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TAKING HEART

Doing good through silence, reflection and self-care is Hush Tea Bar's mission

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Accenture staff participating in a team activity at Hush Tea Bar. Hush aims to promote silence, self-care, inclusion and community empowerment in offices.

Singapore

HUSH is Singapore's first silent tea bar with a travelling concept. A not-for-profit social enterprise with an aim to promoting silence, self-care, inclusion and community empowerment in every workplace, the tea bar is completely run by differently-abled persons - for example, the deaf and persons-in-recovery from mental health conditions.

The tea bar has a Hush@Workplace Experience which is a unique responsibility model for employers to integrate employee well-being with community inclusion and empowerment (with the Hush team).

As founder of Hush Tea Bar, Anthea Ong, said in parliament last month: "The recent IMH study (2016) shows that one in seven Singaporeans experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. This means that part of our workforce will have to grapple with mental health conditions while under employment.

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"When we pause and reflect in silence, we remember who we are and who we are to each other. Then, employees are encouraged to share their silent and signing experience with each other during the Sharing Zone. Such conversations - some are very compelling when participants share their personal struggles in life and work - make them connect with each other as humans, not as transactional parties (colleagues)."

She added that this often changes the team culture. The interaction and learning to sign with the deaf also inspire much experiential empathy from the employees - which helps them to be more empathetic towards each other as colleagues as well.

On Dec 6, 20 staff members from Accenture joined in the activity and Leong Jie Min, Asean Talent Strategy, Accenture, said: "It was a welcome change of pace from the hustle and bustle of work and everyday life. It felt good to ... experience this with my fellow Accenture colleagues. It was an exercise in self-awareness and learning how to embrace the silence, even with the noise around you."

Grace Yip, managing director/head of HR, Accenture Asean, concurred and said: "Through the Hush Experience, we wanted to drive awareness for our deaf partners and persons-in-recovery. We believe inclusion is not just confined to the workplace alone and this was a fantastic opportunity to embody this."