Mental health in the workplace has found its voice.
For a long time it was something which was a taboo subject that workplaces shielded away from discussing. According to Gov.uk, in the UK, 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (14.7 per cent). This has a huge impact on individuals, workplace wellness and the economy. WIFM special interest group ‘Challenged the Mindset’ at their Annual conference, bringing together a wealth of knowledge, experiences and stories from a diverse group of people.
The broad picture of mental health in the workplace
“Mental Health should not be looked at in isolation, there are many issues which mesh together.” ~ Louise Aston, Wellbeing Director, Business in the Community
Better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year. Living and working with mental health issues can be challenging, evidence suggesting that 12.7 per cent of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions. There are many charities which offer support and help to workplaces and employees, some of which include Mind and Time To Change.
“Everyone has suffered burnout at work, but I don’t think that is acceptable.” ~ Asa Bjornberg, London Business School
Overcoming the stigma of mental health
Overcoming stigma of mental health is the initial challenge which workplaces need to overcome. A recent survey showed that 69 per cent of individuals believe there is a stigma around mental health, and 54 per cent fear that colleagues would judge them for having mental ill health. Time to Change have put in place an action plan to tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace. These are based on seven key principles:
- Demonstrate senior level buy-in
- Demonstrate accountability and recruit Employee Champions
- Raise Awareness about mental health
- Update and implement policies to address mental health problems in the workplace
- Ask staff to share personal experiences of mental health problems
- Equip line manager to have conversations about mental health
- Provide information about mental health and support services
“Let’s end mental health discrimination.” ~ Karen Shaw, Programme manager, Time to Change
The impact of cyber bullying in the workplace
This was a very tough subject, and something at one time or another we can all relate too at some level. Whether it is an email from a colleague, comments from a ‘friend’ on Facebook or a full-on campaign of cyber hate. Cyber bullying effects young people, research from the iSafe Foundation reports more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats. But it’s not always young people, 75 per cent of workers are affected by bullying.
“If you see online bullying, then stop, speak, support.” ~ Lucy Jeynes, Managing Director, Larch Consulting
Lucy Jeynes, Managing Director, Larch Consulting and co-founder of Women In FM in 2004 bravely talked about the trials of coping with Cyberbullying and how this affected her personally and professionally. Lucy discussed The Stop, Speak and Support campaign and candidly said she wished she had followed the steps sooner.
“Adult cyber bullying in the workplace can be more subtle, but is equally distressing. The outcomes are often the same – to humiliate, undermine and distress the person being targeted”, says Dan Raisbeck, co-founder of anti-cyberbullying charity The Cybersmile Foundation.
How design and technology impact the workforce
Sunita Pachova, UK Business Development Manager here at Condeco, shared her insights on how design and technology are driving changes within the workplace. The world of work is changing and workplace agility is more important than ever.
Is microchipping the future of the workplace?
With echoes from a futuristic Hollywood blockbuster, does the idea of Microchipping your workforce sound far-fetched? It is in fact becoming a reality within several businesses. Viewed as an alternative to lanyards and security ID passes, companies in Belgium, Sweden and the Czech Republic have offered this alternative to their workforce. Although this option has only initially received a small uptake, less than 10 per cent of the workforce agreeing to participate. Sunita asked the audience, would you be willing to be microchipped by your employer?
“We need to embrace technology and not be afraid of new technology coming into the market, it’s here to help and aid us.” ~ Sunita Pachova, UK Business Development Manager, Condeco
The generation gap in the workplace
We've heard all these phrases being branded about, but what exactly does it mean and how does it actually affect us in the Workplace? Does the generation gap have a negative affect or as businesses should we embrace the wealth of knowledge across the generations? There are many discussions for and against making allowances for different generations, but one thing is clear, each generation has cut a path for the next to reach the heights of innovation and technology advances we have today. But Sunita was proudly able to say, that here at Condeco, we have all five generations working and collaborating effectively alongside each other.
Getting your work / life balance right
Everyone has their own version of work/life balance, some of us don’t quite get this right, I can be guilty of this at times. Nicola Lovett, CEO, Engie shared her best practices for being able to manage the workload and family life.
- Creating clear guidelines within your diary, with clear stop guards and appointments/dates which cannot be removed.
- Trust in your team, if you end up doing their job and your job you’ll soon experience burn out.
- Creating an environment where your team feel they can speak up and ask for meeting meetings to be rescheduled
- Take time out for yourself, as humans we can only work so many hours in a day to maximum productivity
- Taking time out for yourself, whether that is a run in the morning or a walk at lunch time
- Not replying to emails at the weekend. Answering an email can then create more people working unnecessarily.
“Balance is not better time management but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” ~ Betsy Jacobson
Everyone in the workplace has a journey or a story, and being able to support each other and create a genuine sense of workplace wellness and caring for each other helps to make everyone's day just that little bit easier.
And don't forget... a friendly hello and a smile goes along way.
*This article was compiled by Claire Roper, UK Digital Marketing Manager at Condeco