How is mental health being nurtured by your business?

Written by Bhav Parmar

In the past year, more and more evidence has emerged on the impact that COVID-19, and associated lockdowns, changed working patterns and the like, have had on our mental health. According to a report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), more than two-thirds of adults in the UK reported feeling somewhat or very worried about the effect COVID-19 will have on their life.

Some of the biggest drivers of worsening mental health have been social isolation, job and financial loss, housing insecurity and reduced access to mental health services.

Therefore, mental health and the wellbeing of staff has never been higher up the agenda for an employer. Ensuring that our colleagues have the support they need if they are going through challenging times for whatever reason, allowing room for individuals to have “head space” in the middle of a busy day and offering additional benefits to aid mental health are all becoming more commonplace – and not before time.

 

 

How is your business doing in this area?

In recent months, we’ve seen businesses adopt and adapt new approaches to support mental health and wellbeing, such as mental health days, access to resources, hybrid working and extra time off.

It is unreasonable to expect every business to suddenly be outstanding within the mental health arena. Indeed, it will need to be a continuous improvement process for all. However, what is important is the intention and direction of travel; the commitment to do better and go further.

We need to move from seeing mental health as an individual challenge to a collective priority. Having sustainable ways of working within an open and positive environment can make a big difference to employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

Research demonstrates businesses with high levels of employee engagement have increased productivity, and stronger staff commitment. But this can only be maintained by good mental health practices and attitudes. When employee wellbeing is not supported, engagement reduces, performance levels drop off and staff turnover is increased.

 

 

But what is the best approach to adopt for your business?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. The success of any mental health initiative is down to how well you know your people. The key is transparency. Engagement with employees through surveys and open channels of communication will help you as a business to assess what’s going well, what needs improving and the general consensus of what your colleagues are feeling about mental health and the organisation as a whole.

There are many different programmes businesses are offering, including:

  • Mental well-being days off
  • More flexible holidays
  • Support resources, like Perkbox
  • Hybrid/flexible working arrangements
  • The right to switch off.

But it’s also critical to educate employees about mental health and wellbeing. Companies that invest in their people and encourage open dialogue are well on their way to creating a positive working environment.

There’s still a long way to go, but employers are going in the right direction.

So, what are you doing as a business to support your employees? Let us know and let’s share the good practice.

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