Workplace wellbeing. Mental Health. Are these subject we feel we can talk openly about?
As we experience the ongoing shift of responsibility for monitoring and managing mental health from employee to employer, we ask the question, are employers doing enough to look after the mental wellbeing of their workers?
According to the mental wellbeing charity, time to change, almost one in three people have experienced mental health issues whilst in employment, with the cost of said mental ill-health reportedly costing each employer around £1035 per employee, per year.
It’s no secret that a career in Project Management is a stressful one. Whilst the role may indeed be satisfying (think about wrapping up, successfully, a large project you’ve been working on), there is also no denying that the job of Project Manager is also fraught with unforeseen stressors – often magnified by the amount of capital involved, or sheer size of the project, with some Project Managers quite literally feeling the weight of the world (civic centre designers, public transport contractors) crushing down on them.
Thanks to the work of a few notable figures and institutions (time to change, Prince Harry ect), there is a great emphasis on the importance of building a company culture that promotes improved mental health and wellbeing – with the reverse often and unfortunately being consequent of corporations becoming increasingly figure driven.
With this in mind, we’ve put together five simple ways for employers to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace.
1. Encourage your staff to form connections.
It is widely know that feeling valued and cared for, by other people, is a necessary requirement for being a happy human being. Most people cannot happily exist in isolation, and the benefits associated with friendship and close relationships are widely documented. Start by working in some staff networking time on a weekly basis to help facilitate the formation of colleague bonds. Not only will this result in happier staff, but it will also increase creativity as your teams begin to communicate more.
2. Stay active
The mental health benefits associated with exercise are vast. Encourage staff to get out and about on their lunch break for a bit of exercise and some fresh air – especially on days such as today (26º today in London!) Consider organising monthly sports activities. Allow your staff to form teams for a bit of good natured rivalry.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Being present in the moment. It’s something thats surprisingly hard to do – especially with high stress financial targets being in place causing staff to continually look to the next sale. Take a few moments to consider your situation. Your surroundings. Take a deep breath and appreciate those things that make you happy. There’s no need to commandeer the CEO’s office for a daily yoga session, but actively encouraging staff to be present in the present, more often, could well reduce stress levels across the board.
4. Encourage Learning
You should never stop learning or developing your skills – and neither should your staff. Not only is it great for their own self-esteem, but many will be able to transfer and make use of their newly acquired skills within the organisation. Where possible, make it financially viable for your staff to engage in further training and learning.
5. Be proactive within the community.
Being a successful business leader offers tremendous opportunities to do good for a cause that matters to you. Having your employees be able to take part in projects that actively make a difference will greatly enhance and enrich their relations with work. If your company operates in a field that doesn’t usually get to ‘make a difference,’ it may be worthwhile looking into a few initiatives to achieve this. Outreach projects do not require large investment as many useful activities can be carried out for free.
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