April is Stress Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to think about and focus on our mental wellbeing. The sad truth is, many of us are all too familiar with stress, particularly when it comes to the workplace.
Last year, a Government survey revealed that around 828,000 workers are suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, resulting in a loss of 17.9 million working days a year from 2019 to 2020.
As a nation, the pandemic has put further strains on our collective mental health. Mental health charity, Mind, reported that more than half of adults said their mental health deteriorated during the first lockdown.
The mental wellbeing of our team is vital to the culture of our business. We work hard, play hard and have each other’s backs when the going gets tough. We truly believe that we’re in the business of people and that a happy and healthy team is the first, and most important step, in delivering our best work.
With all that in mind (pun intended), and as part of our ongoing wellness programme, our management team enrolled on a ‘Managing Mental Health at Work’ course with Mind.
Delivered by an experienced mental health professional via Zoom, the interactive course equipped us with the knowledge of how best to support the team with their mental wellbeing at work.
The course helped us to gain a deeper awareness of mental health problems, and how to identify symptoms and triggers. During the session, the team was split into groups and given the space to openly discuss issues around mental health and how best to create a positive environment for everyone to thrive.
Most crucially, we came away from the training feeling better equipped to support our colleagues who may face stress and mental health concerns, while promoting a healthy mindset in the workplace.
Our five tips to a healthy, happy workplace:
1 – Knowledge is power
Equip your team with awareness and understanding of mental health conditions, symptoms and causes in order to be able to identify triggers and provide support where needed.
2 – Observe
At HDY, we have created a culture of open communication (basically, we love a good chat!) That’s why we have regular one-to-one catch ups with line managers, as well as department catch ups and team meetings. Taking the time to get to know your team members means you can spot behaviours that are out of character – which could signal wider problems.
3 – Listen
Regular communication also gives your teammates more chances to talk. If you are concerned about someone’s well being, let them know you’re here to listen and lend an open-minded ear.
4 – Recognise individual needs
It’s important to understand that everyone’s brains work differently. It’s what makes our team so unique and we wouldn’t have it any other way. This is why it’s vital to consider each team members’ needs to create a work environment and wellbeing practices that work best for them so everyone can bring their best self to work every day.
5 – Promote a work/life balance
As the saying (sort of) goes, all work and no play makes for a dull team. At HDY, we have developed a full lockdown wellbeing programme designed to combat stress and keep us connected as a team while working remotely. We’ve had the team getting together for live cook-a-longs, Friday games, art therapy sessions and group workouts. Whether you’re working from home or back in an office, encourage regular breaks, give employees opportunities to bond in non-work situations and set boundaries for working patterns.