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5 steps to support staff mental wellbeing in your business

Monday 16th July 2018

Businesses that employ workers have a number of key obligations and responsibilities to be aware of, one of which is monitoring and supporting mental wellbeing in the workforce.

This is an issue that has become increasingly prominent in recent years. According to a 2018 survey by employer software and solutions firm CoreHR, 41 per cent of top-performing professionals worry about the impact work has on their mental health.

Nearly seven out of ten respondents (68 per cent) felt employers should take shared responsibility for helping to support their emotional and physical health.

Dean Forbes, chief executive officer of CoreHR, said: “People thrive when they’re challenged, but shouldn’t be pushed to breaking point. Employers should always be mindful of setting clear goals, as well as boundaries. Providing strong support networks for employees is especially important.”

Considering the importance of this issue and how it could impact the wider performance and productivity of any company, what actions could your business take to support and improve mental wellbeing in the workforce?

Start as you mean to go on
Your business can create a positive and supportive culture in relation to mental wellbeing from the moment individual employees join the workforce.

The earliest stages of a new job can often be the most stressful, so make sure your induction programmes are designed to ease people into their roles and show how they will fit in to the firm.

Support line managers
Line managers are the people on the frontline of engaging with individual employees on a day-to-day basis and ensuring they feel happy and comfortable in their jobs.

By guiding and helping managers to do their work as effectively as possible, the business will make a direct contribution to the experiences and feelings of people in the workforce.

An unnamed employer speaking at a past business summit held by mental health charity Mind said improving mental wellbeing in the workplace always comes down to good management.

“There isn’t any magic to it; it’s the things you’d expect: managers who have common sense, a degree of empathy, recognise that individuals want to be part of something – all those straightforward things,” the speaker said.

Look out for warning signs
There are certain warning signs and potential triggers of mental health problems that are worth looking out for to identify and hopefully resolve issues as swiftly as possible.

If people are regularly saddled with heavy workloads and tight deadlines, for example, they could be at a higher risk of experiencing stress or anxiety. High-pressure working environments, negative relationships between colleagues, job insecurity and lone working can also raise the possibility of mental health challenges.

Give people the opportunity to talk
If people in your workforce are struggling to maintain their mental wellbeing, they should not have to suffer in silence.

There is a lot to be gained from creating an open, communicative working environment where employees feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and experiences. This could be achieved by holding regular one-on-one consultations with individuals or having a designated window of time every day or week when people can speak to their managers in confidence.

Be open to change
It’s possible that small changes could have a big impact on how people feel at work and how effectively they are able to do their jobs.

Reasonable adjustments in working hours, location or the specific tasks individuals are required to carry out, for example, could enable an improvement in mental wellbeing in the workforce.

This, in turn, will help the business function more effectively day-to-day and maximise its productivity in the long term.

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/monkeybusinessimages

 

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