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Prioritising the wellbeing of our people

Since the pandemic hit and we all had to adapt to a new way of living and working, it’s been our number-one priority to look after our people and provide a trusted and consistent source of reassurance, advice and information.

Setting the scene

Mental health and wellbeing has been a priority for a number of years, and our dedicated wellbeing team leads on giving our people support for their physical, mental and emotional health through our firmwide wellbeing offer, ‘Be Well, Work Well’. 

We have a network of senior Mental Health Advocates who have personal experience of dealing with mental ill-health. Alongside a team of over 150 Mental Health First Aiders, this group works with our wellbeing team to support our people when they need help and someone to talk to.

How we helped

Following government guidance, all of our people were asked to work from home on the evening of 16 March. The next day, Laura Hinton, our Chief People Officer, hosted a live firmwide wellbeing webcast. Laura was joined by a doctor to answer questions on the medical implications of COVID-19 and also by a psychiatrist, who gave advice and answered questions on mental health and wellbeing.

Following this, our wellbeing team created a regular weekly engagement plan to support our people while working from home. Advice was updated regularly as we adapted to the evolving situation and gained greater insight into the needs of our people. Resources and guidance were provided on issues including home-schooling and caring for others, bereavement, supporting the mental wellbeing of young people and children, maintaining a work/life balance, creating new routines and setting boundaries, the importance of rest and recovery, and how to keep connected with others while working remotely. Local story-sharing by people across the business reinforced the central communications, and also helped to create a supportive sense of community, as people learned from each other about ways to cope.

As the weeks and months went on, we continued to hold live webcasts with medical professionals to help our people adjust to longer-term remote working, as well as transitioning back into a more blended way of working from home as well as returning to our offices. 

Our practical mental health awareness training, usually delivered in person, was converted to a virtual format and over 30 sessions have been delivered to 330 line managers and career coaches.

Where our people were working on engagements related to COVID-19, they were provided with specialist advice and resources to support their wellbeing. The career coaches of these individuals also received specific guidance on how to best support their coachees through this time. 

COVID-19 was not the only event affecting our people. In June, as part of our renewed focus on tackling racial inequality, we hosted targeted wellbeing support sessions for colleagues impacted by Black Lives Matter events across the globe. These sessions continue to be available to our Black colleagues and all affected by Black Lives Matter.

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“We’ve increased the level of support to help all our people at this time. This includes regular webcasts with psychiatrists and psychologists who can answer questions and provide advice and perspective on a range of challenges, approaches and tips. They have been among our best attended events ever, and both the number of questions asked and the feedback from all levels of staff, shows we are meeting a need.”

Kevin Ellis Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC UK

Making a difference

The dedicated wellbeing webcast on the first day of lockdown saw almost 14,000 of our people log in live. We received 1,600 questions from our people, some of which were answered during the session. The rest were analysed and grouped into themes which helped inform follow-up communications from our leaders. 

Our senior leaders played an important role in ensuring wellbeing was seen as a priority for all of our people. As well as hosting webcasts and being transparent with their own journeys, it was important to speak up externally about the importance of mental health. Our Chairman Kevin Ellis wrote an article in City AM about why putting wellbeing at the heart of businesses' return-to-office planning was important. 

Contact us

Annual Review enquiries

Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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