Breaking the silence on Mental Health in the workplace

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Hello… How are you? It’s a question many people ask, but don’t always stick around to listen to the answer. So we thought we’d investigate just how people are feeling across the UK at the moment.

Mental health awareness has exploded over the last five years, but gone are the days when this was simply a buzz word or a tick in the box. With a surge in anxiety caused as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak, managing and supporting mental health in the workplace has never been more crucial.

For many people across the UK, working patterns changed quite literally overnight when the government announced a nationwide lockdown. The sudden rise in remote work, self-isolation and health-related anxiety has since created a sense of unease for thousands across the country and exacerbated existing mental health issues for many more.

As one of the leading causes of absenteeism, mental health is already a big focus in the workplace.

A 2020 survey recently revealed that 828,000 workers in the UK struggle with work-related stress, anxiety or depression. Furthermore, from 2019 to 2020, 17.9 million working days were lost due to these work-related mental health issues. 

As we try to come to terms and figure out what our ‘new normal’ looks like, now is an ideal time for businesses to place a sharper focus on addressing employee mental health.

So how do you do it?

When tackling mental health in the workplace, there are many approaches and avenues you can take. That’s because the nature of your industry and working environment will play a huge part on which strategies are considered most effective. Every employee is adapting to life within the pandemic in a different way so it’s important to remember that what works for one individual, may not work for another. 

Here we summarise 4 of our best strategies to better equip your business for tackling mental health awareness in the workplace and reducing absenteeism:

  1. Break the Silence 

Despite the increased awareness of mental health, there is still a lot of stigma that comes with it, making employees far more likely to suffer in silence than share information with their managers or bosses. Where possible encourage your leaders and management teams to talk more openly about mental health to their juniors, inspiring a culture of openness and honesty. 

  • Lead By Example
    It’s all about the Top Down! With many employees working remotely, managers need to be more conscious of the challenges different households face. Set a good example for work-life balance by encouraging flexibility, self-care and regular check-ins is key to reducing presenteeism and stress, and ensuring employees facing any issues can be identified and supported. 
  • Keep Connected

Remote working has its perks, but a lot of people are feeling isolated as they miss out on the usual office banter and face-to-face meetings. Social connection is vital to our wellbeing so by coming up with regular opportunities for your teams to engage and interact, the more included your team will feel. Social activities don’t have to be boring, in a post COVID world, we’ve been forced to get creative! From morning Zoom catch-ups to remote Friday drinks, yoga sessions or even company training sessions, socialising opportunities are endless. 

  • Upskill & Train

Research shows that learning new skills improves your mental wellbeing by boosting your self-confidence and helping you to build your sense of purpose. From CPD refreshers to completely new courses, we’ve got what it takes to nurture your staff through training and development, enabling them to grow as a team as much as an individual. At Geon, we’re here to reignite the fire in your workforce’s bellies, inspiring them to want to climb the career ladder again through meaningful and worthwhile education incentives. 

Many of our opportunities are fully funded, so there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be dialling our number right now. 

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our lives forever and, as we navigate through this strange time, it’s important that we look for the silver lining. Mental Health isn’t something to be ashamed of, it’s something to embrace and something which can be controlled with the right support. 

We’re here to normalise open conversations around Mental Health and help businesses of all shapes and sizes create cultures of inclusivity and respect. Our Mental Health Awareness course offers techniques to not only help you, but your colleagues and employees alike to live a happy, successful and meaningful life.

Why not give it a go?

Check out our 10-Day Program Aimed at Adults from all Walks of Life who are Experiencing Difficulties with Mental Health.

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