This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week! Promoting good mental health is a focus for many businesses in the workplace, and employers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of mental health as it’s been shown to lead to better resilience, innovation, and productivity.
Many strategies and initiatives fail to benefit employees mainly due to the expectation of a quick fix, the focus should be on how people are whilst they are at work, not just making sure they turn up each day. It has been found that implementing long term, sustainable initiatives to support employees is the best approach, so look at the demographic, identify areas where employees are struggling, overall, provide employees with a choice – what would benefit them the most? And of course, make sure the employees are aware of the benefits (you’d be surprised how many employees aren’t aware of or don’t use the benefits offered to them!)
Businesses also need to be aware of the signs of mental health problems within their workforce, it’s not as easy to identify as a physical health problem. Awareness could start with having a mental health policy within your handbook, including mental health section in your health and safety policy, having a mental health first aider on-site, providing awareness training to managers and supporting employees who may be suffering from mental health issues.
What can you do to promote well-being in the office?
- Have an open-door culture where management or HR is available, and employees can speak honestly about any issues.
- Ensure your office provides space for both collaboration and concentration, as well as break out spaces where employees can recharge.
- Encourage and enable physical wellness; offer availability of a gym, encourage a team walk or run once a month, offer a cycle to work scheme.
- Promote taking breaks – encourage employees to go out at lunch and take a break from their screen!
- Make sure your employees take their annual leave!
- Offer healthy snacks to your workforce, have a fruit bowl available to all to encourage healthy eating.
- Encourage a range of social events across the year to develop teams’ relationships.
- Actively participate in local charity or community events to support the team culture as well as contribute positively to the community.
- Offer an Employee Assistance Programme to support any personal issues your employees may have.
- Consider any flexible working requests in line with statutory requirements.
Whilst there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for mental health, the key points outlined here can be a great way to start promoting a positive attitude towards mental health and supporting employees, creating a culture where mental health can be openly discussed and cared for. If you need help getting started with this, just get in touch! Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!