This is a growing hot topic right now and one we need to keep talking about and most importantly ACT on when necessary. Research has consistently shown that the wellbeing of employees is high when they feel valued and supported for the meaningful work they do. Furthermore, they are more likely to be involved and committed to organisational goals and perform better. Employers, line managers and HR teams who are aware and can see the benefits of this in terms of bottom line, performance and morale tend to be very proactive to ensure this high level of employee engagement is maintained.
How aware are you?
Having said this the journey to better mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is not always an easy one and does require a certain level of individual and organisational awareness of the link between employee wellbeing and people performance. Whether organisations realise or not everyone at work plays a role in organisational culture and performance and so it is always useful to know what a disengaged workplace looks like.
When we are more aware in this way and believe we can all do something to help support positive change, the closer we are to enjoying the benefits of a workplace that is happier, healthier and thriving.
What have you noticed?
So, have you noticed some-one at work recently with any of the following signs of stress or poor wellbeing:
- A change in normal behaviour or mood.
- Irritability/difficulty concentrating
- Poor decision making
- Poor work performance and time management
- Resentment/anger outbursts
- Persistent crying
- Risk taking
Remember YOU can do something now to help and promote greater awareness about what is often regarded as a ‘sensitive’ issue. It doesn’t have to be anymore and although as a society we are talking about this more than ever before, we still have a way to go yet.
So, what’s next if you have identified some of the signs?
- Are you aware of what mental health support is available at your workplace? If not, ask some-one who would know, for instance HR or your line manager. At this point you don’t need to disclose why you are asking but more from an information point of view. Perhaps you don’t need to ask and you can find out via your organisation’s intranet.
- Share your observations with the person who is displaying some of the stress signs. Offer a brew and a chat. Check if they are OK and whether they are being supported inside or outside the organisation. This short conversation is not a counselling session and really is about listening to what they have to say and helping them to identify available support. Perhaps they could be encouraged if appropriate to raise their concerns with their line manager. Alternatively, you could suggest they see their GP as a first point of call who can refer him/her to appropriate counselling services.
- Remember as a concerned colleague you are simply offering support not therapy and in doing so not encouraging possible dependency issues which can distract you from performing your job.
There are some other ways you and your organisation can further promote mental health and wellbeing in the workplace such as:
- Advising new employees of what support is available and how to best access this. This can easily be done during Induction.
- Loading the information about available support on the Intranet
- Creative reminders about mental health and support in the form of posters can also be placed in areas where staff tend to gather for instance, kitchen, water cooler stations and other public places like restrooms, lifts.
- Articles or other information about mental health in newsletters, perhaps anonymous case studies of real success stories where people have chosen to seek professional support. Special mental health awareness days can also be arranged.
- Inviting a mental health professional to visit your organisation and speak to employees about mental health and how individuals can be supported through the hard times. This helps to de-stigmatise the topic of mental health whilst normalising many of the symptoms that are associated with stress related conditions.
- Nominating a mental health champion for your organisation. This person would be the ‘go to’ for anyone who may be concerned about their own mental health.
- Maintaining communications about mental health with all teams and relevant stakeholders. Employees are more likely to talk about mental health and seek appropriate support when they can see their employer and other senior staff actively promoting mental health and wellbeing initiatives.
If you need support, contact me for an informal chat.