In the third in a series of four videos entitled ‘Making mental health and inclusivity working practices in the mortgage advice market’, Golunska detailed a raft of policies the firm introduced during the pandemic and confirmed it will keep in place now.
“We’ve introduced SBG wellness champions who are volunteers from all parts of the business who are raising awareness of workplace challenges particularly during lockdown. One of those areas was home working, so whilst it’s been seen as really beneficial for some it’s also been really challenging for others, who haven’t got the space or ability to work without interruption at home,” said Golunska.
The SBG boss said this issue became even more key during the home schooling part of the lockdown and after asking parents and carers what they needed then offered paid leave to those in that category.
Golunska said the firm also set up a ‘Let’s Talk’ platform of events allowing people to share thoughts on inclusivity and workplace challenges with external and specialist speakers keen to educate on some of those topics.
She suggested firms make sure they signpost wellbeing on their web pages and that they regularly reach out to employees via surveys and temperature checks, making sure they include senior leaders in these efforts. The group also launched a free service for its network members provided by a professional support organisation called Care First offering a 24 hour a day helpline offering counselling, advice and referrals.
“It’s okay not to feel okay all the time,” she said.
“Particularly difficult for me was when we first went into lock down and I was separated from my children who live away from me who I see regularly normally and I wasn’t able to meet up with.”
Watch out for the fourth and final part of this series going live on Wednesday 25 August, in association with NatWest Bank.
With thanks to our panel guests:
Michele Golunska, CEO at Sesame Bankhall Group, (SBG)
Martin Reynolds, chief executive of Simplybiz Mortgages,
Alan Ferguson, senior corporate account, manager at NatWest,
Harpreet Butoy, wellbeing and inclusion champion at NatWest