside of working roles not only overall creates a positive working environment, but it also encourages positive mental health and makes the Team stronger.

“At CAN, our people are our most valued resource and we know the importance of staff wellbeing in maintaining a happy and healthy team.  Most of us, from time to time, will face difficulties either in our work or personal lives and CAN try to find different ways to support individuals or the team when that happens, for example developing bereavement awareness training during the Covid crisis.  Working together we embrace a general team culture of supporting each other’s wellbeing, doing little everyday things like asking and being interested in how our colleagues are doing, checking in with each other daily by Teams and keeping a well-stocked biscuit barrel!”  Jackie Cushing, Locality Manager (West)

These wellbeing activities are not just an activity for the team but helps us to understand the different cultures of the staff within the team. This was recently highlighted by Andrea in our Dia de Muertos article.

“To me, a Mexican living in England for the past (almost) three years, celebrating Día de Muertos is no longer just about remembering my loved ones, but a way to feel closer to home, to keep my roots nourished, and my culture alive. I wanted to share this tradition with my lovely team at CAN, because there's beauty in different ways of looking at and understanding life, and all of us at Community Action Norfolk believe that. Having shared this tradition with the team, setting up the (slightly inaccurate) altar, and sharing stories of our departed loved ones, was a truly heartwarming experience, and I feel incredibly happy and grateful to be part of a team that embraces diversity." Andrea Segura Community Development Officer.

The VCSE sector is comprised of people from all walks of life, each with a unique cultural heritage. The diversity of the VCSE sector brings together a wealth of perspectives and ideas, embracing the different cultures enables us at CAN to build stronger connections with the communities we serve. Encouraging wellbeing in the workplace is not just about taking time off work, it's about creating a supportive and inclusive environment that values the unique cultural backgrounds of its team members.