At any given moment in time, 1 in 5 people are having suicidal thoughts. Mental health difficulties were a pandemic well before COVID made the issue a thousand times worse. At work, employees are taking days off – faking illnesses and making excuses – in order to maintain their wellbeing.
Total loss of productivity, an increase in presenteeism and heightened levels of stress, all damage your business which leads to collective losses that add up to thousands of pounds. Worst of all, all this can be prevented by taking a few simple steps (most of which employers simply don’t do!).
1) Performing Workload Audits
Late last year, CIPD reported that 60% of employees said that their workload was their biggest cause of stress. It’s time to take an evaluation of what work you’re giving employees. Start by seeing who’s having to juggle their work with child or elderly care, who has to sacrifice more of their free time and who has the most demands to meet.
Rearrange, delegate and prioritise key deliverables. So many employees get by managing their own workload but over time the understanding of what should be done and must be done are becoming grey areas. Give flexible hours, revise deadlines, remove unreasonable expectations and watch your team thrive.
2) Personally engage with employees
When was the last time you sat down with your individual employees to ask them how they are, and what they want? Don’t bother trying to guess what your employees need when you can just ask them!
There are so many ways to figure out the correct way of supporting your employees, such as 1-2-1 meetings, carrying out a company-wide survey and asking them what benefits and changes people want to see. There’s a chance that you won’t get it right on your first try, so keep making more opportunities and keep making improvements over time.
3) Encourage Healthy Practices
This doesn’t just mean providing gym subsidies or healthy eating, we mean workplace habits.
Encourage your team to take breaks! 5 minutes away from the desk to get some fresh air isn’t a bad thing. Being flexible does not equate to being a pushover, it’s time to embrace a culture that understands an individuals time is precious and respects their diaries.
On top of that, it’s time to embrace a new style of work culture, one that’s okay with talking about anything and everything that’s on our minds. Opening up and honestly talking about what’s going on in our lives needs to start being commonplace and stop being taboo in the workplace.
So what now?
You don’t build your business. You help build the people who build it for you. Right now those people need a helping hand and you may not even know the extent to which they need it. Small Business Owners, Line Managers and Supervisors all have the power to be the difference they wish they had when they were in the employee’s shoes.
We do understand that some mental health issues are specific to each business and circumstance and where possible it is best to seek advise from a professional.
For free support, book a direct line with an HR specialist for the kind of advice you need. Click the button below to book a call at a time convenient to you.