Writing this round up of the year, it’s been difficult to place what happened and when in 2021. At the end of the long winter lockdown I’m sure none of us anticipated being in such uncertain times again coming into Christmas and 2022. It’s been another challenging year, we’ve all worked really hard, and I think it’s fair to say that everyone is in need of a Christmas break and to be able to have time with family and friends that many of us were denied last year.

There’s been plenty of things to think about from a wellbeing perspective this year. We’ve continued to work largely remotely so it’s been important to look after our wellbeing, keep us talking about issues we are facing and sharing our ideas and thoughts. We’ve run wellbeing drop in sessions on a range of topics including the giving and receiving of feedback, why we procrastinate and how it affects us, the challenges of context switching at work, and how we manage and embrace uncertainty; particularly potent to our global experience of a pandemic over the last couple of years and collaboratively working remotely. We published blogs on topics from new year's resolutions, supporting the wellbeing of a remote digital team, the daily outside photo for mental health awareness week, how emotions affect us in the workplace, and the first in a series of blogs on how we as individuals and teams manage uncertainty. We’ve had a fantastic workshop on inclusion delivered to the whole company and we’re excited about continuing our diversity, equity and inclusion work into 2022. We’ll be kicking off 2022 with a new venture into the world of Podcasts when we talk about the lesser known issue of ‘boreout’ and how that affects our mental and physical wellbeing.

We have done a huge amount of work on our Career Progression framework which, whilst still being iterated on, has proved to be a much more productive and effective process for most people, enabling them to have a clearer understanding of where they are, where they want to be and how to get there. Supporting that process, our new individual monthly reflection sessions for the whole team gives everyone the dedicated time to reflect each month on what’s gone well, what hasn’t, things learned, actions to take and feedback. It’s been working well for the design team over the year and now the internal ops team and devs have these sessions up and running too.

Social connections are so valuable and when the restrictions allowed this year, we really appreciated being able to have time with colleagues in person, and especially those that have joined us throughout 2021. Zoom Christmas parties are a challenge for sure, so for Christmas 2020 we started the Unboxed quiz and have continued quizzing throughout the year. Fingers and toes crossed we are able to host the new year quiz in person with a beer or two.

Written by Vicky Peel