Up until recently, mental health has been a touchy subject in organisations and has gone unaddressed for quite a while, however, businesses have finally begun to stand up and take the subject far more seriously.
Ever since employees have started to open up about their mental health, a lot of companies have set about implementing strategies that aim in encouraging ‘workplace wellbeing’. In fact, data trends from Google have shown that there has been an increase in the last 5 years for people searching the term ‘workplace wellbeing’ in the UK.
What is workplace wellbeing?
Much like our blog about ‘rewarding your staff’ that identified a difference in people preferring intrinsic and extrinsic gains, the same applies to employees having differentiating perspectives of stress relief. For example, where some staff would see a greater benefit from wellness workshops (intrinsic), others may prefer a more extrinsic form of relaxation through means such as sleep, healthy food, or even the gym.
Therefore, much like a reward scheme that is catered to the individual, an employer needs to cater to an employee’s mental health individually. REMEMBER: There is no one size fits all!
It’s just not good enough
Unfortunately, ‘workplace wellbeing’ is still somewhat in its infancy…and it shows. A recent study from Office Genie shows that more than 50% of employees suffering from mental health believe the support in which they are getting is worryingly inadequate!
The survey that looked at more than 2,000 office employees found that people with mental illness were more than twice as likely to be unhappy in their current organisation. This report shows that even though employers are addressing the problem of mental health, there is still plenty that can be done to help eradicate it from their organisation.
What can you do?
Ways in which an employee can help is to be innovative by the way in which they address and implement wellbeing initiatives into their workplace. If you’re not quite sure what we mean don’t worry, we have provided a perfect example of how some of the most successful organisations have built it into their culture.
Other examples of addressing ‘workplace wellness’ are as follows:
Be open about mental health
The term “mental health” shouldn’t be seen as a dirty word, in fact, creating an environment in which people can openly discuss the matter will aid in helping staff come open a line of communication as well as creating a stronger employer-employee relationship.
Similar to the previous point, as an employer, it is imperative to be clear about the ways in which staff can approach the situation. Having clear and accessible policies surrounding mental health and wellness can ensure your know the correct procedures and staff to approach regarding the matter.
A key role of a HR team is to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of its staff, hence, it would be sheer madness not to have them as the first port of call when it comes to mental wellbeing. Simple things such as scheduling weekly 1:1 meeting between staff and HR will aid in allowing both sides to identify and work on solutions that can significantly help that individual.
Enabling staff to work from their home can have a significant impact on their overall wellbeing. Sometimes people with mental health find it particularly difficult to maintain their performance when they do not feel as comfortable in an office environment.
Furthermore, by allowing members of staff to occasionally work from home, in a familiar environment, can not only help their mental wellbeing but also increase their overall productivity.
Mental health within the workplace is definitely moving in the right direction, however, the journey is still long and there are still plenty of organisations who have yet to address the issues of mental wellbeing and therefore this is still much more that needs to be done.
Food for thought, 30 million people actively working in the UK, about 50% of them had been documented with some form of mental illness whether it be anxiety, stress or depression.