Mental health at work was the one of the biggest stories of 2018.
The topic of mental health in the workplace is a very hot topic (and has been for a few years.) Whilst some employers are still slow to catch on, the rest of the world appear to finally be making some big changes.
Mental health support in your workplace is an important factor for any new employee as any, even more so for retaining staff.
The Mental Health Foundation, which monitors mental health in the workplace, found in a 2018 study that addressing wellbeing at work can improve productivity by as much as 12%. The same study revealed that people with reported mental health issues contribute as much as £225 billion to the economy each year; representing over 10% of UK GDP.
The winter blues
Mental health training is no longer an optional ‘nice to have’ – it’s a vital training asset you need in your arsenal. What’s the most important time of the year to make sure you’re delivering this important support?
January and February can be the hardest months to deal with from a mental health perspective as they often bring cold weather, grey skies, and a lack of sunlight. The fun, relaxation and excitement of the festive season is over and motivation is at an all-time low.
When employees are returning to work in the early part of the year, it’s important to consider mental health training. It’s dark when staff drag themselves out of bed and it’s dark when they start battling through traffic to make their way home. Not only is mental health training especially time-relevant to your workforce, it is more likely to suit the mood of the workplace and augment other training courses to get your staff back into a positive frame of mind – particularly at the beginning of the year.
What you should consider
Small improvements in your workplace processes can energise your employees and reap huge rewards, both immediately and further down the line.
The best strategies will open up workplace conversations about mental health, giving you the benefits of happier staff, fewer days lost to sickness, more productive work environment, and an easier life for you! So what can you do?
- Create a company-wide pledge on mental health.Having a mental health policy and communication programme written down in black and white makes a bold statement about your business being forward-looking and progressive. Workers want to be in a dynamic environment where their needs are met, and they feel supported. A mental health pledge is an easy way to attract good PR and can even entice workers to join your business instead of a competitor.
- Balance privacy with openness. It is imperative that - at the same time as making it clear that your door is open - you never share personal details about a staff member with other colleagues or senior management without their express permission. Even the bravest worker would find it difficult when their private information becomes the source of office gossip.
- Make management part of the solution. Signing yourself up to a workplace exercise program like Redtogether that is specifically designed to support mental health can help open up conversations, reduce stigma and bring your team a shared sense of achievement and purpose. Along with the other benefits that regular exercise brings, this is a great way to show that your company cares about the long-term wellbeing of your staff.
- Choose an accredited online course. People come with a lot of preconceptions about mental health and, while they are often very willing to learn, may be unaware of these prejudices until they are laid out in front of them. While qualifications aren’t the answer to everything, they are a surefire way to set out your company values and enhance what your staff can do for your customers.
A lot of the time you don’t need some grand plan to improve your team’s mental health, you just need to take action, no matter how small. Let us help you take that firsts step, get in touch with Me Learning today.