It’s Mental Health Awareness Week!
Last year, Real Business reported on a study conducted by global HR company MHR, that stated 53% of employees felt a lack of support from their employer in safeguarding their mental health and well-being during the first 2020 lockdown.
As we finally regain a sense of normality, have employers and managers learned how to better support their team” Will we continue to uphold our new attitudes and strategies towards mental health as life gradually returns to normal” What should employers and employees do to build and maintain a supportive and healthy workplace environment?
Spot the signs
If you are a line manager or in charge of your own team, you hold some responsibility to how your team members are feeling. You should be paying attention to any signs of burnout or stress. A few of the common tell-tale signs:
- Over-working with little to no breaks
- Increasing number of sick days
- Being late or missing deadlines
- Uncharacteristic behaviour or poor moods
- Low performance or results
If you can identify any of these issues consistently in your employees, act on it and open a line of communication with them. Work with them to identify the source of the problem. it could be that they are feeling anxious or over-tired or dealing with something difficult in their private life. See if there is a solution you can implement or if there is something you could change to relieve some of their burden.
This is a two-way street. Managers should have an established line of communication and be able to encourage employees to have the confidence to share their issues or concerns with them. Employees should communicate their struggles with their team to find a solution or to better manage the problem. Employers can set in place all of the right policies and procedures to help look after their people’s mental health but if an employee does not communicate their issue, then there is nothing a manager can do to help the situation.
Construct fair and effective policies
If your company is dedicated to encouraging good mental health amongst its staff, this attitude should be backed up your policies and procedures. Your health and safety rules should include a section on mental health that lays out a process for helping a staff member that is struggling. Post-lockdown, your policies may not be up to date because of new anxieties about hygiene and travel or you may have realised during lockdown how vital mental health preservation is and you will need to revise your systems. Ask your staff what they feasibly need from you to feel safe, secure, and supported. Ask them for feedback on your current or new policies so they are reassured that you are dedicated to their well-being at work.
While employers are partially responsible for their employee’s well-being, they are not necessarily licensed experts. If you have the means, providing resources for your employees to use when they want and need them, they will likely find solutions to their issues independently.
What kind of resources” Information and links to counselling or well-being services that are either affordable, provided by the company, or free to use. Recommendations for apps, practises, classes, or activities that might help to relax and refresh after work.
Allowing your employees some flexibility in how, when and where they work will be beneficial for their well-being and their results. There is a lot of stress created by managing life around a strict work schedule. Giving employees the ability to continue working from home, working when best suits them, and being understanding if there are sudden changes to a work schedule is likely to create happier and more productive staff members.
Don’t to wait until there is a problem to check on your people. If you consistently ask your team how they are, how things are going, then they are being constantly reassured that they can bring their thoughts and concerns to you.