How I started my workplace health journey
This is me…….
I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself and how I got to work in workplace health and wellbeing.
Only yesterday I spent time looking back through my old school reports and they all said the same words “Renee is such a lovely girl and a great asset to the class (the good bit). If Renee could stop talking and concentrate on her work she will achieve good grades and go far in life”. That was the difficult bit. Everyone who I met loved my cheeky character and my chatter box nature but my ability to concentrate and focus was (and is) my accilies heel. That said, I left school with ok qualifications and went on to do a business and finance course and excelled with top grades. The head of the college wanted me to go on to university but at 18 I thought that was far too boring. Instead I decided to leave my hometown and go on a few adventures and have some fun, starting in the South Coast of England, then a stint in London and followed by some holiday repping in the Canaries. I had lots of fun but at 22 I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
After returning to the UK I worked in hospitality for a few years and then got a junior job in HR with the government and soon went from admin to managing a team of 15 people in anther department. A new opportunity came up which involved working for The Office of the Deputy Prime minister in export. Although I had no experience in this field I went for the job as I knew I was ready for a new challenge. Whilst in the role I suffered a period of stress (due to both personal and work issues) and was given antidepressants by the doctor. Something had to give as I didn’t want my life determined by medication and I knew I wanted to take control before things got out of hand (mental health is prominent part of my family history). I decided it was time to reevaluate my life and take action!
Whilst still in full time employment I enrolled on several holistic therapy courses. Having this time to concentrate on myself not only helped me mentally but physically to. Regular massage helped me relax whilst the learning aspect kept my mind busy. This was a pivotal time in my life as I knew I wanted to share my experience and make a difference to people.
Fast forward a couple of years and I had taken voluntary redundancy, set up a successful corporate massage business and was working with high end clients in both public and private sector. Although I loved the massage work I knew that there was much more organisations could do to make a big difference to the health and wellbeing of their workforce.
With this is mind I set about learning all I could about workplace health; I read every report, attended every meeting and researched the best people in the industry to help me achieve my goal of a one stop, holistic site for organisational workplace health and wellbeing. I was fortunate to have some big business names come to me for training and health days from day 1 of business.
Although feedback from clients was fantastic, I still suffered from imposter syndrome and felt that without formal qualifications how could people trust me? I needed to get over this hurdle and searched what qualifications would support my 8 years of knowledge and experience and get me believing in myself again. Having never been to university I knew that I wanted to do a degree, not to do things by half I aimed high and went straight for a Masters in Workplace Health. I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the course and graduated in 2018.
One of the main learning points of taking the course was the importance of having a robust strategy that allowed me to target key areas of work, kept me focused when my resource was limited (two children under 4 and a business to run) and allowed me to achieve great results. The same can be said for workplace health. For a programme to be sustainable you need a solid base, a strategy, a guide to go back to when things get hard and resource is tight.
Although a core part of my business is training on topics such as mental health, resilience and stress management my focus lies on teaching organisations the importance of having a robust holistic strategy that benefits both the business and its employees. WHY? Well without having a clear understanding of what issues you face how can you resolve them? Holding an ad-hoc training issue can be like putting a plaster on a cut but not understanding why the cut happened in the first place.
The key to success is knowing your people, knowing your workplace and aligning them to get the best results for everyone involved.
I feel so lucky to do the work I do and know that every day my work makes a difference to both the businesses I work with and their people……… what’s not to love.