Hints & Tips Blog

More Tips for Supporting Employees’ Mental Health

We’ve previously emphasised the benefit to your business in supporting your employees’ mental health. We saw that promoting an open culture is a key factor, along with monitoring situations that most often cause stress.

Today we’re sharing three further ways in which you can protect your people’s wellbeing.

1. Alert and approachable supervisors

For those in a supervisory role, spotting signs of mental health issues is a key role in managing their teams. Symptoms of the most common mental health conditions to look out for include:

  • Changes in team members’ behaviour
  • Becoming moody or withdrawn
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Inability to keep to deadlines
  • Being more than usually absent from work

It helps to ensure that your Managers are aware of potential issues and able to spot signs early. And if their team members now work more remotely, it’s important they build in some face to face time or video calls that focus on ‘the person’ as well as their work. Managers need to ensure they are approachable and available to spend enough time individually with team members and to discuss their concerns and what might be troubling them, as well as exploring their ideas and aspirations.

2. Physical health is important too

Mental wellbeing is stimulated by physical health, and there are several things you can do to encourage this. You can initiate company activities at lunchtime or after work, such as running or walking clubs, or form a company team for sporting activities or charity events. This can also promote friendship and engagement between different teams. When you want a morale boost or to celebrate an employee’s birthday, for example, provide water, fruit and healthy snacks for employees as well as cake or sweets.

Given that some employees may now be more routinely working from home, ‘in real life’ lunchtime activities may be less practical, however ‘virtual’ group activities can still provide a good opportunity for socialising, support and bonding. Managers do however need to be mindful of a certain level of ‘Zoom fatigue’, so creating the opportunity for in-person activities ‘with purpose’ can work well. Getting together after work for team sports, exercising for fun, learning a new skill, or to support a charitable cause can provide an additional ‘pull’ to get people involved, although there is still a place for a good old fashioned ‘social’ in many companies.

3. Establish a ‘wellbeing champion’

One company I know paid for one of their employees to take a ‘wellbeing at work course’, which yielded great results. There are many mindfulness and wellbeing courses to choose from.

The nominated employee discovered a long-term interest in wellbeing, which was of great benefit to the company. They took pride in circulating regular hints and tips on how other employees might increase their own wellbeing, and came up with recommendations for small changes by which management could make a big difference.

It helps to have a designated business representative acting as a ‘listening ear’, who can be there for people suffering from anxiety or stress.

If people aren’t confident enough to approach supervisory staff directly, it can help in the first instance to have someone acting as a safe sounding board. This representative can then prepare the ground, if necessary, for future conversations with a supervisor.

It’s important that this representative should be the right person for the role. They must understand clearly the parameters of the role and have the right approach to bridge the gap sensitively between employees and managers. This person can often help to establish channels of communication early on, putting necessary support in place and heading off the development of more serious problems.

Understanding and awareness of mental health is vital for any employer. If you feel we can be of help in understanding the situation for your employees, please contact Rachel Hannan at Rachel.hannan@bhp.co.uk