The Wellbeing of Your Business May Need Attention
- Posted by Lynn Sedgwick
- June 13, 2022
It’s generally accepted that over the last two years since the pandemic, there have been many sectors and regions that have felt the strain of workload increases and it’s just been accepted as the norm.
Yet the past few years have seen an explosion in the hours worked by many employees as numerous sectors navigated the ups and downs of the pandemic and its concerned client and customer bases.
And it is taking its toll.
The Current Mental Health Challenges Employees Are Experiencing
In a recent C.I.P.D. survey, the evidence suggests that the coronavirus pandemic heavily influences employee health and wellbeing.
The virus has and continues to disrupt due to staff absence, and in some cases, employees are suffering the after-effects of contracting the virus from long COVID. Although organisations are still committed to supporting their people, evidence suggests that activity in this area is starting to slip. A more holistic approach – based on the health risks and needs of the workforce – is much needed.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, “1 in 6.8 people are experiencing mental health problems in the workplace”, that’s an astounding 14.7% with women being nearly twice as likely to experience problems vs. men. Studies show that better mental health care and support in the workplace will save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year and promoting wellbeing within your business can reduce sickness absence days of which 12.7% are currently used for mental health conditions.
Assess The Situation in Your Business
Some of the larger businesses we work with conduct a regular employee survey, though historically, asking your team about their wellbeing hasn’t been included.
Consider the nature of the questions you ask employees, and take proactive measures to ensure that respondents are safe from identification. Attempting to measure mental health and stigma in highly challenging environments like an overworked business may also skew results so that they are not representative of true employee sentiments.
This is stage one, as it is critical to know what you are dealing with first before you can implement a process to make a difference across your business.
Have Mental Health on Your Agenda
As in all areas of business, if you want an area to change, you must give it focus. I am sure your business has a growth plan and ideas on succession planning, and you may be working with someone like ourselves on building your talent pipeline.
Your leadership team will have a strategic plan on how to take the business forward, and in today’s landscape, part of that needs to include looking after the wellbeing of your team.
As a first start, you can find some excellent resources on the Mental Health Foundation website here. In addition, assign a partner to the role of mental health lead in your business. Consider engaging the help of external suppliers to help you implement an Employee Assistance Programme (E.A.P.) which is one part of a well-being solution.
E.A.P.s are intended to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health and wellbeing. E.A.P.s generally include assessment, short-term counselling and referral services for employees and their immediate family – wherever they are in the world.
Support Managers To Coach and Lead Their Team
An easy start to improving well-being is to instil a coaching culture in your business aligned with external training on mental health and well-being. As a manager trained in well-being, you can make a huge difference to your team.
Honest and open communication during regular catch-ups with your team members can help identify struggling people.
We know one business uses a traffic light system during conversations with green when everything is ok, amber when a few cracks appear that require help, and naturally, red for an extreme case and that individual needs support. The well-being plan has created multiple resources we can all now access to improve our mental health, so finally, I want to share a few examples.
Provide Support Resources For Your Team
The way we think and listen to our thoughts can cause us to spiral out of control. It is no wonder that working with a coach proves to be a valuable support mechanism for many.
One business we know utilises the help of an external coach, with team members having the ability to book sessions to help them navigate any stress they are experiencing.
Many of us accept that we lead busy lives, and the ability to handle overwhelm and calm can be facilitated in many ways.
Though it sounds counter-intuitive, there are several online apps that many individuals use with great success. The aptly named Headspace and Calm apps have over a hundred million users and provide access to multiple resources.
Develop Your Action Plan
Finally, improving the well-being of your team is about taking action. We have shared several ideas and resources here.
In addition, the way many people worked remotely during the pandemic helped their work-life balance and well-being. We have written posts about the value of hybrid working here and, most recently, the move to a four-day working week here.
All of these ideas can be used to help your team improve their well-being – although obviously need to be carefully considered alongside business strategy and key objectives.