Mental health matters are stepping out of the shadows, with a growing number of organisations realising that the wellbeing of its people can no longer take a backseat.
This shift towards employee wellbeing is supported by the facts too. According to Deloitte’s Mental Health report 2022:
• Poor mental health costs UK employers up to £56 billion per year.
• For every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, employers could get back £5.30 in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re zooming in on this key topic with our top tips for promoting mental wellness in your workplace:
Encourage regular breaks
Whether your people write content or upload data, staring at a screen for long periods of time can be draining for the brain, not to mention its effect on motivation and mood. Encourage your employees to take regular breaks to replenish their mental resources. Whether that’s with a walk around the office, a chat with a colleague or simply playing with a pet when working from home, these time outs will help reduce overload, lower stress and give your people a welcome boost of energy.
You might want to schedule breaks into the company calendar to ensure that people remember to take them. And, if you’re really keen or work in a high pressure environment, apps like Headspace offer daily meditations to help employees completely switch off during their breaks.
The formation of healthy habits and the management of workplace stress doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Many of us have outdated coping mechanisms and belief systems when it comes to dealing with pressure at work, or stress in our personal lives – and that’s why providing your people with guidance can really help. Our mental health range walks your staff through managing workplace wellbeing effectively and you can find out more about it here.
Spark a supportive dialogue
Want your people to feel well? Engage in supportive and understanding conversations.
For those with mental health problems, this is especially key, because talking about wellbeing matters in a supportive environment can help break down stereotypes, aid recovery and remove stigma. Try scheduling regular one-to-ones with your employees, and be mindful to create a space where they feel safe to speak up. This might involve giving the employee a choice as to where the one-to-one takes place (rather than you dictating it), and making sure the person’s calendar is clear either side of the meeting so they have time to restore after a more vulnerable session.
In a tech-focused world, employees at all stages of their career are now seeking more connection than ever before – and building a sense of community is one of the best ways you can provide that for them. To cultivate a sense of togetherness, you might want to start with an open plan office space that promotes dialogue between teams that would otherwise be siloed off. If that’s not an option, shared kitchens, lunchrooms and terraces are also conducive to increased interactions between employees.
When it comes to organised events, the world really is your oyster. You might want to encourage charity runs, cake sales or competitions, or, after-work socials which help to build friendship between colleagues that might otherwise rarely interact.
Whatever way you do it, taking the time to build a community pays dividends in creating a workplace where employees feel seen, heard and valued – three pillars necessary for strong mental wellbeing.
Check your approach
According to the Health and Wellbeing at Work study 2022 (CIPD), management style remains among the most common causes of stress at work. This means it’s vital to pay attention to the way that you’re managing your people. Are you approaching difficult topics with sensitivity? Are you allowing enough room for error? At the end of the day, your employees are only human and an overbearing management style is never conducive to motivation or improvement.
If you’re seeking to fine-tine your management style, you can try the following things:
• Providing opportunities for creativity, so staff feel empowered
• Tailoring your approach to the needs of the individual
• Emphasizing supportiveness and openness
• Working with your team, not above them
You can find more helpful information about managing mental health here: https://www.mind.org.uk/