Working in the open to share the feedback we received about Wellbeing Camp so that others can learn more about running inclusive events

Nour Sidawi
Aug 12 · 9 min read
Jackie Bryan’s #FrogOnARock

One Team Gov are committed to living our principle of working in the open. That’s why we are sharing what we learned from the feedback you provided following the #OTGWellbeingCamp, which took place on 6 June 2019.

This post is a follow up to this previous post by Nour with initial reflections about what we learned from running the event (you’ll find that post below).

Following the event, we emailed all attendees and asked them to provide feedback. We’ve complied those insights and ideas below, amending people’s words occasionally for clarity.

To date, we’ve had 101 responses to our survey, approximately 40% of our total attendees, which was 250.

Which organisation are you from?

The majority of our respondents stated that they were from central government (26 organisations in total). The remaining were from local government, the NHS, third and private sectors.

Attendees at Wellbeing Camp

Some of organisations represented include those listed below. Prepare for a long list (scroll down if you want to find out more of the detailed feedback) we include it here to demonstrate that this event was of interest to a wide and diverse group across government:

Was this your first One Team Gov event?

For the majority of attendees (92%), this was their first One Team Gov event.

This event had a really high proportion of attendees who hadn’t attended a One Team Gov event before. This shows that we were able to attract people from outside of our usual sphere, from different backgrounds and experiences.

This was one of our objectives to expand the reach of One Team Gov across the UK and “boost the engagement with/of existing networks and reach out to those not currently in the One Team Gov community”.

How did you hear about One Team Gov Wellbeing Camp?

A pie chart showing the categories and split of how attendees heard about One Team Gov Wellbeing Camp. The majority of attendees attended by hearing about it through word of mouth a colleague or reading about it through their Organisational Intranet.

We utilised organisational intranet sites, Civil Service Blogs and newsletters, Civil Service World, and word of mouth at events to spread the word about wellbeing camp.

The organising team were passionate advocates, driving positive conversations and connecting with people which we believe helped to grow the word of mouth around the event and grow our attendees.

Was the event inclusive?

We are so surprised and humbled to hear that every one of our 101 respondents told us that they believed that the event was inclusive.

The whole event was underpinned by a theme of inclusion and the impact this can have on our wellbeing. We made a commitment to act and create a safe space to start the conversation.

Have you taken any practical action or applied any knowledge to improve your / others’ wellbeing since the event?

We had 80 responses to this question. The responses were varied because we included a free text field to enable respondents to expand on their answers.

Most people told us how they had taken ideas and information back to their teams, either through sharing information leaflets or links shared by our partners on stalls within the marketplace, or through writing blog posts for their team or department. Others told us how the event has inspired them to be more mindful of their own resilience, wellbeing and health, and to start conversations with their colleagues.

We’ve summarised some of them here:

  • [I will] spread awareness about the ‘Intersex’ talk in my organisation.
  • [I plan to] reference the bullying, harassment and exclusion talk in Diversity and Inclusion workshops.
  • [I have] written up a report on my experience which I have shared with my manager and Mental Health Advocate colleagues.
  • [I will] pay more attention to listening.
Attendees at wellbeing camp
  • [I will] encourage people to laugh.
  • [I will] think more about the wording used when writing job specifications.
  • [I will] develop a bitesized session to relay my experiences to my teams locally.
  • [I will] continue to spread a little kindness and remind people how important they are and how much they matter…ALWAYS! To keep believing that, individually we can make a difference, collectively we can confront what’s wrong and multiply what’s right, and together we can make positive change.
  • [I have] signed up to have Joyworks come to our workplace to deliver a laughter workshop (funded by Civil Service Sports Council).
  • [I have] contacted the Charity for Civil Servants to set up a meeting to develop a working partnership with them and raise awareness among employees.
  • [I have] new ideas for team meetings to incorporate a standing item to cover wellbeing each week.
  • [I have] ordered the Conscious Effect leadership book by Natasha Wallace to progress my skills in this area.
A tag added to the wellbeing washing line that reads “Inspiring and a fantastic event, thank you. Be kind to yourself and others. One love, One Team Gov.”
  • [I have] informed my work colleagues who are civil service and military that it would be incredibly beneficial for them to attend these events as they would benefit immensely from meeting new people and networking.
  • [I have] talked to colleagues about the “Thriving at Work” session by Rob Taylor, who talked about being buoyant as opposed to resilient. We plan to use it in mental health presentations.
  • The Gratitude Rock from Fresh Air Fridays now sits on my desk as a visual reminder to find something to be grateful for every day.
  • I’m going to suggest that our Directorate adopt weeknoting.
  • [I will] be bolder by being vulnerable.
  • [I have been doing] desk exercise — much to the team’s laughter!
  • Two of us attended and we had the opportunity to go to the different workshops, although would have liked to go to more but no time.
  • I started researching sketch-noting, I feel this will be really beneficial to my future learning and understanding. I’ve realised that if its just for me I really don’t need to worry about what it looks like.
  • I’m helping a team in GDS to set up a craft club to help with their wellbeing. I’ve advised on first steps, how and where to get funding, sent some mindful crafting ideas and templates that won’t cost a lot until they’ve built up their resources/obtained funding.
  • [I] taught a couple of confidence boosting tricks to trainees who are nervous speakers.
Sketchnotes at Wellbeing Camp

How did you enjoy your day?

All of our 101 respondents answered this question. Nobody voted that they didn’t enjoy their day. 96% of respondents voted ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that they enjoyed the day.

What did you enjoy most about your day?

We had a lot of free text responses that we’ve tried to summarise here for you.

These broadly fit into three themes:

  1. The format of the day,
  2. the people, and,
  3. the sessions.

1. Format

What came up overwhelmingly was that participants found the Wellbeing Camp a really interesting way to collaborate with others; a place where attendees got to take part in activities opposed to just learning about them. These are some of the things they enjoyed about the format:

  • Style, process, nature and approach of the day.
  • The overall subject matter and the wide range of workshops and speakers at the event.
  • The casual aspect — no rigidity — as well as the open atmosphere and inclusive planning.
  • Sessions were long enough to be meaningful.
  • The stories shared in the workshops, the ideas and creative energy, networking opportunities, opportunity to take a pause and think for the day — priceless!
  • The diversity of people and the willingness to be open and share experiences.
  • The whole day was well organised and I feel more than accomplished it’s goals.
  • The energy at the event was amazing, and because you had to apply to attend it really felt like everyone who was there actually wanted to be there. This made me feel more relaxed and step out of my comfort zone and begin engaging with strangers rather than just trying to hide away in a corner.
  • The premise of bringing together colleagues from across government away from the office and being part of a wider movement that focuses on taking practical action.

2. People

What came up overwhelmingly in the feedback was YOU – everyone that came. People appreciated that attendees were open to sharing, learning and being themselves, from different backgrounds and experiences.

Some of the feedback we received about what people enjoyed was:

  • Hearing other peoples perspectives and stories, making contacts and creating networks.
  • The opportunity to speak to others from across government; starting to build a network of colleagues wouldn’t have been possible without this event.
  • It was good to be outside London — even if that meant some tiresome travel for me either side of the event. I met people who would not travel down to London.
  • I felt at ease knowing that I am not the only one who has been through an ordeal due to my mental illness, being unfairly treated and to know that the speakers at the camp have come through the other side. It was very inspiring and encouraged me to progress to do something like this for a career in the future.
Nour and Joanne leading the charge at wellbeing camp with an emotional check in.
  • The fact that we were all in the same boat and there was no judgment. We were all one despite different grades and departments.
  • The talks about real experiences from Natasha Wallace and Sarah Rogers as these really resonated with me due my experience with anxiety due to my workplace.

Sessions

We selected a diverse range of speakers with different experiences and viewpoints, our feedback celebrated this and told us that we were on the right track.

Some of the feedback we received was:

  • Thought provoking discussions, topics and sessions.
  • I enjoyed the Laughter Therapy Workshop by Joyworks. The session made participants feel great, reminding them about how good laughter is for wellbeing.
  • The variety of sessions available — and being able to choose which workshops and presentations to attend.
  • The sessions were so informative and they were about subjects that don’t usually get discussed in the workplace very often.
  • Respondents told us they enjoyed Natasha Wallace’s Lightning Talk and session on Conscious Leadership.
  • Respondents told us they enjoyed all the external speakers and hearing from people outside the Civil Service bubble.

Where we go from here

There will be another post with more of our feedback and insights following this one, and we are in discussions with a number of departments about running similar, more localised events for them.

We believe that we are the change we want to see, and the opportunities to learn are endless. We are taking our reflections and thinking about what more we can do to promote inclusion and wellbeing.

We commit to doing this in the open, with you.


Thank you for being a part of our community, and for the impact you’re making. If there is anything else you’d like to know, or that you think we should do, please let us know by replying to this post or on Twitter @OneTeamGov.

OneTeamGov

UK policymakers, service designers, digital professionals and others working out how we can make government more effective. #oneteamgov

Nour Sidawi

Written by

Commercial Manager, @UKCivilService. Change is for everyone #TemperedRadical. Beavering away to take @OneTeamGov Global 🌍 Views are my own.

OneTeamGov

UK policymakers, service designers, digital professionals and others working out how we can make government more effective. #oneteamgov

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade