Think about the percentage of time you spend in the workplace and how that time is used.
For many of us, work means overcoming multiple daily challenges, coping with the pressures of targets and deadlines, putting on a professional face when dealing with other people or a whole range of other difficulties daily. Even if you love your job - if you relish the challenges, if you find satisfaction in the successes, if your colleagues are as close as family - when a significant portion of your time is spent dealing with those high-pressure scenarios and the drive to deliver continuously, it can start to take its toll.
Daily pressure like that is like a tide against the shore. It doesn’t take one big impact - just a constant, repetitive knock over time that can wear you down without you even realising it’s happening.
For that reason, prioritising mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is so important, both for the individual and the company.
World Mental Health Day10th October is World Mental Health Day, and the theme for 2022 is “Make Mental Health And Wellbeing For All A Global Priority”.
This is led by the World Federation For Mental Health, which has been advocating for mental health issues to be treated with the same urgency and seriousness as physical health for over 70 years.
These days we hear a lot about the importance of mental health and activities you can do to improve your wellbeing - but it’s essential to realise that this change in attitudes has been decades in the making from initiatives like the World Federation for Mental Health, and there is still a long way to go to ensure that mental health challenges are recognised, treated and prioritised the way that they need to be.
Dan Wilsher is a mental health and wellbeing speaker with Damaged Goods, who visited Amoria Bond to share his story and deliver his own insights on recognising and overcoming mental health challenges in a sales environment. One of the key things he highlighted was the difference between identifying mental and physical health issues:
“What do you do when you break an arm? You go to A&E immediately and get it fixed.
“When a mental health issue arises, the AVERAGE time between the first instance and seeking treatment is 12 years.”
The work being done to raise awareness is still very far from complete. That’s why the Mental Health Day campaign to make these challenges a global priority is such an important one to recognise, share and be part of.
In the words of the Mental Health Foundation:
“Mental health problems exist in our lives, families, workplaces and communities, impacting everyone. We must do as much as possible to prevent mental ill-health – as individuals and as a society. We will continue to call on national and local governments to prioritise reducing the factors known to pose a risk to people’s mental health, enhancing those known to protect it and creating the conditions needed for people to thrive.
“World Mental Health Day is also a chance to talk about mental health in general, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to talk about things and get help if you are struggling.”
Mental Health In The WorkplaceAs a company that specialises in recruitment and staffing that also emphasises creating an inclusive, supportive culture for our own employees, our focus is naturally going to be within the workplace.
But as we addressed above, this is an environment where many of us spend a significant part of our day, where we can be faced with more regular pressures, challenges and conditions that threaten to impact our mental health.
So when we talk about prioritising mental health and wellbeing, the workplace is one of the most important places to start.
How can businesses support mental health and wellbeing?Openness is key. Having an environment where people are able to discuss any difficulties they face can be one of the most beneficial things for maintaining the wellbeing and mental health of your employees.
This can be through providing mental health training to managers, giving them the tools to communicate in a positive way with their team by encouraging regular check-ins, modelling healthy behaviours and recognising any signs of difficulty in others. Or through offering support from either internal or external specialists who an employee might be more comfortable reaching out to than their line manager.
And building mental health support initiatives into your company policies - including training opportunities, wellbeing support, and increased flexibility can go a long way towards building a culture where people feel more supported, more relaxed and more confident that they can raise a mental health issue when it first arises, rather than attempting to hide it.
At Amoria Bond, we’ve actioned several initiatives ourselves to help with our supportive, inclusive culture and provide wellbeing help for our employees.
We introduced Mental Health First Aiders in our offices - we’re currently training more with the intention of having at least one mental health first aid point of contact in each of our global offices. We work to make sure those people are visible - highlighting their training and encouraging people to reach out to them when they need to.
Beyond just providing a resource for people to reach out to, we also seek to open the conversations around mental health in the workplace, educating people about the challenges that they can face and building an atmosphere of openness that can encourage people to feel more comfortable talking about things that are bothering them.
These have taken many forms: group lean-in sessions held by our own specialists that encourage conversation among our employees, videos from our mental health first aiders providing tips and advice that employees can watch whenever they need, and guest speakers like Dan Wilsher who have come into the office and shared personal, informative insights for everyone.
And we hold group activities that can support this - our office in Singapore, for example, recently introduced “Wellness Wednesday”, where they take some time to get outdoors as a group and benefit from a bit of fresh air, exercise and conversation in the middle of the week.
Those are just a few of the initiatives we’ve launched so far to create a culture of openness and support our employees’ mental health. Flexible work policies, work-from-home initiatives and wellness days for some of our staff also contribute to improving or maintaining mental health and wellbeing across our business, and we fully intend to continue introducing new initiatives that will make mental health a priority in our workplace.
How do you know if you’re creating a supportive business for mental health?The final important tool that a business needs to consider when prioritising mental health at work is accountability.
It can be easy to introduce mental health training or put some links to resources on your company intranet and consider that you’ve done your bit for creating a supportive environment. But how can you tell if anyone is engaging with the training, using your resources, reaching out to your first aiders, and participating in the conversations? How can you tell that what you’re doing is effective at all?
Again, the answer comes down to openness. A culture of openness includes encouraging employees to be completely honest with their managers and business leaders about the support they’ve provided, whether or not it’s been helpful and what else they could do more. 360 feedback is hugely important to making people feel comfortable that they have a say in the way they operate at work and can take steps to manage their own wellbeing.
And anonymous surveys can help get the answers that people still may not be willing to say to their managers. Surveys that don’t just ask about their feelings towards the company or the work they do, but about how they feel when they’re at work. Are they supported? Do they think the business does enough to encourage wellbeing? Do the policies the business has in place reflect a culture that prioritises mental health? Are there more initiatives they would like to see?
At Amoria Bond we launch a regular engagement multiplier that anonymously surveys each of our employees on a number of different factors, including wellbeing, and provides us with a score. We use that score to see how we can improve over time or address any areas where we fall down.
We don’t always get things right, but we hold ourselves accountable to our employees and make changes that can help prioritise mental health and create a better workplace culture where people feel supported.
We spend a lot of our time in the workplace, dealing with challenges, pressure, successes and failures. It’s important we do our best to make that an environment that helps people manage all that.
Learn more about the initiatives we have in place #InsideAmoria to promote an inclusive, supportive culture. Visit our Diversity & Inclusion page for all the details.
Want to work for a company that priortises wellbeing, diversity, inclusion and creating a great working environment? Apply to our latest jobs #InsideAmoria.