The future of work and wellbeing

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

Over the last few months, we have been having lots of conversations with people about working from home and wellbeing, we’ve been running webinars on how to look after ourselves whilst working from home and running workshops with clients on how to look after our teams as they moved to work remotely.

As a team we have had a flexible approach to work since we started in 2011 as one of the key factors for setting up Pro-Development was to be able to offer a life/work balance as we grew. So, working remotely is not a new concept to us, however, even we have noticed that the lines between home and work have become more blurred as the balance between home and the office has shifted so significantly towards working from home.

One of our clients made the decision to not renew the lease on their building and move to a completely working from home model. They knew the experience would be challenging for the team, but all agreed together they could make it work. However, they have been really focussed on the team’s wellbeing and we‘ve been running one of our online programmes with the team to help ensure they keep focussed on working well together well. Will be interesting to see how they get on over the next 12 months. Interestingly though, lots of clients are having similar conversations and looking to embrace a new model of working in the months and years ahead.

. Here’s what their MD had to say about their experience so far …

“The first time we floated the idea of moving to a working from home model was after I attended the ‘World of Business Ideas’ London conference in 2019. A common thread emerged from all of the leading business speakers that seemed to be focusing on creating self-managing workforces where trust, entrepreneurship, innovation and flexibility needed to be at the heart of the business. When the pandemic hit in March 2020 and overnight, we found ourselves having to re-invent we started to really think about what kind of business we wanted to transform into and the workforce we needed to do this. In Dec 2020 we took a bold step and terminated our lease and now run entirely from home. At first our teams went through a period of adjustment (particularly our younger team members who were also missing their usual busy social lives) and we had to find new ways to connect and communicate to include using ‘kumospace’ a fun interactive social space. We recognise that we will need to continue to evolve and adapt our model to build resilient and effective teams and we plan to meet and work in shared spaces over the coming months and have already introduced ‘quiet’ time to enable people to get in flow and promote wellbeing. “ Jo Guy- Managing Director AJ Recruitment

To be honest, there are lots of positives about being able to work from home and many workers are saying they have enjoyed it and some hoping that their employers will look to utilise a hybrid model in the future. So, what does the future of work look like?

In our employee engagement surveys over the last 10 years, we have seen more and more people highlighting that a lack of flexibility in work impacts on their engagement. Although the last year has been tough, if we do not now embrace a new way of working, we believe we will have missed a huge opportunity.

Whether we move to a completely virtual or hybrid way of working, it is essential we consider team wellbeing. So how do we make sure that working from home stops taking such a toll on our wellbeing?

We were reading an article in The Guardian over the weekend about the impact of Zoom/Teams fatigue and the idea of Zoom Free Fridays. Click here to take a read.

We use Fridays as our “Keep Free” day and aim to keep them free from client delivery work where we can along with no zoom/teams calls. It makes a big difference and sometimes its good to just pick up the telephone instead!

Finally, in many of our sessions, we have been reminding people about Covey’s 7 habits and Habit 7, “Sharpen the Saw” and four aspects he referred to in his book.

If we all focus on these four aspects of wellbeing, it will help us all to have the balance that we are looking to achieve. Here are a few reminders under each of the headings:-


• Keep moving and getting exercise – DO NOT sit at your laptop all day without taking breaks, stretching, walking in the garden, getting a break at lunch

• Eat healthy, drink water and get into good sleep habits

• Keep your hours under control – it is too easy to be sat at your laptop at 7am and find yourself still sitting with it at 7pm!


• This links to our hours in many ways – make time for relationships. It has been challenging with the restrictions but from this week, we can now meet in gardens with another household or up to 6 people – make the time this week to meet up with someone

• Have fun – we always say life is too short not to, and we can still do this remotely. Make sure you have a good laugh every day – remember, laughing for 10 to 15 minutes burns between 10 and 40 calories!

• Acts of kindness are so good for our own wellbeing as well of those we show kindness too. What can you do this week to show a random act of kindness?


• Make time for mindfulness – we have written lots of blogs on this topic over the years and now we have access to great apps like Headspace and Insight Timer to help us. But again, combine your exercise with this – take a walk and just switch on to the beauty, sounds and smells around you

• What are your core values and beliefs? When was the last time you took time to reflect on these and if you are living and breathing them every day. A lot of our coaching at the moment seems to be focussing on people’s purpose, their mission, vision and values for their life. It was doing this work that instigated the creating of Pro-Development!


• Have you got a Learning Mindset? We know from the work we do this has a significant impact on so many parts of our lives. Learning more about ourselves helps to develop our self-awareness and emotional intelligence. What are you doing to learn right now?

• There are so many great books, podcasts, videos and materials available to us so make some time for this. If you can, a great habit to get into is then writing or journaling about what you have learnt. You could even start of a blog of your own?

So, if you’re reading this, decide now, what will you do under each of these headings. And as always, we love to hear how you are getting on and what difference it has made.

To get in touch, contact us at and if you decide that you want any help with your team to focus on wellbeing, you may be eligible for 40% funding if you are based in Leeds City region or across York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding.

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