Mental health is a hot topic and has been, it seems, for a while now and it’s great to see that it’s being taken seriously in all walks of life. For many of us, work is a huge part of our lives, in fact it’s where we spend most of our time and so having a fulfilling job with a supportive manager and team, can be good for your mental health and general well-being. Life can get on top of us all at certain times and that can be triggered by work pressures, family pressures and a multitude of other reasons. And so, it’s imperative that we address mental health at work because poor mental health can be corrosive to our overall sense of well-being.
Of course, organisations perform better when their staff are motivated and healthy. Smart employers will want to help to support those experiencing mental health issues and of course don’t forget the impact that poor mental health can have on sickness and attendance rates as well as your overall retention rates. It doesn’t matter what size company you are, the following simple pointers will help you, to help your employees improve their mental health in both work and at home.
One frightening statistic shows that only one in ten employees feels comfortable talking to their manager about their mental health issues which is quite staggering. And, over a million people who disclosed a mental health issue with their employer have faced negative consequences or even dismissal. Let’s change the perception…
This just isn’t the case for many companies and it should be! Why? Because as mentioned, happier staff are more productive staff and more likely to stay with your business. And sometimes, it really doesn’t take much to uncover the root cause of the problem and find ways of making someone feel better. FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee well-being and engagement, outperform the rest of the FTSE 100 by a huge 10%.
All it takes is some action ensuring you and your management team are proactive and make time. Even though you may not feel equipped to tackle these problems, all it can take is for you to start the conversation and acknowledge that someone is struggling.
Yes, it can be tricky to talk about these types of issues at work, but if you have a good relationship with your employees, the process should be much easier. If one of your employees or colleagues opens up to you, listen properly to them. If you’re in an informal setting, perhaps suggest you go somewhere more private so they can talk to you properly. And of course, always respect their privacy. If any information does need to be disclosed at management level, you need to discuss this with the individual first.
Is there anything you can do as the business owner or as their line manager to make work temporarily slightly easier, such as dividing some of their tasks out to the rest of the team? Or, they may need some time off for appointments or treatment or even some flexibility around working arrangements, for example working from home.
If you don’t feel equipped, you could request mental health first aid training. Often businesses also create a wellbeing champion network which offers peer support, creating an open environment and promoting the act of simply talking and opening up to one another.
It’s all too easy to hide behind a computer screen in this technological age and so encourage your workforce to actually talk and socialise. Simply connecting with others promotes well-being and can prevent feelings of isolation.
We have all worked through our lunch breaks, however, consistently doing so just isn’t good for the mind or body. Encourage your team to move away from their desk, whether that’s to a cafeteria, communal or outside area. We all feel so much better when we actually take a break and our focus is much improved when we settle back down to our work.
Exercise is also proven to improve mental health and productivity, so try and motivate your staff to go for a brisk walk at lunchtime with their colleagues. The use of Fitbits and suchlike can create some friendly competition in terms of the amount of steps reached by the end of the day and it’s great to motivate your employees in this kind of way. You could even consider corporate gym memberships, on-site fitness classes or team sports - All fantastic for comradery.
Finally, healthy food choices also affect our motivation and mind. A giant beef burger and chips can make us feel sluggish and can possibly worsen our mood. However, proteins, fruits and vegetables will give us the energy we need and again, are proven to improve our mood. So if your business does offer lunch, make it a healthy one.
The above is by no means rocket science and we have written a couple of earlier blogs on the subject. However, what we’re trying to provide in this article are the simple steps you, as a manager or business owner can implement now to aid any situations whereby poor mental health is an issue. It’s the basics, but sometimes we need to go back to basics before implementing training and policies and suchlike and act in the here and now.
If you would like any further information, advice or support on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us on: 01453 297557 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.