Employers are beginning to gain a better understanding of Mental Health thanks to the outstanding work that has been achieved by the various organisations, not to mention HRH Princess Kate and Princes’ Harry and William with #HeadsTogether.
However, this does provide you as an employer, with the problem of how to best support your employees, without a huge financial investment?
Although you are of course aware, that providing support, can assist in the reduction of absenteeism, presenteeism and additional financial costs occurring, due to a decrease in productivity or the levels of client services. Which is all well and good, but how can you do this, without it actually stressing yourself out in the process?
There are three things you can do, to help maintain the mental health of your employees and help those with mental health problems, remain in work and productive, without it stressing yourself out;
1. Spot the signs. This may initially mean taking a note of what you see as you walk around or in team meetings and then choosing the right moment to intervene.
2. Engage with the problem. There are some good practical steps you can take to help with coping strategies, and some legal requirements you need to bear in mind, for example your duty to make reasonable workplace adjustments to the working environment in certain circumstances.
3. Keep a watching brief. This does not necessarily mean passively observing, although in some circumstances this may be the best option. Promote awareness of mental health issues and create a culture where employees feel they can talk to you about their concerns. Keeping communication channels open is critical.
You should also consider using the help that is available to you. Some employers have Employee Assistance Programmes, designed to provide employees with counselling and advice for a wide range of personal and work problems. You may also be able to refer employees to local occupational health services.
Aside from the above, there are also various holistic approaches that can be utilised such as Hypnotherapy, Yoga, Reflexology and even Massage. These can all assist you in looking after the Health and Wellbeing of your employees, which in turn supports them in looking after their own Mental Health. Could you integrate any of the above into your work space?
One of the biggest challenges we face at home and at work is the need to normalise the issue of mental health. Mental health is an integral part of how we feel about our jobs, how well we perform and how well we interact with colleagues and customers. It affects the productivity of every organisation.
A good starting point for this normalisation process is to learn more about mental health and mental health conditions. In terms of day-to-day management in the workplace, many managers and employers already have many of the skills needed to successfully manage the mental health of their employees.
The acronym I use when talking to my clients regarding Mental Health awareness within their workplace is;
Train – Understanding, Workforce, Management.
Accept – Yourself, The Situation.
Support – Prior, Present, Future
Know – YOUR STAFF!
The importance of merely knowing your employees and encouraging them to get to know one another must not be underestimated, as this could easily become your first line of defence, when someone begins to act out of character.
If you or your managers feel you need to work on your interpersonal skills or how you deal with specific issues like Health and Wellbeing, absence or managing change, then drop me an email and we can arrange a time to discuss this further.
Otherwise, feel free to register for your complimentary “Workplace Mental Health” workbook, which is produced by the MIND charity in partnership with employee benefits specialist – Unum, along with a “Signs and Symptoms” guidance sheet for your reference.