A focus on… mental health and wellbeing
“Mental health doesn’t feel like a taboo subject at PKF. Our programme of wellbeing initiatives and team of Mental Health First Aiders mean that mental health support has become a normal part of the conversation. That’s the way it should be everywhere.”
Mercedes Bragg | Assistant Training Manager
Tell us about yourself briefly
I’m Mercedes, an Assistant Manager in PKF’s Training team. I’m responsible for looking after all our trainees. Day-to-day, this involves scheduling training and exams, monitoring how they’re all doing and, of course, supporting everyone at each step in the process.
I’m also one of PKF’s Mental Health First Aiders and help organise a number of wellbeing, sporting, fundraising and social activities.
Outside of work, I’m often found at the gym with a keen interest in Crossfit and, specifically, Olympic weightlifting. I’m also a fan of board games and tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons.
What makes it more than just a job to you?
It has to be the people – and the opportunities to get to know each other and spend time together away from our desks. There’s a really approachable, friendly atmosphere here, and wellbeing and social activities are taken seriously.
Everyone is encouraged to get involved and help shape our workplace – I’ve introduced initiatives like our games night, book club and Tough Mudder fundraising. I’m not aware of many other businesses that empower their people to the same extent.
What initiatives has PKF brought in to support wellbeing?
There are a variety of things. Firstly, we have Mental Health First Aiders who works across the whole firm. We’ve been trained to listen to anyone’s concerns when they need us so that we can help them find the support that’s right for them.
I’m proud to have been a Mental Health First Aider since we introduced the initiative, and I feel incredibly privileged to be able to help the people I work with.
Then there are regular wellbeing workshops on topics such as sleep and resilience, as well as on health issues like the menopause. And our benefits package includes several elements designed to help with wellbeing – including private medical cover, discounted gym membership, online guided mediation, a health app, and a confidential employee assistance programme that gives us all access to specialist support when we most need it.
There’s also a calendar of firm-wide and departmental social events – including end of month celebrations, sporting events, fundraising activities, and regular Tuesday Talks – to bring people together.
From the top level down, wellbeing is taken seriously. We’re all human – and our health and wellbeing are paramount to a thriving work environment.
How does PKF break the stigma around mental health?
Over the years, we’ve all become much more open about talking around mental health at PKF – and it’s really making a huge difference. Mental health has becoming a normal part of the conversation.
The fact that our people are talking and sharing with us and each other really is a testament to the supportive culture we have here.
30 seconds with Mercedes Bragg
Q. What one thing would you miss most if you were shipwrecked on a desert island?
A. My Nintendo Switch
Q. What is your favourite book?
A. ‘Behind Closed Doors’ by BA Paris
Q. What is your favourite place in the world?
A. Point Hill in Blackheath. It’s where I go when I need a break from the world.