Mental Health Awareness Month: Wellbeing at Work

How a wellbeing strategy can benefit your workplace.

Following on from our previous article surrounding the topic of mental health, we have outlined the key areas necessary for implementing a sustainable wellbeing strategy in your workplace. Managing the wellbeing of staff includes monitoring workplace culture, staff remuneration and a healthy work-life balance.

Wellbeing strategy

In the past, people have only associated wellbeing as a physical concept. Employers have covered the costs for staff training, gym memberships, nutritious snacks and even yoga classes for employees. However, more recently, wellbeing in the workplace stems far beyond just a physical notion. It’s an overall understanding of an individual’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Implementing a wellbeing strategy will benefit your workplace and enable you to better understand the needs of your employees. Several factors contribute to the wellbeing of staff, such as culture, support and career progression. Ensure you’re proactive in the day to day productivity of your team and get to know them on a personal level. This will help you pick up on any behavioural changes from your staff, such as disinterest, disengagement or mood swings. Talk to your employees privately as well as in a team environment, make mental health an open topic for discussion. Investing in a wellbeing strategy will boost employee productivity and retention for your business. Every workplace culture is unique so it’s advantageous that you take a tailored approach that will be beneficial and appeal to your employees.

Improve team communication – You want your staff to feel as though they are part of a team. Isolation can be a huge contributor to mental health, group activities and tasks are a great way to improve team communication.

Identify the needs – When you can identify the needs of your employees you can better understand what changes and strategies need to be made. You can get valuable information from employees through staff meetings, performance reviews and general feedback.

Flexible work hours – If an employee is noticeably struggling to get to and from work, offer flexible hours or a work from home alternative.

Guest speakers on mental health – Having a seminar during work hours about mental health will generate conversation.

Mental health day – Staff shouldn’t feel hesitant about taking a mental health day. The goal is not to get out of work; it’s to heal your mind so you can return back to work more energised and relaxed. Be transparent with your team by letting them know that you support this notion.

Talk about mental health

Mental health should be a topic open for discussion in all aspects of life, especially in the workplace. The stigma associated around mental health can make employees feel afraid to talk to their boss and co-workers. They often feel afraid of losing their job and damaging relationships. By encouraging employees to be transparent about their personal issues facing mental health you will create a culture of acceptance. An employee who feels as though they can be open and honest is more likely to perform at work over an employee who feels stressed and isolated.

Prioritising mental health and wellbeing at the heart of your workplace will create a culture that is transparent and accepting. There are several values you can communicate and demonstrate to employees that will generate cultural awareness. By expressing inclusivity, encouragement and trustworthiness in the workplace it’s more likely employees will view it as a safe place. Showing emotion is not a weakness, be transparent about letting your team know that you care and can offer support. Create a culture where staff can feel comfortable about sharing their struggles facing mental health with fellow co-workers.

As employers and employees, we can do better to remove the negative stigma associated with mental health in the workplace. Strive towards creating a workplace that is accommodating and willing to help. It’s time we learnt how to talk about mental health.

Thanks for reading,

Sophie and David.