From the start of the Distrkt journey, we have put people at the centre of our working culture. One of our earliest initiatives on launching was to prioritise wellbeing, and we encourage our team to go to the gym and break up the working day.

Camilla Topham

As a society, many are starting to understand the importance of physical health and there are many companies that offer gym memberships, which has been reflected by the boom in the health, fitness and wellness sector. Little, however, had been said on the issue of mental health – that is, until we entered a global pandemic.

According to mental health charity Mind, more than half of adults and over two-thirds of young people felt their mental health deteriorated during lockdown. That is almost everyone, yet still there remains a huge stigma around mental health in the workplace.

The strains of multiple lockdowns and huge uncertainty have led to a steep increase in anxiety, depression, loneliness and isolation.

As a company we are small and we are tight-knit. However, throughout the past year, we have all experienced our individual challenges, mostly while working from home, disconnected from each other physically and operating in a sector that has been particularly hard-hit.

Working from home stress

Source: Shutterstock/ Pra Chid

One thing I personally learned was that when you are not feeling good mentally, the temptation is to isolate yourself further when the opposite is what you need.

Responding to this, we created the ‘Headspace’ initiative to encourage us all to take some space when needed. If one of our team wants to take a Headspace day, there is no pressure to explain, but support is there if needed. There is no limit on these days; they are simply based on trust, which reflects our core values.

What we are trying to achieve is connection, communication and trust within our team, which right now, as we sit staring at Zoom with no end in sight, feels more important than ever.

Camilla Topham is co-founder of Distrkt and Residency