How we can do more for our employees

With the rise in mental health awareness, we are evolving into a society that strives towards strong mental health. People are becoming more aware of the warning signs of poor mental health and where to go to seek help.

Recently, the NHS revealed that more than five million people are signed off work every year due to mental health issues. Similarly, a report from the UK's Parliament found that one in every seven workers has a symptom of a mental health condition and that an estimated 300,000 people lose their jobs due to mental health issues every year. If that doesn’t scare you, mental health illnesses cost employers £34.9 billion each year, and many companies will lose their best talent to mental health relates illnesses.

People are actively seeking employers who are known for taking care of their teams; we are speaking to more candidates that ask about company culture and with employer review sites like Glassdoor, job seekers can get a strong impression of an employer before even meeting.

It is imperative for organisations to look after their employees to guarantee the success and growth of their business. An average employee will spend a third of their week in the office, and in some cases much more. That’s a significant portion of their life, and so it's vital that working environments are set up to support the physical and mental health of their staff.


The solution

Making your employees feel valued and improve well-being in the office doesn’t happen overnight. However, there are some easy steps you can take to offering your employees a better place to work.  We’ve found the top five to help you.

1) Training-  many people come to us asking to find them a job where they have frequent access to training. By offering continuing opportunities for your employees to develop their skills you can improve the workforce.

Not offering continuous training can lead to employees feeling inadequate, underachieving, and unhappy. They aren’t satisfied with their work, which will cause them to underperform, make mistakes, and not care about their work product.

Fear not, there are some excellent training course out there:

Team building - a fun way to get your employees out of the office and build their relationships with each other. Team bonding activities also improve projects that involve teamwork. After completing team building activities together, employees better understand each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This understanding helps them work even better together on future progress vital to a company.

Management courses- it’s often that people are promoted to manager level without training on how to manage a team and communicate effectively. Delivering management training and introducing performance management systems that allow people to receive and integrate feedback will ensure that people feel valued and fairly treated.

Mental health first aid- a course on how to spot signs of mental health and how to support someone who is struggling at work. This course will give your business a safe place for employees to be comfortable.

2) Buddy systems- One of the most significant causes of mental health is that employees feel like they don’t belong. A new starter’s onboarding experience will often set the standard for how included they will feel moving forward.

Starting a new job can be nerve-racking! As you take the first step through the front door of a new office, see all the fresh new faces saying hello and nervously wonder who to ask about the printer or where the tea bags are.

Well, with the buddy system, newbies have ready-made work friends. Simply seeing a friendly face and feeling welcome in a new job can make staff feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Buddies help recruits meet everyone, understand the workplace culture and how to do the basics. After all, it’s the little things that help us feel at home.

3) Work-life balance- Are your employees dragging their knuckles coming into work on a morning?

Employees who are overworked can start to feel stressed and tired. By developing better working hours and giving employees more time to rest can improve overall well-being and productivity. 

In Finland and Sweden, companies reduced working days from 8 hours to 6 hours and found their employees were more efficient and there was a decrease in conflict at work.

4) Office freebies- Adding a couple of extra perks around the office can make a difference. Ordering a couple of boxes of free fruit or bottles of pop into the office can be a good way to improve the atmosphere. This solution is cheap and guaranteed to put a smile on your employees’ faces.

Another great freebie, especially for the summer, is ice cream. We know working when it’s sunny can be frustrating for some employees. So, bringing in some ice cream or asking an ice cream truck to visit the workplace and give out free ice cream can cool your staff down and give them a well-deserved break.

Other office perk ideas- free massages, car valeting, and free tickets for family days out. By offering these perks, employees feel more valued and overall can improve their mental health.


5) Get fit- Having a healthy lifestyle will improve mental health and wellbeing for your employees but we know how expensive exercise can be. To help your employees out, you can offer them a discounted gym membership or better yet an onsite gym. But if that’s a little expensive, why not do a monthly run as a team at the local park?

Exercise can reduce mental health illness for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of positive changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that support feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, that energises the spirits and makes people feel good.

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as medication—but without the side-effects. Also, maintained exercise can prevent relapsing.


Why is it so important?

As an employer, you have a responsibility to your team to maintain high standards of mental health and wellbeing.

Besides the high cost of staff turnover, having a great company environment can attract better and more talent.

87% of UK workers said that they would preferably work somewhere that provides health and well-being support, and 82% believed that these programs improve employee well-being. Research has also shown that employees who feel valued and appreciated are far more efficient, effective, and productive instead of stressed, resentful.

So, I ask you again, are you doing enough for your employees? 

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