Every year on 10th October, World Mental Health Day aims to shine a light on the ways in which people can look after their own mental health and wellbeing, be more aware of others’ and help them with theirs, and how we can all help reduce the stigma around addressing the prevalence of poor mental health.
Mental health in the workplace
For workplaces, the mental health and wellbeing of employees has never been more front of mind. Or so it seems. As many employees still feel unsupported in many respects, and will their employer to do more. In this blog post we will talk about some best practices that we carry out at Culture Shift that help support our team members deal with or open up about mental health. We also talk about how others can implement similar things. You can also watch the video version below.
1. Offer Wellbeing Days
At Culture Shift we offer everyone the chance to take up to five Wellbeing Days during the year. This can be when we don’t feel ourselves and want to prioritise our mental health and wellbeing. These can be taken with no questions asked, although colleagues in the past have openly said when and why they are taking them as a way to encourage open and honest chats with the rest of the team. These have ranged from the anniversary of the death of a loved to simply feeling stressed out, or from menstrual conditions to recovering from an illness. This can also help end the stigma surrounding staying silent on mental health problems.
2. Have chill and chat sessions
We have had a number of in-office get togethers over the years that have centred around mental health awareness days, including Time To Talk Day and National Day of Reflection. They were optional to attend and there was no pressure for anyone to talk about mental health, or anything at all. They were nice to allow those who wanted and were able to attend a chance to take a collective break from work. We also have optional lunchtime walks to in the surrounding area of our office for people to stretch their legs and move away from their screens for a short while.
3. Surprise and delight your colleagues
To spread a little happiness and positivity across the team, we have put together small packages for team members in the past and continue to do so. The first was a goody bag of treats to help brighten up people’s day and that can help with mental wellbeing, including hot chocolate sachets, a bath bomb, tealights, tissues and examples of an inspirational song about mental wellbeing. We also give out work anniversary cards and presents to celebrate and recognise the length of service and achievements of our colleagues. Other fun things have included treasure hunts and people bringing in food they’ve made from home to share with everyone.
4. Use a perk and benefit-filled EAP
Nearly all our employees can use YuLife, the game-changing app where they can gain access to a GP by phone or video, get mental health support through counselling, legal and financial support and advice, and career and life coaching. Many of our team members use it to measure their steps, take part in the fitness challenges via Fiit or meditate using Calm, which in turn earns them YuCoins to exchange for rewards such as gift vouchers for a variety of different retailers and discounts. It has been a great perk and success!
5. Live by your values
Everyone at Culture Shift has spoken of their love of working here (92% agree we are a Great Place To Work) and are strong advocates for the inclusion and sense of belonging we have. This means everyone knows they can turn to their line manager, our CEO Gemma McCall or anyone else in the team if they want to have a talk about anything, from mental health to any other issues they are experiencing in and out of work; we strive to live by one of our core values of Unending Support. We don’t want any of our team members to feel alone, whatever they are going through, and we make sure we are all supportive of everyone.
Gemma also proudly leads by example, sometimes talking about mental health on LinkedIn and championing support for employees, which is a core value of Culture Shift and one she intends to live by. This has inspired other team members to talk openly about mental wellbeing both in person and online.
With a hybrid working model, Culture Shift prides itself on giving all team members the freedom and option to work remotely and from home if and when they choose, as well as work flexible hours to suit their home and personal lives. We strongly encourage everyone to take regular breaks when they need to and line managers will regularly check in with their teams via Slack when not together.
Addressing mental health in the workplace
Although 71% of people say their employers increased their focus on mental health due to Covid, only 25% said this was maintained in the previous year.
According to mental health charity Mind, at least 1 in 6 workers experience mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Research shows that work is the biggest cause of stress in our lives. This means it is absolutely essential for organisations to help support their employees’ wellbeing and encourage them to prioritise their mental health. Mental Health Awareness Week can hopefully be a catalyst for this change and growth, but employers should make sure this is ongoing and not just use awareness days to pay lip service to the causes.
As mentioned, our study also sadly shows that people’s mental health can often be a result of problematic behaviour at work. And the worryingly high statistics we quoted at the beginning of this article are testament to the various reasons why so many people don’t turn to anyone else for help or to report it.
This is why our anonymous reporting system can be a vital platform for people to use. Report + Support can allow employees to find out more about what they think is happening to them or simply let someone know there is a problem while still remaining anonymous and not raising a formal complaint. They do not necessarily need to want further action to be taken. Support articles can be on a wide range of topics depending on what you want on there, including ones on where to get mental health support from both within and outside of the company. You can even add the option for people to use it to report the wellbeing concerns of their colleagues.
Find out more by chatting to one of our team below!