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Putting People First – Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

For Mental Health Week 2023, our Studio Welfare Manager, Hayley Blundy, talks about FuturLab’s people-first policy and our new ‘Take 5’ campaign.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the MCV/DEVELOP awards, where FuturLab were nominated for Best Indie Studio of the Year. Spoiler alert…. we only blooming won! This award means so much to us following a great deal of change and transformation behind the scenes in the past few years. Not only do we have a much larger team, we’ve really ramped up our wellbeing focus and I am shouting loud and proud about this achievement.

As it is Mental Health Awareness Week, let me tell you more about how we’ve improved our approach to mental health since the last time I blogged!

At FuturLab, we prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of our team; we want our staff to feel safe, supported and content as much as possible. as Studio Welfare Manager, I’ve been creating pathways to drive that message forward and bring conversations about mental wellbeing to the forefront as a day to day, regular subject. In recent months, I’ve recruited several of our team to join me as Mental Health First Aiders and started a quarterly focus group to talk about upcoming awareness days and other ways we can help our (mostly remote) team engage with wellbeing activities.

As well as offering a free therapy service for all staff via Spill, this month we launched our new initiative ‘Take 5’ where we encourage everyone to take 5 minutes at least once a day, to do something mindful. We have created a slack status specifically for this time and it’s off to a great start with the team sharing tips and ideas about how they are choosing to spend this time.

We offer a health insurance benefit through Vitality, an activity-based reward platform, of which I am a ‘Vitality Champion’ and I’ve been creating fun content such as a video documenting how I live my life with Vitality. I’m showing off really with my free coffee and cinema, discounted spa days and such but also, making use of the virtual GP access and physiotherapy – all of which greatly improves the quality of my life and therefore my personal wellbeing. I’m probably Vitality’s biggest fan!

My role as Studio Welfare Manager has been to implement ways in which our team can seek support in a way that suits them best, be it writing to a therapist or having a video call via spill, watching a helpful webinar, taking 5 or reaching out to one of MHFA’s. I also get to organise fun social and team building events and I am excited for the future as I still have so many plans. My main goal going forward is to find ways to reach anyone needing support that hasn’t the confidence or headspace to proactively seek it, and I’ll start by increasing our ratio of MHFA within the company so that we have more people with the skillset to spot any signs of someone who may be struggling.

 

Lastly, onboarding of new team members is a huge part of my role and a process I’ve worked (and continue to work) really hard on. Getting a new job is a pivotal moment in anyone’s life and it’s paramount to me that our newest hires know we take that seriously! For all that is mentioned above, joining FuturLab is a GREAT idea but we also want you to know we are grateful you chose us. I love getting to know people in the weeks prior to them joining and it’s great for them too, to have a friendly face once they’ve joined.

I end this blog with the amazing news that we’ve been nominated at this year’s Develop:Star Awards for not one but TWO awards! Best Studio and Best Game for PowerWash Simulator! Watch this space 😉

With love, Hayley x