Mental Health in your business…
Practising good mental health in your business is so important. Mental health is something that is considered to be quite taboo. However, now more than ever is the time to be talking openly about mental health, especially within our businesses.
As a business mentor, I’ve always been about cutting the BS, and complete realism. So I know that mental health in our businesses, and in general is something that needs to be discussed openly, to eventually normalise it.
In this blog, I want to focus on mental health within the work place, which of course steers more towards young adults and upwards.
50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24 (stats from mentalhealth.org.uk). It’s important we talk about mental health within all age groups, though I do feel like it can be quite overlooked within adults. We’re always expected to have our lives together and just be happy and smiling at all times. However, the reality is that we all struggle with things from time to time, some more often than others, but this doesn’t invalidate anyone’s situation whatsoever.
Mental health affects us all in many ways, but I want to talk about how it affects us in the workplace and what we can do to support each other during a tough time. From employer to employee, and vice versa.
Let’s talk about the workplace…
Mental health is a huge factor when it comes to your job. It affects how you work, your motivation, your energy and also the general quality of your work too.
It can be hard for someone suffering with a mental health issue to actually face their daily tasks of coming into work, depending on the severity. We all have different perspectives on what good and bad may be, so judging others for how they feel is never the right option.
Mental wellbeing is simply being able to cope with day to day stresses and barriers, as well as just feeling good in yourself, your environment, and the people around you. But for some people, everyday tasks can become very hard to complete, and may even baffle them from time to time.
For someone with anxiety, it can be very hard for them to wrap their head around exactly how the world works, and how to fit in with society. So, at times a job can be very overwhelming, especially if they can’t always understand what’s going on, and maybe they struggle to ask for help!
This is why it’s so important to create bonds between your team in the workplace. Of course, professionally, but having a close-knit team where you are all open and honest with each other can make a huge difference.
It’s already hard enough for someone suffering with mental health issues to speak up about it, let alone in a workplace where they may not feel entirely comfortable. They may feel as though they don’t fit in which can be very isolating. So, spark the conversation! As an employer, let your team know that they can always be open and honest with you. It can be tricky for them to speak up, so the best thing to do is for you to start the conversation, and be honest yourself.
What can I do to support someone with mental health issues in the workplace?
Ensure your employees know they can be open and honest with you
As I’ve already said above. The best way for you to let them know this is by simply doing it yourself. Share your story and share how you feel, when appropriate, and this may inspire them to start being more open. You have to be patient; some may be more comfortable sharing their emotions than others. It’s always a process, so make sure you’re patient and over time you’ll develop a workplace bond, and they’ll be able to be more open with you.
Make sure your staff know they’re valued
It’s completely natural to want approval from your superiors, its part of nature. We want to impress those we look up to in order to progress and grow. SO, let them know that they’re valued. Give them praise where appropriate and make sure they know the difference they’re making within your business. Everyone is good at something, so utilize their skill sets so they’re able to do the best job they can.
Check that they’re clear on their workload
Try to ensure that your employees are as clear on their workload as possible. Some people may find it difficult to ask question or to ask for help. Especially within a new environment. It can often help to be the first to start the conversation and get the ball rolling. Eventually it may help them become more comfortable with asking for help.
Offer mental health services within your company
It’s always a good idea to have some kind of mental health service within your company. No matter how big or small. This could simply be a HR manager, as someone to talk to. Or even a 24 hour helpline number. Whether it’s a whole department, or part of HR, any kind of mental health support is going to be massively appreciated by those suffering in the workplace. Make sure it’s confidential!
Include posters/flyers in the workplace so your staff are aware of ways they can get some support.
1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace. It’s shown that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions. (Stats from mentalhealth.org.uk)
We can clearly see from these statistics that there is lots of room for improvement in regards to mental health in the workplace.
Practising good mental health in the workplace has a range of benefits for all parties…
What are the benefits of practising good mental health in your business?
It goes without saying that if people are feeling good in the office, it’s clearly going to boost their moral, and increase the motivation within the workplace. If your employees are feeling good, they’re more likely to feel confident around the rest of the team, and in their own work that they’re doing!
Once moods are rising, motivation will too! That can only be a good thing.
It’s good to feel good
The main one, your employees will be happy! Of course, you want your staff to feel well in themselves, and in the work that they’re producing. It helps to be in a good mental state whilst in the workplace. It’s good to feel good.
Creates workplace bonds
Having an open and honest team is going to help create workplace bonds between employees. This makes for better team-building, and they’ll be able to work together productively. As you and the team get to know each other more, you’ll learn what everyone is best at, and that way you’ll each be able to utilize one another’s skill sets.
Better quality of work
Someone who feels confident that their job is ultimately going to feel much more confident in their quality of work! This in turn will make them much more productive. If they’re confident in their job, their work will be to a higher standard, which benefits them personally, and benefits the business too.
How does practising mental wellbeing benefit the workplace?
Less staff turnover
You’re going to have significantly less staff turnover if your employees feel supported and safe in their workplace. With 1 in 6.8 people experiencing mental health issues in the workplace, it’s clear that there’s a high chance of employees quitting their job if they feel they can’t cope with it.
So practise good mental health in your business, and support your employees. If they recognise their team has their back, and they’ve got plenty of support, they’re more likely to stay within your business.
Less sick days taken
12.7% of sick days taken can be attributed to mental health. They may feel the everyday pressures of the job are too much sometimes, and need a day to recharge or to recover. The employee may sometimes lie if they feel embarrassed or their worried it’s not good enough. But if you practise good mental health in your business, and offer help where you can, they’ll find it easier to be completely honest with you.
They’re also much less likely to take sick days off if they feel they can cope at work, which obviously benefits the business, as you’re not losing anything!
Doing this will also have a great deal of financial benefits for your business. Better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8bn per year.
‘Promoting wellbeing at work through advice, support, risk assessment questionnaires, seminars, workshops, and web-based materials will cost approx. £80 per employee, per year. For a company with 500 employees, where all employees undergo the intervention, it is estimated that the initial investment of £40,000 will result in a net return on £347,772 in savings.’ (mentalhealth.org.uk).
The savings are mainly there due to less lack of productivity, if they’re working whilst ill, and due to less people missing work due to poor mental wellbeing.
Mental health in your business…
So clearly, there are tons of benefits to practising mental wellbeing in your workplace. Personal benefits, and professional benefits too! There’s plenty of ways to support your staff, ensure you’re supporting them as much as you can, so they can feel safe and confident at work.