14th May 2018
by Charlotte Wilson
Communications, thoughts, Workplace
Good morning readers!
We’ve noticed on social media today that its #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, so with this in mind, we’ve decided to dedicate today’s blog post to discussing what employers can do to better support mental health amongst their staff.
We are now fortunate enough to live in a country where mental health is being taken more and more seriously in the workplace. Many larger corporations are introducing initiatives that focus on employee wellbeing, and recent Google trends data has revealed that search terms for ‘workplace wellbeing’ have increased steadily in the UK over the past five years.
So what does ‘workplace wellbeing’ mean in real terms? How can employers, large or small, help to contribute to the overall happiness of their staff and thus ensure that they are doing all that they can to help address, support, and even negate mental health issues from overwhelming their employees?
Well, research shows that it can start with the small things, taking an holistic approach to wellbeing is the first step in aiding mental health support in the workplace. This can be anything ranging from providing wellness workshops that focus on nutrition, stress management and sleep advice, to encouraging staff to exercise, providing free fruit or discounts on healthy supplements and classes, or just simply making an effort to integrate a little bit more fun and relaxation into the working week.
A recent report undertaken by the RSPH indicated that of the 2,000 office workers surveyed, those with mental health issues are on average twice as unhappy in their place of work, and 51% of employees with mental health issues believe that support structures are inadequate. This means that Britain still has a long way to go in supporting staff appropriately in these areas, but the fact that the topic is now being talked about far more widely and openly is a great starting point in navigating the winds of change moving forward.
So, what can we all do to take the right steps in ensuring that our staff are better supported when it comes to mental health? Here a few small suggestions to help make your workplace more mindful of your employees mental wellbeing:
– Be more open to discussions about mental health
This should no longer be a taboo subject for employees to discuss with their superiors or colleagues. Taking care of your own mental health is just as important as taking the time to recover from a sickness bug, the flu or a broken limb. So, if staff are struggling with emotional trauma, stress or anxiety, they shouldn’t feel afraid to ask employers for support: all you want is a happy healthy, workforce, so make sure that includes mental health as well.
– Have clearer policies in place
As with all workplace matters, communication is key. Employers should endeavour to make sure policies exist that help to make life smoother for both parties. As with sick leave regulations, by putting accessible mental health policies in place, this enables people to get to grips with any processes involved on a more private basis before informing the relevant member of staff.
Having the ability, or option, to work from home, or work altered hours when necessary or appropriate, can really help to make a huge difference to staff experiencing mental health issues. A valuable employee is a valuable employee, if they need to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of the office sometimes in order to keep their mind healthy, a little flexibility from an employer in this regard can help to go a long way and still ensure great productivity.
As with all health issues, the terrain is always a tricky one, especially in the workplace, but what is important is that we are all making the effort to be more mindful of our employees and colleagues by ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to feel supported, and ultimately happy, in their day to day life.
Of the 31 million people who work in the UK, last year, around half a million had a recorded case of suffering with stress, anxiety or depression – like with any illness, human beings will always endeavour to recover, overcome and manage the various ailments that life throws at them, and like with any illness, no one should ever be left to simply endure these things alone.
Please support #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and help to spread the word on supporting wellbeing in the workplace.
Thanks for reading!
Psst. Whilst we’re busy supporting one another in both of our Marlow and Nottingham offices, we’re also busy creating wonderful designs for our clients, so check out some of our strategic, digital and creative design work here.