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Tackling Mental Health in the Workplace

Pre-COVID-19 on average, employees would spend more time at their office or workplace than their own home. What was front of mind for businesses was how to make staff feel comfortable and supported no matter their role while they were in the workplace.

Mental health hasn’t always been recognised in the workplace. Still, there is a link between how people feel and their productivity so now it’s featuring on management’s agenda, as businesses strive to provide mental health policies for those who need additional help.

Even before the pandemic 1 in 6 employees is said to be dealing with a mental health problem, with work-related stress often found more in women.

Understanding what can trigger negative episodes can empower the business to take action and support staff struggling with mental conditions.

Furthermore, making sure employees recognise the signs of their mental health and encourage them to manage it empowers them and improves their confidence.

In this blog we go further into what you can do to deal with mental health in the workplace.

Dealing with mental health problems at work

Anxiety, stress and depression are all different mental health states.

Events like pandemics may become a regular occurrence now there is a link to climate change. Any event that threatens the norm can be triggers for vulnerable staff who can find even simple tasks difficult to manage when they’re facing their own internal crisis. If the business is going through organisational change or is dealing with workplace sexism and the gender pay gap, employees with existing conditions may struggle with their mental health management plan.

When it gets too hard, some staff will just take time off work to deal with stress or depression. For businesses, it is essential to promote positivity and support in order to maintain an efficient and optimistic work environment.

Employees and employers must be able to recognise when someone might be under particular stress or feeling down. Often employees will suffer in silence, especially if the choice is between that or telling a manager. Many staff members will feel highly uncomfortable sharing their personal feelings; this is part of a workplace culture that you can change, given time.

Taking positive steps

It is down to whole teams and departments to help change the office, warehouse, or work environment.

Ensure support processes are in place and that there is a system where staff turn to internal or external counsellors open to listening and helping with their mental health struggles.

Lead by example

Senior staff and management must lead from the top down. Make time to inform staff of health management strategies and events and leaders within the business can participate, which will show staff it’s okay to take time to deal with stress and other mental health conditions. It is also key that senior members of staff remain approachable. Whether it’s being a trusted confidante or being able to put your colleagues in touch with the right support network, taboos and stigma must continue to be broken down between staff.

The company culture can be caring and showing empathy where any employee can ask someone if they are okay and suggest they meet for a chat over a cup of tea or coffee!

As life moves forward, there will be more pandemics and events that threaten or challenge our existence. Change is inevitable, and we all need to know how to embrace it in our own way. As a business owner, you want your staff showing up for work happy and mentally able to perform, so you do have a role in making sure there are a company-wide strategy and solution for supporting all staff all of the time they’re at work.

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