Promoting good mental health and wellbeing for employees has never been more of an urgent topic than it is now. Our recently conducted YouGov Survey with Solent Mind found that 37% of people are suffering from worse mental health than pre-pandemic and 73% of those people cite work as being at least partly responsible.
And what’s more, 28% of employees believe their employer is not doing enough to safeguard their mental health at work. As the UK faces a potential mental health tsunami, here at PUSH we’re working hard to help companies foster positive mental health at work.
But with so many avenues to go down, we appreciate it’s challenging to know where to start when it comes to tackling mental wellbeing.
We’ve listed our 5 tips below to get you thinking and offer an audit to help you understand what’s really going on with your people (more on this below.)
Our 5 tips to promote mental health in the workplace
1. Train your leaders
If you’re looking for a place to start, training employees in senior positions is a good one. After all, employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers.
Managers that consciously lead on a human level will energise, empower and motivate a team. Emotional intelligence plays a big role in this, and training your senior leaders on how to recognise, prevent and deal with mental health issues in the workplace will go a long way.
Employees also look to senior leaders for behaviour cues. Modelling positive behaviours will ensure the team knows that workplace wellbeing is an integral part of how your company operates.
Teaching managers the importance of self-care while simultaneously encouraging them to open up about their own struggles will help reduce the stigma around mental health problems. This, in turn, will ensure employees feel less alone with their problems, and more comfortable opening up to someone.
That’s why our Manage Pillar at PUSH focuses on workshops and 1-2-1 coaching for managers. It incorporates a number of sessions including mental health first aid training, how to master difficult conversations and how to boost motivation and morale, to name a few.
2. Create a safe space
Following on from our previous point, leaders play a big role in creating psychologically safe spaces. A safe space gives people the ability to express themselves without fear that others will think less of them.
They are crucial to fostering better employee mental health because they provide an environment to open up, share struggles and admit mistakes. And naturally, this has benefits for the company as well.
When Google conducted a study on how to build the best team, they found that the highest-performing teams all had one thing in common, and that was safe workplaces. What’s more, research shows that creating psychologically safe spaces plays a big part in reducing employee turnover.
3. Help build more resilience
Once you have established a safe space, ensuring the conversation doesn’t fizzle out is key to supporting employees.
One misconception about mental health is that it only needs to be addressed when there is a problem. In reality, training the brain to think better in good times will ensure you and your employees are better equipped to deal with situations when things get tough.
In fact, building resilience is one of the most powerful things we can do for our wellbeing as it is preventative. A resilient workforce is flexible, can adapt to new situations, learn from experience, is optimistic and asks for help when it is needed.
As part of our Feel Pillar, we offer a resilience programme via expert-backed workshops and 1-2-1 coaching sessions to give employees practical tools to strengthen their resilience muscle. We also provide employees with our Mental Health at Work mobile app to help embed the learning from the workshops outside of work hours.
4. Provide a work-life balance
Since the pandemic shifted the majority of office-based jobs to a home-office set-up, many employees have found that the lines between work life and home life have become increasingly blurred.
And prolonged periods of such blurred boundaries can lead to increased stress and even burnout. Research has found that working from home during the pandemic has led to increased levels of mental distress and loneliness.
While working from home itself is not the problem (in fact 32% of UK job seekers say the ability to work from home would encourage them to apply for a job), it’s important to set clear boundaries to help encourage a greater work-life balance.
Ensuring employees take adequate lunch breaks and don’t work long hours or weekends is a start. Flexible working is another great way to encourage this as recent research has found employees actually prefer flexible working hours over other types of benefits.
Our Do Pillar includes workshops and 1-2-1 coaching sessions to help your company master the new era of work with advice on how to sustain motivation, implement boundaries and stay connected.
5. Teach stress management techniques
Stress can be the direct cause of common mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, and it can also make existing problems significantly worse. Teaching employees to recognise the signs of stress and supporting them with stress management techniques is another core component of fostering better employee health.
As an employee’s physical health plays a big role in stress management, encouraging them to take short walks throughout the day, or providing them with stretches they can do at home, will go a long way. For office-based employees, providing more healthy lunch options at office canteens, or offering incentives or discounts to eat better in general, will help instil further change.
At PUSH, we offer stress-busting workshops, 1-2-1 coaching, challenges and app-based content to help give your people the tools they need to effectively manage stress.
Take the next steps with our Mental Health and Wellbeing Audit
We firmly believe that formally supporting mental health in the workplace is no longer a nice to have, it’s a need to have. And with World Mental Health Day coming up in October, now is the perfect time to put plans in place.
The first step is to understand what’s really going on with your people and identify the best ways you can support mental health and wellbeing at work. Through this process, you will find out what invigorates your team, helping them to be happier and more productive, which ultimately, will help your business grow.
And at PUSH, we’ve got a Mental Health and Wellbeing Audit to help you get there.
What’s the PUSH Audit?
The audit is a benchmark of the present status – the ‘where we are now’ of a company, either in relation to the company or in line with a particular objective. It is a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods.
People tend to be more honest working with a third party. By understanding that the process is confidential and led by a neutral party, it gives permission to be open and honest.
Once the data has been collected from the digital questionnaire and face-to-face interviews, the data is analysed by our Corporate Analyst and you will receive a full report with recommendations. Find out more!