In regards to Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, we recognise the responsibility management have in making sure their employees have a healthy work-life balance. According to the mental health charity MIND, at least one in six workers are experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, and a third don’t feel comfortable speaking to managers about mental health problems.
Many business owners feel like they don’t want to talk about mental health in the workplace because it is still a taboo subject and don’t want to make any of their staff feel uncomfortable. However, at Language Insight we always want staff to know they can talk to anyone, either management or a co-worker, about any issues that may be work related or personal as we are all human after all!
So in order to promote mental well-being in a more subtle way we use the following small, simple steps…
All work and no play isn’t good for anyone’s mental health and as we spend a large amount of our time at work it’s important we actually enjoy being there. At Language Insight we’ve had bake-offs, Easter egg hunts, Halloween fancy dress competitions, staff lunches, fat Fridays and many more! These activities can be as simple or as extravagant as you want and we always ask staff for any ideas they have. They can be at lunch time or other quiet periods during the day and they don’t have to be often, even one a month gives staff something to look forward to!
Due to the nature of our industry, our staff are sat at their computers all day so we always like to make sure our staff know they can get up every 30 mins or so and have a good stretch or nip outside to our roof garden for some fresh air. A good way to do this is to walk round to your co-workers department rather than sitting and sending that inter-office email. According to FORBES, these ‘brain breaks’ (as we like to call them) can increase productivity and concentration as well as allowing employees to clear their head – bonus!
When employing a large amount of staff it can be tricky to keep track of who is performing well in each department. So we have the employee of the month where the staff vote for who they think has gone the extra mile that month and whoever gets the most votes wins a £50 voucher. We have found this increases staff performance and gives them something to work towards. Also, by celebrating employee achievements it brings everyone together as a team. By doing simple things like buying a birthday cake for a member of staff’s birthday can make them feel like they are valued and thought about, which may be important to someone suffering from mental health issues. We also like to have the occasional staff lunch where we treat the staff to sandwiches or cakes to show them that we appreciate the good work and also to get them interacting with each other personally.
For someone who is having personal issues at home that may be affecting their mental health, we recognise how this may mean that they need to change their working hours or take some personal time off. At Language Insight we try to be as understanding as we can and try to allow our staff to take any time off that they need. By being flexible this can make a member of staff who may be suffering from mental health issues feel less pressure and stress about what effects this is having on their work.
Exercise is a powerful depression/anxiety fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. Exercise is also good for stress. Therefore we try to encourage our staff at Language Insight to be more active by providing them with private health insurance after 12 months that has additional perks such as free weekly cinema tickets and free Starbucks coffee. However, these can only be used if the staff complete a certain amount of exercise for that week, therefore, encouraging them to be more active in the hopes of improving their mental wellbeing.
There are tons more ideas that can be used in the workplace to promote positive mental wellbeing and these ideas are just scraping the surface and may provide some good ideas for other businesses who want to improve the mental wellbeing of their staff in light of mental health awareness week 2018.
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