If you’ve not given much thought to mental wellbeing in the workplace, you really should.
The mental health of employees is just as important to an organisation as a world-class product or a consumer-pleasing service.
But the workforce is suffering. So much so, that it’s estimated that last year, mental health illnesses cost the UK economy £94 billion, and over 15 million working days were also lost due to workers becoming ill through work-related stress.
These are incredibly worrying statistics. They’re telling us that the UK’s workforce is mentally unfit to drive the productivity businesses crave. If employees are unfit to work, businesses won’t flourish. And that’s bad news for everyone.
MENTAL AWARENESS: A PILLAR OF SUCCESSFUL COMPANY CULTURES
Whilst the world of work was never meant to be easy, it was never meant to make people mentally ill, either!
You can help employees with their wellbeing by building a mentally-aware workplace that can help reduce stress and make the working environment that little bit happier, too. After all, happy workers are more productive ones – so what have you got to lose?
If you encourage the following 7 positive traits, you may just start to reap the rewards…
1. BUILD A Collaborative Environment
Giving employees the chance to bounce ideas of each other and engage with different areas of the business can help spread skills and bring new ideas, too.
Avoid compartmentalising different teams, share the all the good stuff which goes on in your business and try to have regular get-togethers outside of work hours. The more your staff interact with each other, the more positive the workplace environment will become.
2. Support Flexible Working
The typical 9-5 isn’t for everyone. Some people work best later in the day, some might be at their best at the crack of dawn. Also, if someone can do their job at home just as effectively as they could in the office, do they really need to commute long distances every day?
You may also find that employees with families have difficulty arranging childcare during the regular working week. With the government's childcare voucher schemes now closed to new applicants, new parents may find it tough to balance the needs of their families against their career.
Offering flexible working can help reduce the effects of this problem and allow employees with families to concentrate on their jobs. This is of course dependent on the needs of a business; but offering flexible working hours or locations can make a real difference to the lives of a workforce.
3. Providing Regular, Constructive Feedback
The phrase ‘silence is golden’ definitely does not apply to a happy workforce.
If people are doing a good job, tell them! If they have areas for improvement, give them the opportunity to grow by providing constructive feedback in the form of 1-to-1s or informal catch-ups.
The fear of not knowing can be a distraction for many people and damage confidence, too. By removing this concern, you can let your staff focus on their work.
4. GIVE CLEAR GUIDANCE ON WHAT IS EXPECTED
Much like giving constructive feedback, employees will feel at their most confident when they’re clear as to what is expected of them and when they need to do it.
If something is required by 4pm, avoid sending chaser emails during the day as this can simply add unnecessary pressure. If your staff are clear on what is required, trust in them to deliver.
5. Rewarding Their Efforts
If staff have worked for longer than usual or regularly gone beyond the call of duty, reward their efforts accordingly!
A couple of cinema tickets or allowing them to finish earlier at the weekend gives the gift of time away from work and can help employees to recharge their batteries.
6. BE RESPONSIVE AND ACCESSIBLE
If you’re managing a team, don’t manage them from afar.
Get involved with them, listen to their ideas and respond to any concerns promptly. When team members feel they can depend upon you, they’ll feel more comfortable and confident in their role.
7. BE HAPPY!
Finally, make an effort to greet each other in the morning. Smile, make eye contact and say ‘thank you’.
It’s common courtesies like this that are a subtle, yet highly-effective way to encourage a more positive state of mind in the workplace.
A MENTALLY AWARE WORKPLACE IS JUST THE START...
The key to making sure your employees are as happy, healthy and motivated as they can be is to become the kind of organisation that cares – the kind of supportive employer that keeps employees for the long haul.
Find out more about how you can create a successful and productive workplace culture through positive health and wellbeing - check out our free online guide via the link below!