Pensions and HR Leadership Coronavirus

Why the CFG team values Wellbeing Week

CFG's Communications Manager, Emma Abbott, shares why dedicated time off to focus on wellbeing is the best way to kick-start a new year.


It has been nearly two years since we saw on our screens the Covid-19 pandemic unfold in China. The months that followed impacted us all in different ways, but I think it's safe to say that it has been hard on everyone. As Caron said to me recently, 'We are all in the same storm, in the same turbulent sea, but we are all in very, very different boats'.

According to the National Office of Statistics, some 38% of adults are now experiencing high levels of anxiety – the highest proportion since the third national lockdown in January 2021. It is also projected that there could be 230,000 new referrals for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) across England as a direct or indirect result of the pandemic.

The lines between our personal and work lives have been blurred and tested like never before, so it is only right that employee wellbeing – the state of employees’ mental and physical health, resulting from dynamics within – and sometimes outside – the workplace – has climbed the agenda.

Never has it been more important to look after our mental health and wellbeing – and care for the wellbeing of our colleagues.

In the first week of January, the CFG team will be taking its first Wellbeing Week and, although I don’t have any firm plans about how I will spend that additional time away from my desk, I will do all I can to rest, reset and rebuild.

For me, personally, having genuine quiet time to think ahead, plan and invest in my personal development (without the children asking 'what have we got to eat?' every hour) is, well, pretty vital to my overall productivity and ability to think creatively. And so too is having permission to genuinely switch off.

Another benefit of Wellbeing Week is that it’s not like annual leave. There’s no pressure to hand work and projects over to colleagues before the out of office messages go on.

There’s no growing anxiety about the number of internal emails stacking up in the inbox as the first day back at work looms.

And there’s less concern about the time it takes to catch up once back in the office – meaning we can all fully focus on immediately responding to external enquiries.

I think my colleague Jessica sums it up perfectly: “This is CFG’s first wellbeing week trial and I think it’s an amazing initiative.

"For an organisation to recognise the benefit it will have on employees makes me feel very valued.

“I welcome the fact that the whole office shuts down together; a whole office pause alleviates the guilt of taking time off and passing on work to your peers. It allows for all meetings and emails to slow.

“As an organisation we have been prioritising our wellbeing with the launch of our internal wellbeing cross-organisational group that has produced members meetings and information for members, as well as trainings and space internally to focus on wellbeing.

“I am looking forward to the break and if it also encourages others to make space to prioritise their wellbeing that can only be an added benefit.”

Of course, we’re not so unrealistic to think the world stops when we do. We don’t want our time away from our desks to become a source of anxiety or inconvenience for our members. We are still here if you need us.

If your enquiry isn’t urgent and can wait until our return on Monday 10 January, then please email as you normally would. If you’re not sure who to direct your enquiry to, email our general info inbox.

If you need to talk to a member of the team or access advice urgently, you can still get in touch. Please phone 0845 345 3192 and we’ll be there to help.

Before I switch on my out of office message for the last time in 2021, I'd like to say, on behalf of the whole team here at CFG: Have a very restful, enjoyable holiday and a peaceful new year.

We look forward to working with you in 2022!


Read Caron's post on the thinking behind CFG's Wellbeing Week and the importance of 'looking after our people'.

This post was last reviewed on 10 January 2022 at 14:51
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