Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around workplace wellbeing ideas
in your organisation.
Prioritising mental health and building resilience right now is the best way to get through the economic downturn. Open and supportive workplaces benefit everyone – employees, employers and the bottom line. Weathering the storm together puts an organisation in a strong position. Stress and other mental health problems are the second biggest cause of work absence, accounting for 70 million lost working days every year. While improving support for employees with a pre-existing condition or those suffering a period of mental ill health is crucial, recognising that we all have varying states of mental wellbeing at all times is equally important. There is an additional cost to employers that results from staff not being engaged and enthusiastic, which extends wider than presenteeism. Creating an environment that encourages open conversation around mental health is another important part of developing an effective mental health policy. There are a number of useful guides that exist, such as the Workplace Wellbeing Toolkit, to support organisations taking their first steps. This toolkit gives guidance on raising awareness, sensitising an organisation to talking about mental health, as well as advice on embedding Mental Health First Aid England skills. Not questioning a decision can be because an employee is afraid of speaking out. Organisations can make sure their employee benefits package provides support for how to manage an employee with anxiety
At the end of the day, whether you invest long-term or short-term in mental health provision, this has the power to create a powerful mindset shift, and you might even discover a group of employees who are passionate about starting up a wellness committee to steer a longer-term well-being strategy for your workplace. The work environment is known to have a significant impact on employee mental wellness, productivity, job turnover and overall profits. Leaders can influence a healthy workplace environment by having an open-door policy, keeping employees informed of developments, departmental changes, business goals, and policies. These provide direction, build trust, and reduce employee stress. Make sure your company provides employee mental health benefits and services — including everything from individual and couples counseling to group therapy. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), for instance, provide access to services that allow employees to reduce stress related to childcare, housecleaning and running errands. Despite the globally recognized mental health impact, some studies showed that workers remained hesitant to speak to their manager or people in the company about their mental health, for fear that they would be seen like they couldn’t cope and perform, and that they may be replaced. While there is a greater need for support with mental health at work, there is growing evidence to suggest that individuals around the world are recognizing the importance and benefit of self-care more than ever. Even though it may not be easy to become an employee-centric company addressing workplace wellbeing support
it is of utmost importance in this day and age.
Fostering a positive work environment that promotes mental health and wellbeing is fundamental to building organisational health and makes good business sense. The research is clear that workplaces that protect employee health and provide flexibility to take account of an employee’s health status are among the most successful over time. We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health, and in both cases we are on a continuum, where our health can vary day to day. When working with a diverse team, your choice of words or methods of communication can make or break a delicate situation. Improved soft skills can help managers remain mindful in tough situations and help them connect more positively with their team. The right emotional intelligence may help them determine the appropriate approaches – everything from the best time of day to talk to a struggling employee, to nuances in language, to the appropriate environment for the difficult conversation. When there’s flexibility in the workplace, it’s far more likely that people can get the help they need.