Employee wellbeing remains a key issue in era of remote working
A track record in working remotely helps service provider PulseLearning adapt to challenges presented by Covid-I9
Patrick Fealy, ceo of PulseLearning: “Healthy teams will be an essential strategy for survival beyond Covid-19,” he says, “and responsive organisations know that they are fundamentally dependent on the agility, adaptive capacity and emotional wellbeing of their people.”
The landscape of mental health in Ireland is changing, with many organisations in recent years focusing on providing in-house training and support services to promote employee wellbeing.
PulseLearning was founded in 1999 by well-known Irish entrepreneur Jim Breen, who also pioneered the national Cycle Against Suicide awareness charity. Since 2017 PulseLearning has been led by ceo Patrick (Pa) Fealy, who has worked with the organisation since 2005.
“PulseLearning is an award-winning provider of custom training services and mental health and wellbeing. Our custom services, including eLearning and staff augmentation, have been the primary business for over 20 years,” says Fealy.
“Our mental health and wellbeing division (I Am Here) was launched in 2019 and is an evidence-based, mental health and wellbeing programme that we are rolling out globally. We have 50-70 team members located between our head office in Tralee, Co Kerry and our other locations in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.”
With the workforce spread globally, the Covid -19 pandemic provided a unique set of challenges for the organisation, however a track record in working remotely helped ease the switch to working from home.
“Fortunately, the majority of our PulseLearning team has been working remotely for many years,” Fealy explains. “We transitioned our systems into the cloud several years ago to facilitate shared resources across our international offices and customers. We were already users of tools such as Microsoft Teams and video conferencing so the transition to working from home was easier.
“Given the nature of the work we do, we look specifically for talent and expertise across geographies, and at least 75 per cent of our team were already working remotely. The remainder of our team is based at our Kerry, Dublin and Canadian offices. Remote working conditions have not been optimal for any business, but we adjusted.”
Mental health and support of employees working during the Covid-19 pandemic has been a focus of many companies globally, which provided some opportunities for PulseLearning.
“During the pandemic, we proactively called on businesses and communities to adopt the strategies and supports that prioritise mental health and wellbeing to ensure everyone stays healthy, mentally and physically,” says Fealy.
“We decided to offer our ‘I Am Here Rapid Response programme’ to every business for free until September 30th to ensure mental health and wellbeing is kept to the forefront during this difficult time. I Am Here is the fastest-growing mental health and wellbeing movement in the world, with hundreds of thousands of team members across four continents joining our mission. It is vital that we stay ahead of a surge in mental health challenges that swiftly follows the physical threat to our wellbeing.”
Last month a large Australian employer rolled out the I Am Here training to its 200,000 team members in 3,500 locations across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
“Any company or organisation that wishes to register for I Am Here can do so through our website,” says Fealy.
While the PulseLearning team seem to be well positioned to manage in the wake of the pandemic, Fealy recognises that there are challenges ahead.
“There are a lot of conversations about the new normal,” he says, “however, nobody can really forecast what is going to happen. So much has happened in a short period of time and the world has changed. We are collectively living through a significant crisis, personally and professionally. As a business, we will need to stay agile and resilient to the changes that may lie ahead.”
Regardless of whether organisations are easing back face to face, or continuing on working remotely for the foreseeable future, a key element of sustainable recovery will be supporting employees and encouraging wellbeing in organisations, suggests Fealy.
“Healthy teams will be an essential strategy for survival beyond Covid-19,” he says, “and responsive organisations know that they are fundamentally dependent on the agility, adaptive capacity and emotional wellbeing of their people. This requires people to stay healthy, mentally and physically.”
To find out more about the I Am Here wellbeing programme, visit iamheretribe.com