An innovative buddy service has been launched by Nationwide Building Society to support employee wellbeing during the Covid-19 outbreak.
‘Kinda’, which has been put in place during Mental Health Awareness Week (This link will open in a new window), reflects a growing need to provide wellbeing support for people during the outbreak, with many experiencing feelings of isolation, stress and worry.
Built by Nationwide colleagues for Nationwide colleagues, the idea for the online tool came from the Society’s Disability Employee Network, ‘Enable’, as a way of supporting each other and their colleagues at this time. In a matter of weeks, the idea was made a reality, resulting in a new online tool which connects those who are self-isolating or in need of support with a trusted network of volunteers to listen or lend a hand. Since launching on Monday 18 May, hundreds of volunteers have signed up covering the length and breadth of the UK.
In addition, the Society has announced a new partnership with the digital mental health wellbeing platform Unmind (This link will open in a new window) this week, providing free access for all employees to manage their mental health in a proactive and preventative way. Unmind will enable the Society’s employees to understand, track and improve their mental wellbeing over time, and signpost them to tailored content across a range of topics pertinent to both work and personal life. This follows on from the Society encouraging all people managers to continue to check in on their team member’s wellbeing over the next couple of weeks.
Faye Whitmarsh, People Strategy and Experience Director, Nationwide Building Society said; “The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness, and we are encouraging all of our 18,000 employees, who have been working hard to support our members, to take some time to be kind to themselves and to each other during these times.
“It’s fantastic that we can launch two new tools to support colleagues during Mental Health Awareness Week. Kinda will connect our employees with their colleagues who need support and Unmind will help provide bespoke mental health support. Our colleagues have seen so much change in their day to day lives over the last few weeks and months and they continue to be there for our members. We hope that these tools will help our people create the space to proactively look after their own wellbeing as well.”
These new tools are part of the Society’s approach to encourage colleagues to take a proactive and positive approach towards their wellbeing, and that of others too, with both centrally-led and grassroots initiatives shaping the future of wellbeing at Nationwide.
The Society has also announced a range of measures to support communities across the UK who are impacted by coronavirus, including offering employees an additional three days of paid volunteering to support communities directly impacted by the pandemic. This means employees now have five paid days of volunteering available during 2020. In addition, Nationwide has unlocked more than £7 million for charities to support communities during the outbreak.