Mental health in the workplace: Practise what you preach

The past 18 months have created a myriad of challenges for businesses across Lancashire, especially when it comes to managing teams’ mental health and wellbeing remotely. 

With 1 in 6 workers experiencing stress, anxiety or depression, supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace has never been so important and Lancashire Mind are encouraging businesses to step back and re-evaluate their processes as we navigate the “new normal”. 

Whether your business includes full remote working, a hybrid model, or back to the office full time, going back to basics and assessing your key messaging can be hugely beneficial to understanding the current mental and physical wellbeing of your staff. 

Ask yourself, are you really encouraging a positive work life balance? Do managers send emails out of hours? Regularly work at weekends and reply on annual leave? If the answers are yes, then there may be a dissonance between what is communicated across your business and what in fact, is practised by your management team. If management are not practising what they preach, junior staff will not either. 

Great business leaders understand that good mental health and wellbeing within the workplace starts at the top. They lead by example and create cultures where it is ok for anyone, including themselves, to share when they are having a tough time.

Good mental health and wellbeing within the workplace starts at the top

Creating a workplace culture where staff of all levels of seniority feel they can ask for support is vital, not only in promoting positive health and wellbeing but for general productivity, staff retention and overall business success. 

Prioritise check-ins, either virtually or in person, and don’t be afraid to ask someone how they are feeling. Look at your wellbeing policies and consider asking staff how you can help further. Good practice doesn’t have to cost the earth, it could be offering more flexibility in the working day or allowing a safe space for employees to share personal struggles that could be affecting their performance at work. 

Lancashire Mind is excited to be part of a new health initiative called Business Health Matters, launched this September, which prioritises health and wellbeing within the workplace. 

Led by Active Lancashire, businesses are able to access physical and mental health screenings for their employees, with a focus on empowering individuals to take control of their own health to benefit themselves and the businesses they contribute so much towards. If you are interested in this scheme, find out more at www.businesshealthmatters.org.uk

If the past 18 months have taught us anything it is that we never know what is around the corner. Mental health is no longer the taboo subject it once was and as we learn to live with COVID-19, championing mental health and wellbeing at work could be our chance to create a happier, more productive and engaged workforce.

Actions really do speak louder than words.