5 things we do to improve mental well-being at Language Insight
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, and we recognise the responsibility that businesses 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 have an open and honest culture, and 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.
Here are a few small and simple steps that we use to try and improve the mental well-being of our staff…
Fun staff activities
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 not to mention our office dog, Pim the Pomeranian! 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 lunchtime 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 balcony for some fresh air. A good way to do this is to walk round to your co-worker’s department, rather than sitting and sending an internal 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!
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. And of course, Friday is our ‘treat day’, where our offices are usually filled with sweets, chocolates and lots of other goodies!
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.