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Pagabo Foundation: It is time to take care of our employees, our peers and most importantly ourselves

Date: 06/12/2020

Categories: Pagabo News, Thought Leadership

Christine-Alice Hartigan SPACE & PLACE Senior Associate, Head of Spa and Wellness, UK Spa Association Vice chair and newly appointed Pagabo Foundation trustee talks about why it’s so important now more than ever to come together to support each other in the construction industry and the steps SPACE & PLACE are taking to support their employees, peers and the people they work with.

‘The suicide rate within the construction industry is alarming to say the least and Pagabo’s focus on improving mental health within the sector has never been more important. I am fortunate to have worked closely with the team at Pagabo and feel that their ambitions and aims are something that I am very much aligned with, so when the opportunity to join the board came up, I was delighted.’


Coming together to support each other

We are at the very beginning of this journey as a new board of trustees for the Pagabo Foundation and there are many things to uncover and learn. As I learn more about the stresses and strains of other roles within the construction industry, with the added pressure and worries of a global pandemic, I will be able to give a greater insight.

Within the Architecture side of the Construction industry, I can report we work in a deadline driven industry with tight timescales, long working hours and the pressure of responsibility makes for a relentlessly stressful environment.

At S&P, we are determined to tackle the stigma around mental health and have introduced several preventative measures, including mental health first aiders in order to recognise the signs of break-down in communication, ability to complete tasks now more than ever to help people stay mentally healthy while at work. We also have regular wellbeing talks from mental health charities to allow people to recognise the signs for themselves. We are taking all the necessary steps at SPACE & PLACE which have been outlaid in the Mental Health Wellbeing kit provided by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

As a creative person working in the Architectural and design arm of the UK construction industry in a field which I live and breathe “Fitness, Health, Sports, Spa and Wellbeing”, we need time to develop ideas, thoughts and processes. However, in recent years like everyone in this industry at some point, have felt overwhelmed by unrealistic deadlines demanded by the culture of which we now live and fundamentally the industries bidding system. We cannot afford to lose our customers therefore, we must respond, we have to have the best ideas, they are needed now and they have to within a budget.

Finding myself being in that place of being “overwhelmed”, I found a way to rebalance my work and life through re-prioritizing Self-care and knowing where I particularly add value to company.

Luckily the information that appeals to me is on the very subject of developing the power to notice and keep track of how to keep yourself both physically and mentally strong and healthy. But even then, it’s a struggle not to get carried away with learning and doing more.



Promoting and supporting Self-Care in the workplace

What is self-care?

Self-Care is: The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness. The origins of this philosophy were chronicled by Hippocrates. Hippocrates, known as the ancient father of medicine, believed that the best way to avoid illness was to prevent illness. Eating nutrient dense food, having a connection with nature, spending time for relaxation and taking part in physical exercise, were all promoted as key ways to prevent ill-health in the first instance.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has produced a document called the MENTAL HEALTH TOOLKIT and would urge all other Architects and design practices to download this information.

Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit

At the beginning of the year pre-COVID SPACE & PLACE started to implement the first stages of the process.

‘Welcome to of the most challenging time of our lives where every day seems to bring uncertainty and additional, stresses and strains. The global pandemic COVID-19 has now added to the already stressful Technology advanced world which now connects us 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Jobs are at risk, livelihoods are being compromised and new worries of how we will survive the situation will most definitely reflect in our mental stability of how to cope with each day.

'I know that if we put our employees, staff and peers health as a priority and work together to reset the current ways in which we do our work, we can all improve our mental health and wellbeing and I can’t wait to start work as a Pagabo Board Trustee.’


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Pagabo Foundation