5 Ways To Help Improve Mental Wellbeing In The Workplace

Mental health is a topic that is in sharper focus these days, however, many don’t feel comfortable handling and communicating these kind of issues in the workplace. 60% of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing. With this in mind, it is clear that it should be a priority for any business to proactively support and show their commitment to helping with employee mental wellbeing.

Chris O’Sullivan from the Mental Health Foundation said “Prevention is key - we need to enable everyone to flourish, those in distress to access help quickly, and those who have recovered from mental health problems to stay well and enjoy successful careers”.

5 ways to help improve mental wellbeing in the workplace

If an employee is struggling with their mental health, their work will be impacted, which will also have repercussions for employers. These can include decreased motivation and an increase in staff turnover – no business wants this.

Luckily, there are some easy ways that could help to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace and allow employees feel comfortable about sharing the problems they may be facing. Read on to find out more…  

Remove the stigma

In many workplaces, mental health is still a taboo subject. In fact, the Mental Health Foundation has said 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems today still experience stigma or discrimination. This can include being offered fewer opportunities for career progression as well as judgement from others that they are unable to live normal, fulfilled lives.  

To help to remove the stigma, the workplace environment needs to be open and caring. This can be done through:

- Internal communication channels such as notice boards and company intranets
- Mental health champions talking openly about mental health at all levels
- Signing the Time to Change pledge to make a public commitment 

Removing the stigma is all about creating awareness, encouraging acceptance, and challenging false beliefs. Promoting positive mental health can be hugely beneficial to a business. Staff with good mental health are more likely to be better engaged with their work and have good attendance levels. It will also help to reduce the severity and duration of mental health related absence in the workplace.

Encourage flexible working

The typical 9-5 doesn’t work for everyone – flexible working allows employees to work when is best for them. Mind, a UK mental health charity explained that flexible working gives employees “a better work-life balance, greater control over hours worked, a chance to avoid rush-hour crowds and peak travel costs, and the availability to attend medical appointments - all of which are paramount for those coping with mental wellbeing.

Flexible working can also include the location in which someone works. If someone can complete their day-to-day job at home just as effectively as they could in the office, should they really be commuting long distances every day? A study of more than 34,000 British employees across all UK industries conducted by VitalityHealth with the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer has found that workers with commutes of 60 minutes and over are more likely to suffer from depression.

If you are an employer, why not consider encouraging more flexible working, and giving your teams the tools to do so?

If you are an employee, why not try have this conversation inside your organisation?

Microsoft 365 has a component called Microsoft Teams where team members can collaborate in real time. It is now easier than ever for remote workers to collaborate on important documents and projects. 

Download our Microsoft 365 White Paper

For some people, remote and flexible working may be a negative experience due to isolation and fewer social interactions. It is important for employers to keep this in mind. 

Take on a personal approach

As our days get busier, it can be easy to limit communication to emails and phone calls – a recipe for miscommunication! Employees want to feel respected and valued, therefore, office planning that encourages interaction, rather than boxing people off should be implemented. For example one-to-one’s each week between managers and their team members will encourage them to talk about how they are feeling, whether it’s related to their mental wellbeing or not.

Poor communication can be a significant cause of stress and decrease in productivity in the workplace. Regular one-to-one’s will keep communication clear, effective, manageable and responsive, allowing staff to voice their thoughts in an informal setting.

Offer appropriate training

With one in four people in the world being affected by some form of mental health issue in their lifetime, it is paramount that employers, managers and employees are able to recognise the warning signs and support anyone experiencing mental health issues.

As there is still a lack of understanding about mental health and many misconceptions, employers should commit to providing the correct mental health first aid training for all staff. It is a fundamental investment for the health and wellbeing of any business. Mind have over 65 years of experience and expertise in mental health. They offer a range of courses as well as training sessions that can be delivered at your organisation in England and Wales – you can find out more here.

Get the opinions of your employees

Good progress in business starts on the inside, and the healthier a team is, the healthier the business. Therefore, before you take the step to help improve mental wellbeing in the workplace, start by using surveys to get the overall feelings and opinions of your employees. By doing this you will be able to identify key themes and priorities to focus on.

Now, more than ever, is the time for all businesses to get behind their employees and help improve mental wellbeing in the workplace. A mentally healthy workplace will not only benefit employees but employers as well, by creating a positive workplace that people want to work. 

Microsoft 365 will allow employees to work remotely and collaborate efficiently with their team members, all whilst being able to keep on top of their mental wellbeing. Why not take the first step and download our FREE White Paper >>

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