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Looking after the mental health and happiness of your employees

6 min read

31 October 2019

Here are five ways you can support the mental health and general wellbeing of staff as we head into greyer skies in the winter months.

Work is a huge factor in everyone’s mental health, and although it has started to become increasingly recognised as being just as important as physical health, there are still many things that an employer can do to ensure that their employees are feeling happy and healthy whilst in the office.

An employer taking time off work because of mental health is usually the biggest knock-on effect for a company, costing thousands per year. Also, there is a general productivity issue, with 80% of sufferers experiencing difficulties concentrating and 62% taking much longer than they should complete a task.

With that being said, this article takes a look at just five ways that a company would be able to help support the mental health and general wellbeing of staff just a little more.

Flexible working

Flexible working often means that employees will have a better work-life balance and be able to attend certain events that they may miss out on should they be working a general 9 to 5. It gives staff members greater control of the hours that they work, and they would be able to nip out and attend any medical appointments during their working day or leave a little earlier and pick up the children from school.

Rachel Bedgood, MD of CBS supports the idea of flexible working and offers her employees the chance to work flexibly. She says:

“Whether this is letting employees pop out for a few hours to watch a child in a Christmas concert, or just supplying general support when it comes to mental health, as an employer in South Wales, seen as living in severe social deprivation, we see the first-hand effects on mental health. We know we have to address such challenges and take responsibility to acknowledge and enhance wherever possible.”

Supplying snacks

Providing staff with appropriate snacks, like fruit, will boost the morale and the wellbeing of the office. Companies that provide food for employees often get a better return on investment in human capital – happier and healthier staff are often more productive and efficient.

As well as supplying the office with snacks, Liberty Marketing in Cardiff have introduced nutritionist talks to the office, to talk about which foods staff should and shouldn’t be eating in order to help with stress and overall happiness.

Mari d’Antonio, Client Relationship Manager at Liberty Marketing has said:

“The nutritionist talks have helped me make some healthier changes to my snacking. Although work does supply chocolate, I try to choose the apples and cheeses as I know it will put me in a better mindframe throughout the afternoon.”

Out of office bonding

A lot of the time, employees get some anxiety about going to work due to a fear that they won’t get on with other members of staff. Social events such as work drinks or company days out give the team chance to bond with each other outside a working environment.

Scott, Managing Director and Founder of Illustrate Digital in Cardiff says:

“We have team lunches every Friday, which is a great way to bond outside of the working environment. We are a small team, so this works well for us, and gives us a chance to chat with those we haven’t been able to talk to during the week due to hectic workloads and deadlines. Work shouldn’t just be about a task list; building real relationships with the people you see every day is invaluable and goes a long way to a growing a healthy mindset.

Regular check-ins

Checking in with employees regularly is important. A lot of companies have annual meetings, or even monthly meetings, to ensure that any problems or issues can be discussed.

HR Manager at Pure Commercial Finance, Helen Hose, checks in with employees regularly and says that it proves to be beneficial for both the workplace and the employees.

“When speaking to employees, I sometimes find that there are parts of their working environment that aren’t working for them. My job as HR Manager is to ensure that everyone is happy in their working life, and if not, to provide a solution or support.

“Staff surveys and voting systems are a good way to hear the voices of everyone. If most employees state that something isn’t working for them, then it’s likely that something needs to be changed to suit the majority of the office.”

Room for headspace

Some people can find it overwhelming working amongst large groups or in a big office space. It is important for offices to provide quiet areas where employees can go when they’re feeling overwhelmed with work, such as a quiet meeting room or a work pod, which have become increasingly popular during 2019.