No doubt mainly due to the unprecedented challenges the past 18 months, mental health awareness has never been more heightened, though there’s still a long way to go.
According to research commissioned by the Adecco Group entitled Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work, wellbeing is an issue spanning age and gender and half of leaders struggle to spot the signs. Worryingly, the report has found that more people are saying their mental health has suffered – the Office for National Statistics says around 1 in 6 (17%) adults experienced some form of depression in summer 2021. Mental health is therefore a key future challenge for companies and leaders.
So in acknowledgement of World Mental Health Day, we’ve pulled together a list of simple ideas and initiatives for anyone who is looking to improve their wellbeing offering in the workplace. It really doesn’t take much, and – though it sounds like a cliché – little things can make a big difference.
- Appoint an internal team of ‘Wellbeing Ambassadors’
Seek a small team of employee volunteers who will meet regularly to discuss and take forward initiatives within the workplace to promote physical and mental health and wellbeing. They can be a great point of contact for employees and help signpost to internal and external resources
- Ensure your people know what support is available to them
If your organization has an employee assistance programme as part of your benefits package, make sure your people are fully aware of this and know how to access it if and when they need to. This could mean reiterating these details regularly via internal comms.
- Be flexible
Through circumstances, most employers are more flexible now than they were 18 months ago, but as things slowly return to normal it’s important to ensure we don’t lose this all of this flexibility.
Allowing people to work remotely and around home-life commitments has a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing, not to mention it also increases engagement and productivity.
But also recognize that for some people, being physically back in the office work has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
Remember that one size does not fit all.
- Cultivate an open and honest culture
Ensure your culture is one where people aren’t afraid to speak up about anything, and actively encourage conversations about mental health. Break the taboos.
If your people are still working at home, take steps to ensure there are opportunities for non-work related social interaction to take place.
- Embrace diversity & inclusion
By this we don’t simply mean what we should all be doing anyway. But ask yourself if your organization genuinely fosters a culture of acceptance – does it walk the walk as well as talking the talk?
Do colleagues who identify as LGBT+/BAME/Neurodiverse or have a disability, for example, feel they are accepted and celebrated for who they are? Can they bring their whole selves to work without fear or reservation?
- Nominate a charity
Doing good things makes you feel good – it’s really that simple. Having a nominated charity has many benefits, not least the obvious one where you are raising money for those in need. The common goal of selecting a charity, taking on challenges and raising funds really brings a team together and is great for morale. It’s also great for getting people outside in the fresh air and increasing physical activity.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, just some of the things that have worked for us here at Hunter Adams.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any advice around your company’s wellbeing offering.