Why BDO is ‘wheelie’ up for Wellbeing

Why BDO is ‘wheelie’ up for Wellbeing

BDO partner Chris Grove explains how the Chain Challenge is helping to smash the stigma around mental health.

Why BDO is ‘wheelie’ up for Wellbeing

I was recently asked if I wanted to train as a Mental Health First Aider. Without hesitation, my answer was ‘yes’ – for two reasons. Firstly, I was reassured that our HR team appreciated how important Mental Health is at BDO and therefore, as a member of the firm’s Leadership Team, why I would be keen to ‘walk the walk’ and take part in the training pilot. And, secondly, because anyone can see just how commonplace mental health challenges have become and I wanted to feel better equipped to support people, both in and out of work.

During the training, it was brought home to me that more than half of the UK’s employees (53%) have struggled with their mental wellbeing in some way. As a firm made up of 5,000 people, that could be more than 2,500 of my colleagues who have been or are affected with mental health issues. The sheer extent of the challenge is one of the many reasons why BDO has Wellbeing as a cultural priority.

For two years, we’ve been using MIND’s 5 Ways of Wellbeing to help our people pay more attention to their wellbeing.  One of those “Ways” is ‘Be Active’.

Earlier this year the firm hosted a ‘Step Challenge’, which proved to be a huge success.  More than 1,000 people took part, with people keen to increase their daily steps and often compete with their fellow ‘steppers’.  An amazing total of 265 million steps was achieved over 30 days!

On the back of the success of the Step Challenge, one of our Directors came to me with an idea for a firmwide Cycling Challenge.  Anyone who knows me, has taken part in a BDOVelo ride with us, or does a quick Google search will know that I am passionate about cycling – as are a few of my colleagues at BDO. Cue, the creation of the BDO ‘Chain Challenge’.

Throughout September, we are putting the ‘pedal to the metal’, with all 17 of BDO’s offices across the UK taking part in organised indoor and outdoor cycle rides. We’re aiming to raise money for charity, as well as raising awareness of wellbeing and the importance of talking about mental health. The chain of events will include talks from Rob Stephenson the founder of InsideOut, a social enterprise whose mission is to end the stigma of mental health in the workplace and promote best practice in relation to managing mental wellbeing.

Of course not everyone wants to don some Lycra and hop on a bike!  So we’ve tasked our brilliant Wellbeing Champions across the firm to arrange a variety of physical and non-physical activities and create an inclusive ‘virtual chain of events’, linking our offices around the country.

As a result, the Chain Challenge includes: a Pedalo Challenge in Regent’s Park, yoga and meditation sessions in Birmingham and Leeds, sports tournaments in Manchester, a charity cake sale in East Anglia, mindful crocheting lessons in Gatwick and Guildford, a treasure hunt in Southampton…….and the list goes on!

Bringing together 5000 people across the UK isn’t easy; but aligning an entire workforce behind a common purpose is becoming widely recognised as one of the best ways to deliver on goals and objectives, and reinforce that positive culture that makes BDO special.

So I’m really looking forward to mixing some business and pleasure, and joining the rest of my colleagues as we take our Wellbeing focus up a gear or two.

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