Mental Health in the Workplace
Is mental health still considered a taboo subject? Well, it shouldn’t be, our mental health should be equally as important as our physical health.
Paying attention to workplace mental health has never been more important as we all adjust to life during the Covid. As more organisations continue with online working, human connections are more important than ever to support mental health, reduce feelings of isolation, and feel connected with colleagues while working remotely. It is important to be mindful that certain individuals may be more affected by ongoing events and may require extra support and ensure resources are made available to them.
With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem of some kind each year in England and 1 in 6 people reporting experiencing a common mental health problem like anxiety or depression in any given week in England, this is a major health issue which needs to be spoken about. Stress, depression, and anxiety all contribute to mental health issues and these health issues are more common than ever before.
Workplace stress isn’t uncommon but when left unchecked it can lead to bigger problems such as depression and anxiety which can create debilitating negative emotions and result in lower productivity and strained relationships with colleagues.
Mental health at work must always be taken seriously. Employers have a duty of care and must do all they reasonably can to support an employee’s health, safety and wellbeing. If an employee is struggling with their mental health, it is important to support them and help them find the help they need. Try promoting mindfulness in the workplace, this is a simple but powerful practice of training our attention which is very effective in reducing stress levels and anxiety.
Employers should work with any employees suffering mental health issues to help make adjustments for them. Simple changes to the persons working arrangements or responsibilities could make a massive difference. By being supportive and working with the employee you may be able to help them prioritise their workload to suit their needs.
Reduce burnout and boost morale within your work force. If a company is openly supportive of mental health and it is spoken about openly and comfortably there is less chance of issues building up. It also improves morale within the workplace and allows people suffering to feel more comfortable to open up.
Ways to show support could be:
- Regular one-to-ones to discuss any issues
- Encourage the workforce to speak to their managers in between the one-to-ones if required.
- Being open and welcoming
- Keeping an eye out for depression within your workforce.
- Keep to the contracted hours.
- Make time for a bit of fun and team building.
How has TheGivingMachine dealt with Mental Health at work?
TheGivingMachine offers support to their workforce and when we first started working solely from home, we had daily 15 minute catchups for any team member who wanted to join. We ensured that we did not discuss work but instead spoke about how we were all coping and if we had any worries. This gave everyone the opportunity to support each other and realise that we were not alone with our fears.
We also had evening get togethers where we played games or made cocktails. Nothing will be as good as being together in person, but this was a great alternative and helped the team feel united.
During lockdown when all we could do was go for a walk it was encouraged that if possible, we met up and went for a walk with a colleague which gave us the opportunity to discuss work or have meetings in a more enjoyable way.
We speak openly about how we are feeling and we know that there is support available.
One thing TheGivingMachine is very proud of is the mentoring we offer to our volunteers. We gain so much from our volunteers and we believe that we should be giving back to them and naturing them. These partnerships over the years have seen volunteers who were struggling with their mental health gain full time employment.