Welsh government workers describe how they are using their dedicated hour of well-being each week which was negotiated by Prospect.
By introducing the hour, the Welsh government hopes to be able to work with staff to prevent stress and promote mental health.
The deal was struck – in partnership with civil service unions the PCS and FDA – as part of pay negotiations. It allows employees up to 60 minutes’ additional break a week to pursue activities that support their well-being.
The hour can be broken up and spread over the week in any pattern. For example, staff can take an extra 12 minutes break a day or two half-hour breaks a week. The time can be added to lunch breaks or taken at the beginning or end of the day – as long as it is between the working hours of 7am and 7pm and contributes to well-being.
It chimes with other government policies seeking to improve the quality of life of people in Wales. Robin Bradfield, Welsh government branch secretary, said:
“The well-being hour is an excellent opportunity for the Welsh government to take a lead and further demonstrate its commitment to the physical and mental health and well-being of our members and staff generally.”
Shan Morgan, permanent secretary to the Welsh government, said: “I see our new well-being hour as an innovative way of putting strategy into practice in a very practical way that I hope everyone will benefit from.”
We asked members if they were using and benefiting from the well-being hour and received many responses. They told us they’ve used it for nature walks, reading in the park, museum trips, meditation, cuddles with grandchildren, dog walking, crochet groups, choir practice, swimming, running and working out – all of which promote well-being, read some comments below:
“It is a way I can justify taking time out for myself. I have used the hour to work out and meditate. Both my daughters have had babies recently, so I have used sessions to have snuggles with them. It brings the biggest smile to my face and helps me keep my sanity."
“I spent my hour today in a lunchtime group walking through a shady wood on the outskirts of Aberystwyth admiring wild flowers in bloom. It left me calm, refreshed and ready to face the afternoon’s work. Some weeks I use it for Pilates. It is a brilliant innovation."
“I was sceptical, but can see the benefit now. I’ve worked through lunch more than I should, but have started to fit in trips to the museum, walks and reading. Being able to break up the hour is good, and having a boss who treats staff like grown-ups makes a big difference."
“I work part-time, and the extra half hour per week (combined with my lunch slot) has enabled me to join the choir, which I am thoroughly enjoying! I’m not sure I could have done it otherwise. Thank you for securing this excellent benefit for us all.”
You can read more comments that we received here