Co-operative Travel, the retail travel division of The Midcounties Co-operative, has partnered with mental health charity Mind to offer wellbeing sessions to its agents.
The sessions are available to agents who are working from home while stores are shut as well as those on furlough during lockdown.
Paol Stuart-Thomson, trainer for Mind, has been offering the sessions during February and they will continue during March.
Stuart-Thomson has supported colleagues of The Midcounties Co-operative for several years, offering guidance on positive mental health practices in the workplace, how colleagues can look after their own mental health and support others with their mental health.
The sessions feature tips on diet, exercise, positive relationships, structure, self-compassion, boundaries, kindness and peer support, plus a focus on sleeping better, and mindfulness and meditation. There is also an opportunity for agents to pose questions to Mind.
Rebekah Brain, society engagement manager for The Midcounties Co-operative, also joins the sessions to talk about the Grocery Aid charity, which agents can access if they need emotional, practical or financial help.
Grocery Aid offers financial grants, counselling, family and relationship support, debt and gambling advice, legal advice and more.
The wellbeing sessions, which are optional and open to all Co-operative Travel staff, are taking place virtually, using Microsoft Teams, and run for just over an hour.
Natalie Turner, head of retail for Co-operative Travel, said: “The last 12 months have been tough for the majority of the nation, and for those working in travel, one of the industries hardest hit by Covid-19, it’s been particularly gruelling.
“As well as a major shift in working environment and health concerns about the virus, many of our agents are also finding their personal lives impacted with the challenges of home-schooling and the restrictions being placed on their daily lives.
“We recognise what a challenging year it’s been for our colleagues and want to do everything we can to boost their mental wellbeing in readiness for better times just around the corner.”
All of Co-operative Travel’s 78 branches are currently closed, due to the national lockdown, but agents are working from home to take bookings and help customers with refunds and rearranged trips.