Our journey through the pandemic hasn’t been easy. For many, abruptly switching to remote work, losing access to sustaining resources, and being distanced from loved ones was a shock to our sense of normalcy. The boundaries between work and life quickly became blurred and the rates of burnout soared. While demands on our time and attention have felt increasingly intense, this also serves as a reminder that we are due for a moment of deep reflection. 

In a way, this past year should emphasize for all of us to take a necessary pause, step back and ask ourselves is this way of working, actually working? As the country starts to open, we have an opportunity to redefine the future of work in new ways that build upon everything we’ve experienced over the past year. And one thing is clear —  well-being strategies and mental health support are critical and need to be front and center to the employee experience. 

At PwC, well-being has been embedded into our culture for well over a decade. It is part of the thread that is woven throughout our purpose and values as a firm and how we develop the leaders of today and tomorrow. We believe that in order to succeed and thrive, we need to embrace practices that energize us and enable us to be our best selves at home, work and in our communities.

Be Well, Work Well is our investment in well-being and is propelled by a simple, unifying goal: helping you feel empowered and supported to put your well-being first. It’s centered on an established framework and science-backed concepts, practices and tools. It’s about everyday behaviors and intentional habit-forming that help fuel six dimensions of energy — physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial and social — which are proven drivers of performance, fulfillment and engagement

It hasn’t always been this way. Our firm has come a long way over the past decade by doubling down on well-being as a culture-building investment. It starts with empowering your people to feel safe to speak up when they need to, then listening, learning, implementing, and assessing. This is not a start and stop journey. It requires consistent attention, and when done right, prioritizing well-bring results in a happier, healthier, and more engaged workforce. And it helps attract the top talent, and makes employees want to stick around. My advice for others looking to implement well-being strategies is start small and think about these three steps:

  1. Focus on healthy habits as a first step toward well-being 
  2. Build teams that support well-being habits to help you thrive 
  3. Talk about well-being goals in at least one meeting a day

It’s clear that we won’t go back to “normal” as we once knew it. And personally, I’m okay with it. Instead, we’re at an inflection point where we have the opportunity to accelerate cultural changes and bring well-being practices and flexibility to the forefront in the workplace. We need to continue to find new and flexible ways for our people to do their jobs while managing personal obligations and their well-being. HR professionals and leadership teams will be central to managing these changes because none of us can (or should) go at it alone. Through small steps and commitments to everyday habits, we can all find ways to be our best selves, at work and at home. We provide resources and benefits to help our employees, including tips on our Habit Bank. In honor of #MentalHealthAwareness month, I encourage you to visit and reference it as well because it’s never been more important to lead with a well-being and supportive mindset.

And, as a firm that recognizes our responsibility to take on important issues we are also taking action. PwC is donating $100k to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, and $100k to The Jed Foundation to support the emotional health and help prevent suicide for teens and young adults.