Mental Health Awareness Week takes place this week from 10 to 16 May.
Now more than ever, it is important for employers to check in on employee’s mental health, with many being on furlough or working from home due to the pandemic. A ‘hands on’ approach to mental wellbeing creates a positive working environment and one that inspires confidence in employees to discuss any issues they might have with employers. If good mental health is promoted throughout the work force this can lead to enhanced employee engagement and productivity.
The following are our ‘top tips’ for improving mental health in the workplace:
Have regular one-to-one’s and catch ups with your staff. Use these as an opportunity to check in and see how staff are doing generally. This can improve working relationships and help to identify any issues early. Discuss with employees the hours they are working and make sure they are taking appropriate breaks.
Staff will have had very different experiences as a result of the pandemic, some may have continued working throughout, others may have being on furlough or flexi-furlough and others may have been working from home. You need to be sensitive to each individual’s personal circumstances and be ready to provide appropriate support as necessary.
Keeping in touch
Suggest staff take virtual breaks together, so they can keep in touch. Arrange social events and an online social space or forum for employees to communicate. Encourage employees to exercise and stay active.
Keep up to date
Communicate with staff about common mental health problems or signs of poor mental health. Include early warning signs in your policies so that issues can be identified and hopefully addressed at an early stage.
Offer staff training to be able to effectively manage those employees who report to them.
If you are able, offer an Employee Assistance Programme, so employees can access e.g. counselling services to support good mental health.
Acknowledgment of effort and success, particularly as businesses look to recovery, is key to boosting staff morale. Staff who do not feel properly rewarded for their efforts are more at risk of common mental health problems and increased stress.
Encourage your staff to work sensible hours and seek help if work pressures are getting out of hand. Research has shown that working longer working hours can lead to depression.
Also important is managing any workplace bullying or conflicts, which can lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.
Our Employment Team can offer bespoke training and seminars on stress and mental health in the workplace, helping employers identify early warning signs amongst employees and reduce absence.
If you have any queries in relation to mental health issues in the workplace, training or any other HR queries then please do not hesitate to contact the employment team on 01228 552600 or 01524 548494.