Blue Monday has long been hailed as the day of the year we feel most depressed at work. The truth, however, is that mental health issues aren’t privy to one day alone – not by a long shot. It’s evidenced across the entire week – and it’s an issue reed.co.uk has sought to tackle.
That we’ve come to hate Monday is merely a result of being flung back into a routine of waking up early, commuting delays and often repetitive tasks. But if you shove the dread and hatred of that one day into a tiny corner of their minds, then the week can be started on a good note, alleviating most of the stress staff may have entered the work week with.
It’s a philosophy reed.co.uk swears by. According to Rohan Kallicharan, talent acquisition manager at reed.co.uk, giving people something to look forward to at the beginning of each week is one way to ensure the mental health of employees.
Here he tells more about how reed.co.uk ensures the wellbeing of staff:
What do you believe are the benefits of investing in employees’ health and wellbeing?
There are lots of benefits to businesses which invest in employee health and wellbeing. From the most basic perspective, it reduces absenteeism and increases productivity as a result.
It also promotes better staff engagement which impacts on turnover and the ability to attract top talent. Looking after your people can only be to the betterment of the business both internally and in its external reputation.
In what ways do you invest in your employees’ health and wellbeing?
Besides supporting the work-life balance of co-members and providing flexible work options, reed.co.uk offers a unique set of regular benefits by bringing its Love Mondays ad campaign to life for its team. We encourage co-members to take part in innovative and engaging health and wellbeing activities every Monday.
Activities span anything that helps staff feel great on a Monday – it really sets the tone for the rest of the week. So, whether it’s yoga, massage, meeting an expert on nutrition or taking part in a company-wide ping pong competition, there’s something happening to ensure every week starts off on a healthy footing.
If money was no object, what health and wellbeing perks/schemes would you like to have in place?
Personally, I’d like it if we offered free running shoes and paid co-members’ entry fees for races, to ramp up interest in running and exercise. That’s quite subjective though, as I’m running 17 marathons this year! I could settle for the company sending us on all expenses paid holidays with our families, or even unlimited annual leave.
How important is it to ensure candidates of such offerings ahead of recruiting them?
It’s essential candidates know they are coming to work for a company which invests in them holistically. We live in an era where soft benefits are often more important to applicants than money alone. Knowing that they are speaking to an employer that values wellbeing is something that can make a real difference in such a competitive market place.
Our EVP has our people and environment at its core, because this is the most important factor in attracting and retaining the right people.
How would you advise SME bosses to address staff mental health?
I would advocate a mental health champion within the workplace. This doesn’t have to be someone with lived experience, but must be someone approachable, trusted and with the ability to listen and be discreet.
I think SMEs can benefit hugely by having posters and information around mental health in public areas (kitchens, lifts etc.) and ensuring staff are being signposted to external services. Newsletters, intranets and wellbeing events can also be a catalyst for starting conversations. Management training doesn’t have to be beyond budget and can be sourced through charities like Mind, and this will ensure a more supportive leadership style and encourage staff to be open.
There are other solutions around flexible working which can have a very beneficial impact on staff wellbeing and mental health. We have held awareness events and been involved in campaigns during the last year, which have really raised visibility of mental health here and encouraged open conversations.
Do you believe that mental health as a taboo subject persists?
I sincerely believe we’ve made significant progress societally in terms of the stigma around mental health. However, it remains something very difficult to speak about openly, particularly in the workplace. The reality is that so many are still scared to speak it for fear of being perceived as unable to cope and do their job, and being fired as a result.
Simply, we cannot deny a taboo when the Mental Health Foundation reports that 56 per cent of managers wouldn’t employ someone who said they had suffered with depression, even if they were the best person for the job, and 95 per cent of employees cited a reason other than stress when off for a stress-related illness.
Find out how Kallicharan unwinds outside of reed.co.uk on the next page.
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