Workplace goals: get more people thinking and talking about mental health
Mental ill-health is leading to sickness absence or burnout in the workplace with 1 in 4 British workers affected by conditions such as stress, depression and anxiety every year. Thanks to greater awareness on the subject, we’re starting to have more conversations about mental health and it’s making a positive difference. It’s an important step towards creating an inclusive environment and a positive culture for employees. Happier, healthier employees are good for business. Staff who feel valued, motivated and supported tend to be more focused and productive at work, which should enhance profitability.
Kickstart the conversation
If your organisation wants to do more about mental health but you’re not sure where to start or how to go about it, focus groups can kick-start the conversation and give members of staff a chance to have their say on how to normalise discussions about mental health. This feedback shapes and starts meaningful discussions that benefit employees and business.
Challenge stigma and prejudice
Conversations about mental health help to debunk the myths that surround it. This needs to happen because 95% of employers who called in sick with stress give a different reason because there is a fear that the real reason will go against them. It is important to get the message across to your workforce that it’s not a sign of weakness, nor is it attention-seeking to talk about how you’re feeling. It’s honest and brave to open up. It’s also important to remind people that mental health problems can affect anyone.
Do more to raise awareness
Get people thinking and talking. We can help to create brochures, factsheets, posters, and artwork that informs and encourages honest discussions in the workplace. Good internal communication sends out a clear message: no one should feel embarrassed, ashamed, or judged when it comes to talking about their problems. The goal is to reassure people that support is available, communication channels are open, and healthier work habits are key to a good life-work balance. No one should feel isolated or out of their depth at work.
Build trust and boost morale
Businesses that don’t place importance on managing mental health risk underperforming due to lowered productivity and higher absenteeism, whereas promoting wellbeing and employee engagement turns this around. Building trust and boosting morale is a commitment, not a quick fix. Continued information-sharing, a supportive environment, regular feedback and discussions, good managerial support, and clear guidelines on how your organisation manages mental health issues creates a positive culture.
Commit to coaching and learning
Employers are being encouraged to commit to strategies and practices that support staff wellbeing. This also includes providing training for mental health and stress management with emphasis on strong managerial support and staff development. Coaching line managers, learning how to improve communication, offering buddy systems and mentoring, are some of the positives steps that can be taken to create a culture of openness.