Inside Grant Thornton

Boost: ten ways we lifted our spirits in lockdown life

Our Boost campaign has seen hundreds of us across the firm walk, skip, run, dance, create and make our way through tough times. We share some of our amazing experiences.

It's a relief to emerge from months of lockdown, isolation and home-schooling. These restrictions have impacted most aspects of our world: from work to caring for others, and as we move forward we will continue to provide our people with the resources and advice that they need to adapt to changing conditions. For now, it's a good time to reflect on how we made life a bit better with our Boost campaign. Here are ten things we did that lifted our spirits.

1 We walked to the moon in 2020!

For our first firmwide Walkaround Challenge, we asked our people to form teams of up to ten to battle for the top steppers’ spot on the podium. The first teams to reach 3,000km within the eight-week challenge were crowned the winners. We smashed our firmwide distance goal by the fifth week, so we thought we’d set the bar a bit higher and extend the total distance target… to the moon! And we smashed our target once again, just before Christmas - watch our success video.

2 Walking with spring in our steps

Back by popular demand, we introduced our Springtime Walkaround Challenge in March, where we saw even more stepping, entertaining team names, and some wonderful photographs from our travels. We received some fantastic feedback on both our walking challenges. Many of us were inspired to take more exercise and join a fun team activity during a time of the year when it’s typically more difficult to find the motivation to get outside. For that reason, we’re pledging to bring the Walkaround challenge back later in 2021!

3 We met Saint Nick in Santa’s Grotto

Just before Christmas, we hosted a virtual 'Santa’s Grotto' where children and adults alike had the chance to meet Mr or Mrs Claus during a ten-minute meeting on Teams. Kids had the chance to talk to Santa about what they wanted for Christmas, and the overall feedback was that our families loved our virtual festivity. Watch ‘Story Time with Santa’.

4 We experienced an enchanting evening of entertainment

Our family-friendly virtual magic night, hosted by Britain's Got Talent finalist, Magical Bones, included mysterious magicians, aerial acrobatics and a play-along card trick for us and our families to join in with at home.

5 We laughed our way through a cracking night of comedy

Our comedy night was a huge success and put a smile on all our faces. We chuckled our way through virtual performances from some of the UK’s most exciting stand-up comedy acts, including Zoe Lyons, Tom Ward, Abandoman and Esther Manito. Over 600 of us joined, and some of us even braved front row seats to help provide entertainment for the audience!

6 We educated ourselves about health and wellbeing with Health Boost

Our six-week Health Boost programme saw nearly 800 of us devote the time to learn healthier habits to impact our overall wellbeing positively. We heard from guest speaker and physiologist Oli Patrick on commitment, energy, nutrition and habits; the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association (CABA) hosted a session entitled ‘Do more in a day than you do in a week’; and our own Raj Parmar held a meditation session.

7 We enjoyed collaborative musical moments

We stayed motivated with music by working together to build some truly eclectic playlists, including Songs to make you smile, Christmas songs and January motivation.

8 Partnered with organisations like CityParents and Lift your Wellbeing

CityParents will continue to provide support and guidance to parents within the firm until at least early 2022, and it’s been particularly beneficial to many of us while children were home-schooled due to lockdowns. Lift Your Wellbeing continues to offer us HIIT and yoga sessions to keep us moving whilst spending more time indoors than many of us would like.

9 We provided an abundance of information and guidance on our intranet

Our people can find pages packed full of information and guidance to help them stay healthy, motivated, and focused, categorised by topics such as mood, motivation, health, celebration, connection, family, finance and more.

10 And finally, thank you to our local social committees and wellbeing champions across the firm

These volunteers supported our national events, led social events and provided endless support to people in their local offices – thank you!

Perry Burton, our Head of People and Culture, explains why all of these activities and events were so important for our people.

“We know from the responses to our pulse surveys that the actions we’ve taken as a firm over the last 14 months have helped us adapt and thrive through a very uncertain period. Boost, in particular, helped many of us feel more connected, motivated and conscious of the need to look after our mental and physical health over those long, dark winter months. For that, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to the team who made it happen and to all of you for embracing the events and activities that we have organised".

While uncertainty remains around many elements of the UK’s route to recovery, we understand the need to continue supporting our people. As such, we’re making sure they can still access all our valuable resources relating to health, wellbeing, family, finance and much more. Perry shares how we are approaching this change:

“As we look forward to brighter times ahead, we will continue to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our people. For lots of us, the thought of reconnecting in person with colleagues and friends over the coming months will be exciting, yet for many, adapting to another new way of working and living will be quite unsettling. We’re now fully focused on providing the right level of support and guidance to help us adapt in a manner you’re comfortable with when the time is right".

The current circumstances have challenged us, but we're always proud of what happens here. You can find out more about what it's like to work with us by visiting our careers hub.