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What you told us about #OTGWellbeingCamp Part Two

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

Frog on a Rock crafting with the HASSRA Leeds Craft Club

Would you come to another One Team Gov event?

Will the knowledge and information gained on the day help you improve your wellbeing?

A word cloud that was produced on the day that people could send their thoughts about the day to, stand out words include “encouraged”, “inspired” and “energised”

How useful did you find the event and what did you find most useful about it?

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

  • New techniques. New contacts. Inspiration.
  • Discussing wellbeing and inclusion in a direct way with groups of people with a similar level of interest and knowledge. No ‘corporate gloss’ applied to anything.
  • I no longer need to feel like I am different, weaker or less useful than my peers. That there are options out there for me as a sufferer with mental illness.
  • A great reminder that my mindfulness matters and does impact the whole team
  • I don’t think I’d realised how much was out there about mindfulness, mental health, inclusivity etc. It was quite eye-opening to see.
  • It’s OK to think about well being in the light of intense workloads and high amounts of change.
  • The people that I had the pleasure of meeting, working alongside and learning from were fabulous. It was great to get some open, honest and transparent conversations about what matters to people and to be able to remind them that their thoughts, feelings, voice, story, and lives matter…always!
  • Having such a variety of sessions available so that you could pick subjects that were most relevant to your needs.
  • Learning about the issues BAME colleagues face in the workplace — it’s made me realise that racism is everyone’s issue to tackle.
  • Learning to recognise the signs of burnout (the symptoms stopped me in my tracks and made me look at my life!)
  • It was useful to see how creativity can help promote wellbeing and help people to deal with their emotions in a practical way, in particular the Frog on a Rock.
  • I found the opening session particularly engaging, especially the emotional check-in. I felt this really help normalise that people get nervous and set a lovely tone for the day.
  • The fact that many of the presenters have had their own mental health issues and were so open and honest about how it impacted them and how they dealt with it was extremely helpful

Which session(s) did you find particularly useful and why?

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

  • I valued and trusted the knowledge the speaker was able to share.
  • I was able to link on a personal level but also gave an insight with my work topic.
  • She helped verbalise my emotions.
  • Natasha Wallace struck a chord personally and has prompted me to take action.
One of our speakers with a slide in the background that says “What makes you feel great at work?”
  • Being buoyant as opposed to resilient – plan to use in mental health presentations.
  • Relevant and easy to see how his can be applied very practically.
  • Informative, inspirational and food for thought.
  • Rob was really engaging and passionate and his session covered so much. I was really interested in his discussions on positive psychology and the PERMA model of wellbeing. His lighthouse and buoy analogies also resonated with me.
Tia Shafee speaking on the day
  • It made me think about me more.
  • The laughter session as it helped to make you realise life can be serious and it is good to let yourself go.
  • I had a great time and I saw how when people laugh together, barriers between them dissolve.
  • The laughter therapy session, it sounds like you worst nightmare to be in room with 30 people you don’t know laughing, dancing, being silly, but it was actually a really joyful thing to do.
  • I plan to raise awareness in my area, especially for the Mental Health First Aiders.
  • It highlighted the trauma and upset that is experienced by a minority group.
  • It made the biggest impact on me. I had no knowledge of this issue and it was educational. I will consider this when developing policies, if I can.
  • I loved Ruth and Rose’s enthusiasm and genuine interest in improving wellbeing for us all. I have my Gratitude rock on my desk and have stared the 7/11 breathing exercise. Although still to bring out the super hero in me!
  • I had expected this session to be about how ‘digital’ impacts on mental wellbeing but in fact it was how the charity for civil services uses ‘digital’ tools to reach out to people and provide a better service.
  • The quote “if a flower doesn’t bloom don’t fix the flower fix the environment” generated such emotion for me. Thank you Sarah for such an authentic and honest account of your journey and being an inspirational speaker.
  • How to identify burnout and the fact that burnout had now been classified by the WHO as an occupational phenomenon not a medical condition.
Sarah Carter speaking to attendees on the day.
  • The crafting session and making my ‘frog on a rock’ was brilliant and something I can easily do in my area.
  • I learnt several relaxation techniques that can be carried out in an office environment.
  • At the end of the day I enjoyed winding down with the Yoga Instructor.
Some of our attendees trying out Desk Yoga
  • The content of the workshop was very good and well demonstrated.
  • The weeknotes session was also very good and something I am considering, not so much on a work related basis but just for my life in general.

What will you be taking back to your day job as a result of the event?

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

  • I have taught some of my colleagues some of the breathing sand desk exercises.
  • To examine how I interact with others and come up with ways to build a more caring workplace.
  • That there is hope and people who are proactively “being the change that they want to see in the world.” That we can all make a difference when we care enough to stand up and be counted. We are the change that we have been waiting for!
  • The importance of looking after yourself — and those around you — and to be mindful of your personal wellbeing and how to effectively manage yourself when working.
  • Ideas that I will share with my Wellbeing Group colleagues, e.g. keeping a diary of one good thing that has happened each day, so that I can reflect back on good things; holding a board game lunch time in the office once a month.
  • To never doubt the need for space away from the desk.
  • I have one of the gratitude stones which I took back for my team members too. Every morning I think of 3 things I’m grateful for.
  • Appreciating the little things that fuel a feeling of belonging. Learn something from negative experiences. Think about my networks and how different people can help me in different ways.
  • Resilience and reassurance that my ambition to embed Health & Wellbeing is the right thing to do! I’ll continue role-modelling leadership behaviours and embedding the right environment for people to thrive and flourish.
  • Believe in myself more — and bring my whole self to work.
  • The funky chicken exercise!

What, if anything, could we have done differently?

We really wanted to know how to improve so that if we run the event again, or if others run similar events that they can learn from us. We appreciated people’s candour and have tried to summarise the free text responses here for you, we haven’t sugar coated anything. All of the main points are here and we are happy to discuss them with anyone.

  • Advance notice of the timetable so that there was the opportunity to give more thought to which sessions I wanted to go to.
  • It would have been good to get a short description of the sessions in addition to the title of the session — this would help ensure you would be better informed as to what each one was about and what you would be doing in them.
  • It would be nice if a couple of the sessions could have had an AM and PM time slot as there were a few I struggled to chose between.
  • Spread the sessions out more — many were all at the same time. I felt I was missing out on certain workshops because I had to choose between ones that were on at the same time.
  • Displaying the sessions in advance so people could plan, or organisers could know what was popular and give the bigger rooms to those.
  • More market stalls!
  • Provide a recording of sessions for those we couldn’t attend.
  • The large main room being used at the same time for more than one session — didn’t really work when a couple of people were speaking at odds with each other.
  • The only thing I would say is the event could have been spread over two days. So much effort and information went into the day — the organisation should be applauded.
  • I think it would have been better if ‘You Matter Always’ had been down near most of the other workshops because people said that they couldn’t find the room.
  • I would have liked more time to network with other people from different organisations and think about how we can work together to improve wellbeing collectively, rather than individually.
  • The tea, coffee and snacks were not out at times that met with breaks between sessions — though the food was excellent at the venue.
  • The organisation of the day could be improved to run more workshops over the lunch period and other parts of the day.
  • I don’t have a smartphone so the only non-inclusive bit for me was the information available as an app.
  • No interfaith or religious group representation — why? Let’s open the narrative up if we’re truly diverse!
  • Yoga in a different room.

Do you have any other comments?

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

  • I just want to say THANK YOU for organising such a positive event. I hope that one day the people at the ‘top’, who should be there, realise the value of events like this and the positive impact that they can and do have personally and professionally, both in and outside of the workplace. It can make a positive difference to levels of productivity, emotional, social and physical wellbeing, service provision and financial gain.
  • A really great event overall — really well facilitated and attended in a great venue. Hopefully there will be more in future that people can attend. It gave me a great first impression of OneTeamGov as well.
  • It was great having something happening in Leeds in an organisation which is normally London centric. Myself and my colleague walked from our workplace to it.
  • I cannot wait for the next one and I would like to be a volunteer it was very inspirational.
  • My colleagues and I came away enthused and positive about helping our people to improve their health and well-being. Here’s to the next event!
  • I had not heard of OneTeamGov but have been a civil servant for nearly 30 years. This was the first OneTeamGov event I had heard of and I feel privileged to have been able to attend it. I hope there are more and I can attend them. Thank you so much to all the team for arranging the event, it was fantastic, I left feeling energised and enthusiastic about all the Wellbeing ideas I had to share. Looking forward to the next event.
  • Loved the Nour Sidawi and Joanne Rewcastle double act! Very real and welcoming putting folk at ease and making us feel comfortable. Really nice to have that honest open approach at the start — I’m nervous etc.
  • I would love to see more of these events throughout the country on a regular basis to give more people the opportunity to experience it.
  • Would love to go to another — loved the vibe and the enthusiasm of the organisers and speakers — everyone was there to learn, expand and hopefully make things better for people in our organisations — these are what drives and is an indication of how good an organisation actually is!
  • It was a brilliant day, ran very smoothly and it was great location. All the presenters were very personable, even those that said they were nervous, but didn’t appear so.
  • It was evident that the organisers but a huge amount of effort in to the event.

Where we go from here

There will be another post with how we planned Wellbeing Camp so you can do the same. We are in discussions with a number of departments about running similar, more localised events for them.



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Nour Sidawi

Mastering the art of disruption in procurement, leadership, and change @MoJGoVUK. Reimagining the future of multifarious possibilities with @OneTeamGov 🌍