Winner: SFJ Awards Impact Award - Promoting Wellbeing
Channel 4 aims to build a workplace where every employee feels genuinely supported and empowered to talk openly about their mental health and wellbeing, without any stigma. Its extended Learning at Work Week provided a range of wellbeing sessions hosted in person, hybrid and online to respond to colleagues working patterns and make sure there was something for everyone.
Channel 4 used the week to give people some time to stop and care for themselves. Colleagues could attend different wellbeing sessions that aligned to the broadcaster’s strategy, which recognises that not everyone sees wellbeing in the same way.
Channel 4 designed its sessions to be both face to face and virtual and offered colleagues time after the workshops for one-to-ones. By extending Learning at Work Week to a two-week event with activities at different times, Channel 4 ensured that colleagues on different shifts and schedules could take part.
Sessions included an in-person talk by Carers UK & Parents UK on how they support carers, and a BSL sign language taster to support inclusiveness. Channel 4’s choir invited people to join them to sing in their lunch break. A happiness session ‘The way out is within’ looked at what happiness means, why it is elusive and what each of us can do to find our anchor – our ‘happy place’.
For colleagues interested in craft, Thread Republic ran a virtual session with desk drops of material. Colleagues could learn hand stitching techniques such as sahiko stitching, darning and hole repair, using a creative approach that is mindful as well as useful. Work-focused sessions included a two-part brain workshop, where people learned how to master their workloads and prioritisation, improve their focus and work smarter. There was also a session on ‘imposter syndrome’ - one of the key focus areas in coaching feedback.
Channel 4’s own people delivered activities too. The People Director ran a virtual yoga event aimed at focusing the mind, and the COO used his coaching knowledge to show people how to get the right balance between work and self, using the ‘wheel of life’.
The week was promoted at their ‘all staff event’ by the exec learning sponsor and the Head of L&D who spoke about Learning at Work Week in detail. The exec team and people managers were briefed on the week so they could cascade it to their teams, and support time out to learn. The HR Director promoted the launch of Channel 4’s new learning platform, The Hive, and encouraged everyone to sign up. From there, people could sign up to LAW Week sessions. Nearer the time, exec assistants and learning champions sent out reminders about the week and joined Teams meetings to brief everyone. Each member of exec, including the CEO, did a video for all colleagues on how important it is to take out time to learn - a Channel 4 first!
Learning at Work Week created a real buzz. Colleagues valued the opportunity to learn new techniques and tools and gain different perspectives on wellbeing, from how to relax to dealing with imposter syndrome. More staff networks are keen to use Learning at Work Week as a platform to promote their work and the support they offer. Following the week, Channel 4 has developed a new policy which sets out how their people can have a percentage of their time allocated to learning and volunteering.