How many times a day do you ask “how are you?”, and how many times do you get asked the same question? Most importantly, how many times were you honest when answering?
We often tend to hide how we really feel because we don’t want to be a burden, or we don’t want to be seen as weak, or because we don’t want our managers to think that our mental health affects our performance at work.
But here’s the thing: the more we talk about mental health, the bigger chance we have to end the stigma around it.
Being able to speak openly about how we really feel is vital, and line managers and HR teams can help with creating a safe space where people feel comfortable and heard. This is where to start:
We’ve spoken before about the benefits of having regular 1-2-1s. They might not be the most efficient way to collect feedback from the entire organisation but they help you to stay aligned with your teams and prevent larger issues from festering.
Ask people how one-to-ones can be tailored to suit their particular needs and make sure that everyone feels comfortable requesting time outside of the normal schedule.
According to research, poor mental health costs employers in the UK between £33 billion and £42 billion a year. Mental health difficulties are also the biggest cause of sickness absence in the country so it really pays off to invest in a wide mental health strategy.
Wellbeing should be a priority for an organisation and mental health policies need to be well-thought-out and communicated clearly with the entire company.
Ensure that there’s a wellbeing framework in place that it’s inclusive and it supports people when they’re going through difficult times.
The way you manage and support your people when they’re going through challenging times can shape the way they cope and recover.
Line managers are the fastest route to your people and when it comes to how they can improve things it’s all about giving them the right support and training.
Set your line managers for success. Give them the right training and motivate them. After all, they’re the ones having the closest relationship with your staff and can notice when something isn’t quite right.
Even though many of us work from home, the work environment is still something that leadership should take into consideration. Noise levels, temperature, and light can significantly affect wellbeing. Make sure to ask people how to improve the office space.
Design office environments to accommodate the varying tasks and the specific needs of the workforce considering privacy in open-plan offices, without compromising collaboration.
Often managers won’t be aware of all the ways they can help their staff. Make sure that everyone understands how mental health is managed in the workplace and what support is available. Your organisation could also signpost to external sources of information and advice. For example, the Mind Infoline has details of available local services, and employers can also explore partnering with Local Minds – there are over 150 across the country providing a range of services to meet the needs of the local community.
People may feel uncomfortable talking about their mental health with line managers or colleagues and this is where a survey can help. Regular wellbeing surveys give you a better feel for how well people are coping and for any employees that might require extra support.
We all know wellbeing is important, but that doesn’t make it easy to measure. That’s why we created the Employee Feedback Platform, and our Wellbeing Survey – a fast and easy way to track wellbeing, define workplace wellbeing initiatives in your organisation.
Try out the survey (and the rest of our platform) for free: