Geeta Sidhu-Robb believes that workplace wellness and better mental health starts with the skin. Her brand, Nosh Detox, provides supplements for high performing professionals who are low on the luxury of time. Sidhu-Robb talks to Real Business about what employers can do to tackle the poor mental health epidemic at work.
Company: Nosh Detox
Projected turnover: £2 million
Tell me about your business?
Nosh Detox was set up in 2008. It was the UK’s first home delivery service of non-pasteurised juice and gluten and dairy free meal plans. We offer a wide range of fresh and natural wellbeing products, including the latest wellbeing solutions like vitamin infusion drips.
How can businesses tackle the stigma of mental health?
There are common misconceptions and social stigmas attached to mental health and wellness and even though so many people are affected in their day to day lives, people continue to live in fear of discrimination and isolation.
Businesses need to combat this and encourage employees to seek help or support by promoting awareness within the company, and creating a healthy environment where disclosing mental health issues isn’t considered a weakness. Senior leaders at companies can lead by example by openly discussing their own mental health issues and normalising conversation around the topic.
Consultation and coaching support can also assist in the creation and integration of company-wide initiatives and efforts to achieve a stigma-free environment. Fighting stigmas both in and outside of the workplace involves challenging false beliefs, creating awareness and encouraging understanding and awareness.
What are the warning signs that someone is struggling with health and wellbeing?
Physical signs of stress are easier to spot than the psychological symptoms and may require further attention.
Behavioural signs are also often misinterpreted. For example, distraction and confusion or disorientation and are less obvious symptoms. Memory lapses can sometimes occur under overwhelming stress or when trauma is experienced.
The more familiar an employer is with their staff, the easier it may be to notice behavioural symptoms that seem out of character of a particular employee. This can be difficult to identify particularly within larger organisations.
This is why it is critical to offer a supportive environment, where employees feel they can speak up about their health and wellbeing and not feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk to someone.
How can an employer approach an employee about concerns without overstepping?
It is important that individuals are approached with the upmost care and sensitivity. It is critical that support is offered but not enforced and no personal boundaries are overstepped.
This is why implementing a wellbeing initiative or programme is a good first step. This will demonstrate that you are committed to your employees by giving them a means of support which they can seek at their own discretion.
Openness and willingness to discuss health and wellbeing may take longer to infiltrate into a company but the efforts to create awareness and encouraging understanding within the office will have positive impacts on the work environment.
How should businesses track and handle absenteeism from work?
Employers need to be further educated on the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in order to identify the likelihood of a mental health issue and ensure the appropriate measures. The last thing they would want to do is make a misinformed decision that proves to be the wrong one.
Occupational health checks and wellbeing programmes can help to identify if an employee needs to be taking time off work and what next steps could be taken to help them. What should a business do if they suspect too much time is being taken off of work without good cause?
Sustained absence of even one employee can have a big impact on the productivity of your business and while it is important to show support and compassion, under circumstances when you suspect there is not a good cause for the absence, there needs to be a line drawn.
Identifying patterns of absences is key to concluding whether too much time is being taken off.
Back to work interviews are a good method of identifying causes of absences can help particularly if you have noticed many frequent, short-term absences. It is also within your right to ask for medical evidence from a GP or an Occupational Health Report, gaining consent from the employee first. These necessary steps must be taken before considering any legal action.”
What can an employer do to help look out for staff health and wellbeing?
Getting senior leaders on-board and establishing an effective wellbeing initiative sends a clear message to employees and shows your commitment to their wellbeing. Raising awareness amongst employees is also a key step that needs to be taken to ensuring stigmas are addressed and discussion is promoted to proactively challenge a harmful work culture.
Both employers and employees are often unaware of the ways they can both offer and receive support. It is important that health and wellbeing is brought to the top of the business agenda.
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