In July 2018, M Restaurant’s Operations Director, Andre Mannini (pictured) was determined to improve mental wellbeing within the company and help counterbalance the industry wide recruitment issues by introducing a revolutionary M-indful Days initiative.
One year on and the scheme, which gifts all full-time employees four fully paid additional days of holiday allowance amongst other benefits, has been an overwhelming success with staff reporting that they are more productive at work and have noticed a marked improvement to their general well-being.
Employees have been encouraged to take their M-indful Days wherever they see fit, be that an unplanned recovery day following a big night out, a spontaneous duvet day or a day when they just can’t get out of bed in the morning. One of the only requirements is that on one of the days, it is compulsory for all staff to receive a complimentary massage at their home from Urban Massage.
Managers have found the flexibility of the days has eradicated the environment of guilt and resentment from both sides and means that staff no longer feel the need to take false sick days.
Also, for employees who haven’t used all their additional allowance, they have received the monetary value instead. Additional benefits to staff include free and unlimited access to Spill, a remote and anonymous counselling app and a raise in M’s starting wage to £10 per hour across the board.
Mannini said, “I am delighted to see how well the M-indful Days and our adoption of Spill have been received by the team. At this crucial time in our sector, having engaged teams as well as nurturing and retaining talent is vital. We are extremely proud to be pioneering the way towards a different and more modern hospitality industry.”
Here follows testimonials from a selection of M employees:
Magda Koch, Finance Manager, said, “The idea of M-indful Days helps us take a step back in the most stressful time, take a breath and approach problems from a fresh perspective.
'I personally take M-indful Days after the end of the month on Fridays, making a weekend a little bit longer and allowing me to charge the batteries and start a new month with lots of energy and positivity. It’s very important to communicate our wellbeing with bosses, team members and co-workers.
'M-indful Days give everyone the opportunity to show co-workers you’re overwhelmed, even if we can’t or don’t want to talk about it. I really believe it’s a huge step to change hospitality from a stressful, mentally and physically abusing environment, to a place where people care about each other, their wellbeing and have a strong work-life balance.”
Gabriele Semino, Runner, said, “I want to thank M for my additional M-indful Days. I took one when my aunty and cousin came to London unannounced which meant I had no notice period to take holiday and otherwise couldn’t guarantee I would see them. I
't was great to be able to take the weekend off last minute and spend time with my family as I have no family in London and miss them a lot. Also, with only three runners on the floor and working a lot, it was nice to take an extra day’s rest to recover and my girlfriend was happy to spend a day with me too!”
Branka Vuskovic, Group Head of Events, said, “I find the M-indful Days are such a great benefit for our mental health. You really feel the benefit knowing that at any time you can take a break from the busy and fast paced environment, or for any other reason, with no questions asked. It assists in having a little break to reenergise and come back to work feeling positive, happy, motivated and balanced.”
Megan Inglis, Events Manager, said, “My personal feedback on the M-indful Days is that they are a great perk of working for M Restaurants. I have taken two so far and they have really helped. One was used to go to A&E when I didn’t want to take a sick day and one was used when I moved to a new house and I needed to sort out my travel and goods etc.
'I personally suffer from a lot of anxiety and it is great to know that if I have a day when I am not feeling well, I have an option to take the day and re-gather my mental state in a healthy way. My partner and friends have said that they wished they had this perk at their workplace as it is much needed.”