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Saddington Baynes’s HR and Talent Manager on Creativity and Mental Health

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SB sits down with Anthony Gregson to chat about mental health and how the team is being supported

Saddington Baynes’s HR and Talent Manager on Creativity and Mental Health

In the midst of a global mental health decline, we have all been touched by mental struggles. Saddington Baynes sat down with its HR and talent manager, Anthony Gregson, to find out how Saddington Baynes supports the team and keeps spirits up. 


Q> This mental health month the theme is loneliness. Priding itself on its strong team culture, how does SB tackle loneliness when staff are working from home?

Anthony> We pride ourselves on being very much a communal company, so organically we tend to tackle loneliness through a variety of online and offline activities and social channels. Remote working can be a particularly lonely experience for some, so we try to reach out to the team individually, as often as possible to check-in and provide a safe space to discuss whatever is on their mind.

Whilst we provide flexible working options for our employees and can truly see the huge benefit that remote working provides from a well-being point of view, I’m a big believer in old-school social events and one-to-one chats, breaking up the monotony of working from home with a day or two in the studio with colleagues. It can sometimes really make a difference to meet in person, feel that warmth and personal connection and simply have a cuppa with a friendly face in person.


Q> Have you noticed a change in the general mental health of your colleagues since lockdown, and if so does it correlate with productivity?

Anthony> All of us have had a period of reflection over the last few years. Everyone's mental health has been affected either positively or negatively and of course, this has been noticeable in the SB family. The biggest benefit is that our employees’ work/life balance has improved tenfold - those with children and families can now spend priceless time at home in the morning or evening instead of a daily commute. We now offer extended time away abroad working remotely in the sun, and even little touches like simply walking the dog at lunch time in the local park make such a stark contrast to how we all used to work before. This has improved focus and productivity in general with less time on the tube and more time doing what we love with who we love.

Society has really woken up to mental health, and with less of a stigma associated, people are more willing to open up and have conversations that really matter and make a difference. That has been noticeable and refreshing from the vantage of my role.


Q> How does SB support staff suffering from mental health issues?

Anthony> Without sounding faux or cheesy, we really care. The most important thing is that our team feels comfortable and open enough to bring something to our attention. The SB ethos is built around collaboration and people - it’s nothing without them! We understand that we all have niggles going on inside and outside of our work lives. If those matters are not resolved or supported, then the work environment is not going to be a happy place for the person struggling. We don’t want that and know what it feels like, so we fully encourage time away from the stresses of work to get the support needed.

For those that want to be more discreet, we provide a mindfulness app that has a variety of sessions to help with anxiety and stress including meditation techniques, yoga, sleep stories and counselling advice with helplines.


Q> What would you say sets SB apart from other companies when it comes to mental wellbeing?

Anthony> The main difference from my experience is we share the same values across the board - from the owners throughout the whole team, we all appreciate mental health and are there to support each other. Mental health is not an HR tick box exercise. We spend more time at work than any other part of our lives, so it's vital that all of the team are as happy as possible and I’m passionate about working towards how we can always improve this.


Q> SB’s team is made up of creative individuals. How is creativity encouraged in the workplace?

Anthony> We have an amazing bunch of hugely talented artists, but there's no reason why they should get to do all the fun stuff! We encourage everyone to be creative in their role, to let loose and come up with new ideas. We even invite team members to create artwork in honour of a colleague's work anniversary, so if you work in IT support, pipeline or operations, you too can create a photoshop masterpiece. In addition, we have R&D sessions for the artists that can break away from the stricter guidelines of the brands we work with - this can really spark creativity and unleash imagination. We encourage fun and play! 


Q> Do you think companies are doing enough to support their employees as they adapt to new working styles?

Anthony> I can’t speak for other companies but I do understand the challenges that all businesses are facing when it comes to the changes in working styles over the last few years. For us, it simply works if our team members feel like they have options available. It’s a hugely competitive industry and the margins for attracting talent are minuscule. The big fancy studio with a fruit salad and croissants as a perk is no longer the draw it was, especially if you want to reach a global network of talent. Time matters most to people and making sure that we listen to what our team wants is the best support we can provide.


Q> How do you see the culture at SB changing in the future?

Anthony> I envisage a mix of remote working/studio time being the norm for good now. Less is more sometimes when it comes to work meetings and events - with staff more energised and feeling like they have time with family and loved ones, the team will contribute more and that can only enrich the already fab culture when we are spending quality time together in person. We have always been open to adapt to working trends and this will continue.


Q> What’s the best advice you can give for creating a supportive and safe workplace? 

Anthony> Listen to your team and be prepared to trial new ideas, make sure you are surrounded by those with the same values, and offer what you would appreciate yourself. 

If you've been affected by any mental health issues, these online resources may be useful:

'Sane' an independent charity

'Together', a national charity

'Mind', provides advice and support

NHS Mental Health Services

NHS Urgent Mental Health Helpline (England only)

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Saddington Baynes, Thu, 12 May 2022 15:35:02 GMT