Chatteris’ own Elly Witham shares her experience of our Employee Wellbeing Programme…
Nine months… Nine months have come and gone and soon another chapter of my life will begin to unfold.
But how grateful I am for this last page of my journey; for all of the incredible highs and the tremendous lows, for the unexpected challenges and thrills and mostly for the unmistakable, tangible support I have been gifted from Chatteris.
Boarding the plane after an extremely rocky start, which left myself and my partner shaken, we courageously took our step of faith to start our journey with Chatteris. We were coming with baggage, emotional baggage.
Thankfully, for me at least, I was still heading for a part of home; my oldest and dearest friend would be waiting for us at the airport and we couldn’t wait to see her.
Alice has worked for Chatteris for three years now, and she has always put others’ needs above her own and strives to adapt in ways that allow for personal growth. She is the image of reliability.
It was no surprise to learn of her involvement in implementing the Wellbeing Programme in summer 2019, alongside Harry, who is just as wonderfully warm and welcoming. The two of them act as a pillar to the open-door policy Chatteris promotes for all of their employees. This supportive approach really was the safety net we needed when arriving in Hong Kong.
From the moment we arrived, Harry and Alice were there, supporting us in settling into Hong Kong life and work. This rare level of emotional assistance I found utterly astounding and pleasantly surprising compared to some of my previous job roles.
These empowering values that the organisation upholds are made even more impressive considering the year Hong Kong has had; social unrest, travel and work disruptions, and now coronavirus. This year has been emotionally heavy for us all yet Alice and Harry continue to strive for their colleagues’ happiness.
They may not have a PhD, yet both Alice and Harry have completed an accredited qualification and hold a passion for challenging negative stigmas.
In a recent conversation, Alice admitted that “even though Harry and I are the Wellbeing Coordinators, this doesn’t mean that we are always feeling the best, that our own wellbeing is tip top perfect. It’s a continuum. It fluctuates day by day, month by month. No one is immune to fluctuations, we are all human and we do all have these ups and downs.”
For Alice, a Psychology graduate, part of her drive is to support the personal growth of others. But Chatteris are equally devoted and invested in their employees and I can honestly say with a hand upon my heart that I feel incredibly privileged to have worked for an organisation that values its employees by who they are, not just a number!
Chatteris is a community, gathering from all corners of the globe and each set out on a different journey bringing a range of aspirations and talents to the table. This offers incredible opportunity for the schools and students in partnership with Chatteris and therefore highlights the importance of a Wellbeing Programme.
Harry has noted that “for some we are the first opportunity for the real ‘big wide world’ and employees should have the chance to see wellbeing and mental health that is not shied away from. It should be empowering and positive.”
Harry has shown incredible understanding in what he refers to as the ‘domino effect’; the way in which a member of staff is feeling can directly impact the young people we are working with.
Furthermore, as an organisation dedicated to employee professional growth, Chatteris has demonstrated how opportunities within the organisation can support staff in their career growth. Harry will be leaving us later this year and is returning to the UK to work as a Learning and Pastoral Support Officer whilst Alice is climbing the Chatteris management ladder and will take ownership of the development of the Wellbeing Programme.
I can safely say Chatteris has immensely impacted my life and although we will not be staying in Hong Kong next year, they have given us career direction and clarity into what a healthy work environment looks like.
We have developed our own set of values and are driven to find employment back home that shares themes with Chatters’ own morals. Harry expressed that “the impact I want is for everybody at Chatteris to know we are present. We’re not professionals, not looking to save everybody everyday, but we are there. I like to think that employees know that they have an avenue of support through us.”
I would encourage all colleagues in need to reach out, this is the first step into the uniquely humbling support offered by a one-of-a-kind mindful community.
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