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As we continued to navigate the pandemic and adjust to blended working, we found new ways to ensure wellbeing support was available near home, in the office and virtually, to all of our people. Options such as a 24/7 virtual GP service and a signposting platform to local support were introduced to ensure everyone could access physical and mental wellbeing services when needed. We also enlisted the support of specialist services such as long Covid support, and meditation and mindfulness app Headspace, to address the specific needs of our people as a result of the pandemic.

Wellbeing for a blended workforce 

With the introduction of our new Deal solidifying our blended way of working, we enhanced our approach to wellbeing to ensure support was easily accessible, whether our people were working from home, in the office or at a client. Our existing Employee Assistance Programme remained in place to provide free, confidential advice and counselling 24/7 to our people and their families. The programme is accessible online and by phone and provides a first port of call on anything from health challenges to financial questions. We also enhanced our private medical plan and introduced 24/7 access to a virtual GP. 

To support our people with their mental health while working from home, we partnered with Frog - a dedicated mental health and wellbeing video platform - that signposts local support for our people. 

We also widened support for our people while working remotely by offering tailored listening and wellbeing sessions to those affected by ongoing conversations on racial equality

As restrictions began to ease and more of our people were spending time in the office, we introduced a face-to-face route into our existing mental health support services by offering a pre-assessment consultation with expert clinicians Cognacity in some of our offices across the UK. The confidential service allows our people to book an appointment with a qualified professional who assesses their needs and can refer them on to further support, covered by our private medical insurance, if needed. 

Navigating the pandemic together 

Over the last year our people faced many wellbeing challenges that were unique to the pandemic and the restrictions in place. As restrictions eased, reactions varied across the firm with some of our people eager to return to how things were pre-pandemic and others anxious about the further changes. Regular feedback from our people through pulse surveys provided us with an insight into the areas where the biggest impact could be made through additional support measures. In response to this feedback we held several live streams featuring our management board members alongside medical specialists, including doctors and psychiatrists, to provide guidance and answer questions.

In November 2020, as part of our commitment to provide tools and resources, Chairman and Senior Partner Kevin Ellis announced a year’s free subscription to meditation and mindfulness app Headspace for everyone across the firm. To date, over 12,000 of our people have registered for the app and are regular users.   

Following the tightened restrictions over winter and feedback from our people that motivation to stay active was at a low point, we launched Move the Nation in February. The platform allows our people to set individual or team goals which promote building movement into their day and staying connected with colleagues. It features a range of challenges including those based around cycling and walking, fundraising, and mental health awareness.  

With growing knowledge and attention given to the ongoing effects of Long Covid this year we’ve included in our private medical offering with AxA Health, a Long Covid plan to support people experiencing long term symptoms after contracting the virus. 

As the effects of the pandemic continue to become known over time and we continue to adapt to a new, blended way of working, we will continue to listen to feedback from our people to ensure we can best support their wellbeing. 

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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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