In recent years, mental health and wellbeing have started to get the attention that they need. The stress and isolation felt during the pandemic has only accelerated the discussion, particularly related to the workplace as the lines between work and homelife have been truly blurred.
In fact, an informal internal survey at Perrett Laver earlier this year showed that – perhaps unsurprisingly - mental health was the top priority for our colleagues around the globe.
We spend most of our waking hours at work, and if you don’t set a good example by prioritising mental health during work hours, it can very easily bleed into your personal life. So, as we mark World Mental Health Day this year, what are some of the practical steps that we can take to support better mental health and wellbeing in the workplace?
Let employees know you are here to help
An important first step is letting employees know that there is support available, and who to contact if they ever need help.
Having an open and honest dialogue around the issue of wellbeing will create a culture where it is ok to admit you are struggling or need support. Mental health and wellbeing should no longer be a taboo topic, and to do this, it is critical that organisations listen to employees concerns and requests and show that they care.
Have the right tools in place
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of leaders to implement access to tools and technologies to support employees across the business. It is critical that tangible resources are in place – whether that be counselling sessions, subscriptions to mindfulness apps, partnerships with charities such as Mind and online guidance materials
Be honest about potential crunch points
No matter your position, inevitability we all face stress at work. It is important the employers are upfront about potential crunch points and recognise periods of stress for employees. Whether it’s a pivotal point for an important project, or leading up to a launch or deadline, having these open conversations may help mitigate stress, or at least allow employees to feel confident to voice any concerns.
At Perrett Laver we are also committed to supporting the wellbeing of our clients and candidates. We use our expertise to try and avoid stressors during the search process wherever we can. We advise on ideal timelines for searches, provide interview tips, have frank conversations about negotiations and relocations, and most importantly always maintain open and honest communication with our clients.
Lead by example
Whilst its essential to have the resources in place, it is crucial that these resources are being utilised. Having leaders from across your organisation, and not only in Human Resources, championing their use can go a long way in supporting employees to use them.
Mental health should not be a tick box exercise. It requires open and ongoing conversations about what works best in your organisation and an individual approach to the people that work there. Leaders should be aware of this need, and lead by example, no matter what sector you work in.
Ultimately, life affects your work and work affects your life. There is no separating the two, and so it is critical that organisations take the appropriate steps to safeguard their employees and have the resources in place to support them with their wellbeing. By doing so, they will create greater, more open, and more productive workplaces, fit for the future.
Trinity Willett, Senior Project Manager and co-chair of Perrett Laver’s Corporate Responsibility team