More than a nice-to-have, supporting mental health in the workplace is now a necessity.
Before the Covid pandemic, 1 in 6 workers experienced problems such as low mood, anxiety and stress. In 2020 and 2021, according to NHS England, 1.46 million people experiencing mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, were referred for psychological therapy.
Supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace is good for business
Research has shown that supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace comes with some significant business benefits, including:
• Improved performance
• Improved productivity
• Higher retention
• Better morale
• Reduced rates of employee absence
• Greater levels of customer satisfaction
• Increased creativity and innovation
• Improved problem-solving skills.
Creating proactive options that help people improve and maintain their mental wellbeing is key to helping employees (and companies) flourish.
Here are five steps you can take to promote good mental health in your workplace.
1. Set up regular team check-ins
Following the pandemic, hybrid and work-from-home opportunities help workers to avoid the morning commute, but it can cause problems.
Home-working can be isolating, as it lacks the chats and office banter that create natural breaks in the working day. This feeling of isolation can lead to an emotional slump, particularly during periods of high pressure or multiple deadlines.
A useful way to help prevent this is to organise regular team check-ins, as a time to have a friendly catchup and see how people are doing. A team meeting first thing on a Monday can give people the opportunity to relax and chat about what they got up to over the weekend ahead of getting down to working through their daily tasks.
While video calls are a poor substitute for spontaneous face-to-face chats in the office, these regular meetings can go a long way to help make people feel like they’re still connected to their co-workers.
2. Promote a healthy work-life balance
A good work-life balance is crucial, yet hard to achieve when we’re all glued to our devices. And many employees feel the need to put in more hours than they should.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2020 people working from home worked an average of 6 hours a week in unpaid overtime, while office-based workers put in an additional 3.6 hours.
Promote a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible working hours, ensuring that there is no expectation to take work home, and providing time off for annual leave, sick leave, and parental leave.
Another way to encourage your team to give quality time to themselves, their family, and friends is to set a policy that your employees shouldn’t answer emails or reply to internal messages out of hours. While a single response may only take a moment, lots of small moments can add up.
Making sure that your employees know when to stop can also help prevent the line between work and home becoming blurred.
3. Encourage employees to take regular breaks
How often do you see employees eating lunch at their desks?
Encouraging employees to take regular breaks is a great way to promote mental wellbeing. Taking time away from work for a healthy meal, a walk in the fresh air, or stepping away from the immediate workspace to relax in a quiet, comfortable environment can make a big difference. Consider things such as:
• Setting up comfortable communal areas where employees can eat their lunch
• Offering healthy food options
• Setting a policy that encourages employees to take breaks.
4. Provide training on mental health and stress management
Many employees feel uncomfortable broaching mental health issues. One way you can prompt more conversation around the subject is through training on mental health and stress management.
This will help employees recognise the signs of a mental health problem, and they'll know where to go for help and support.
5. Communicate what you can do to support their wellbeing
Because we all deal with stress differently, there's no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to support your team, and their mental health, is to sit down with them and ask what you can do.
According to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, management style is one of the most common causes of workplace stress.
Being flexible and listening to your employees could make more difference than you might expect.
However your employees choose to work, there will often be ways that you can help them to do so more effectively and in a way that causes them less stress.
Effective communication is the key to unlocking that.
Get in touch
A happy and healthy workforce is key to reducing staff absenteeism, increasing productivity, and reducing staff turnover. LEBC’s healthcare and wellbeing solutions help you to deliver on your commitment to staff and ensure your team remain engaged and motivated.
To find out more about the entire range of healthcare and wellbeing strategies we offer, get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0800 055 6585.