A recent survey by Core Recruitment and Purple Cubed found that 97% of respondents’ overall wellbeing had been adversely affected by recent events, yet 64% said their employers were offering no additional support to help them cope. According to Mind UK, 54% of employers say they’d like to do more to help, even though they don’t have the right tools in place.
Mental health care must be democratised. Although therapists and healthcare professionals are a vital part of the solution, treatment cannot rely only on these specialists. Workplace healthcare should also involve smart self-diagnostics and tailored support, leading to more collaborative, work-based solutions. And for this to work, there are 10 key steps:
- Getting the board on board: this might need some strategic, attitudinal and tactical changes as understanding and support must come from the highest levels including preparedness to invest.
- Leaders as mentors: leaders at all levels must be aware, willing and able to fully support and promote workplace wellbeing – definitely no toxic bosses!
- Open and two-way dialogue: it’s good to talk; mental health is no longer a taboo subject. Tools such as Wellbee enable this dialogue and provide a safe secure space to assess personal wellbeing, access solutions and feedback to the right people.
- Creating support networks: consider mentoring and buddying links, employee assistance helplines and/or employing an internal counsellor could make a difference too.
- Communicating responsibly: this will help avoid information overload and give clarity, consistency and transparency of messages. This includes a healthy attitude towards email too.
- A long, hard look at work-life balance: as recent events have accelerated change, learn from this and assess what you could do to help people regain control over their lives.
- Bottom-up, employee-led approach: this will enable progression and learning, providing flexible opportunities for all – stop moving people around like chess pieces or developing only the elite few.
- Encouraging social interactions: as team dynamics is critical to happiness at work, perhaps make available a small budget for people to plan their own happiness, thus avoiding ‘enforced fun’. And in the meantime, get creative around optional virtual get togethers too.
- Addressing absentees: support absentees by keeping in touch and offering help as appropriate (led by the individual – you can’t know what level of support would be appreciated). This is the time to have one-to-ones with your people to find out how their perspectives and aspirations may have changed during lockdown.
- Be kind: this is perhaps the simplest, cost neutral, yet highly effective way to improve mental wellbeing at work and help people to love what they do.
Author: Jane Sunley is a business author, people expert, vlogger, blogger, thought leader, media commentator, and public speaker. She is also the founder of employee engagement experts consultancy, Purple Cubed, and recently launched the workplace wellbeing tool, Wellbee.