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Have you ever spoken about your mental wellbeing in the workplace? Time to Talk day is an opportunity for those suffering with mental ill health to talk, listen and change lives.
One in four people are affected with mental health issues, so it is highly likely that people in your workplace may have experienced or be experiencing mental ill health. Having open discussions and talking about mental wellbeing in the workplace is a great opportunity to start helping the mental, social and physical wellbeing of your employees. Making time to talk will break the ice and make people feel less awkward about discussing their mental health.
Charlotte Wiseman, mental fitness and leadership expert tells us the difference between mental health and mental ill health, and how to improve and sustain wellbeing in the workplace.
“The world health organization talk about health as mental, physical and social wellbeing. Throughout our upbringing, education and the media we are taught about our health in the physical sense. What is so important to realise is that they are all connected; our physical health effects our mental and social health, our mental health effects our physical and social health, and our social health effects our physical and mental health.”
“We need to maintain an equilibrium of the these three things in order to keep in good health and wellbeing.”
Mental health is the level of psychological well-being or an absence of mental illness. It is the state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment.
Charlotte shines light on an important issue that “mental health has a bad image of being negative when actually, mental health can be positive, the issue is mental ILL health. Everyone has mental health every day, so the issue is that people associate this with the ill side of it, when that’s not the case!”.
Top Tips to Improve Mental Wellbeing in the workplace:
- OFFER SUPPORT: Offer tools and resources in how to improve your mental wellbeing and prevent mental ill health in the workplace.
- POINT OF CONTACT: Have a mental health ambassador as a point of contact if an employee feels that it’s time to talk about their mental wellbeing at work.
- BE FLEXIBLE: Promote flexibility in your workplace. Offering flexible hours and being understanding of your employee’s personal situations will ease the stress and improve their overall mental wellbeing in the workplace.
- TALK ABOUT IT: Speak about it openly in the office and remind employees about the importance of taking time off from work.
- THE LITTLE THINGS: If you know that another employee is struggling with mental ill health or wellbeing in the workplace then offer to help, make them a cup of tea or buy them their favorite chocolate bar. This will also improve your social wellbeing in the workplace.
Social health is commonly defined as your ability to form meaningful relationships with other people and interact in healthy, positive ways. The way you connect to the people around you, adapt to different social situations, and experience a sense of belonging all contribute to your social health. Examples of social health could include how well you get along with your colleagues at work, how you abide by the law of your society, and your interactions with the community.
Top Tips to improve Social Wellbeing in the workplace:
- ACTIVITY IN THE COMMUNITY: Organize a community activity. Get all your office involved in a charity sports day or fundraising together for a 5K run. Encourage but don’t compel staff to take part.
- VOLUNTEER DAY: Paid days off for your staff to do volunteering. Even just one ‘volunteering day’ could be a great way to get your employees out of the office and back into the community.
- GET OUTSIDE: Think outside the box – and the workplace! Have meetings outside, encourage employers to take a short break in the afternoon if you work long hours and host socials outside of the office. – Walking meetings will improve your physical health too!
- IT"S TIME TO TALK: Encourage your employees to make friends and talk to each other. Research has shown that employees who have friends at work are seven times more likely to feel engaged and achieve higher quality results. Moaning at your employees for having a quick chat in the kitchen could be counter-productive!
- CELEBRATE MILESTONES: Acknowledge your employee’s milestones. If it’s their year anniversary or their Birthday then bring the employers together or offer a little gift, or a day off from work.
Physical health is defined as the condition of your body, taking into consideration everything from the absence of disease to fitness level. Physical health is critical for overall well-being, and can be affected by: Lifestyle, diet, level of physical activity and behavior, for example smoking.
Top Tips to Improve Physical Wellbeing in the workplace:
- FREE FRUIT: Having fruit readily available in the office is a great way to promote an inclusive and healthy diet to your employees.
- SPORTS CLUB: Organize an exercise group at lunchtimes or after work. Morning yoga or lunchtime run clubs are a great way to encourage exercise and physical wellbeing at work.
- DITCH THE TUBE: Offer a reward scheme to those who take alternative transport to work such as walking, cycling or running.
- STAY HYDRATED: Have a drink tap or water machine in the office. Encourage employees to stay hydrated by giving them re-usable water bottles – these are also good for the environment!
- OUT OF OFFICE, OUT OF MIND: Enforce an ‘out of office, out of mind’ policy, so that people aren’t working late at home on their phones. Being on your phone, laptop or TV can inhibit the brain’s production of melatonin, which is the hormone that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep.
There are many ways which you can improve wellbeing in the workplace. Knowing how to be a good manager, encouraging team building activities in the office, and managing mental health in the workplace are great starting points. However, if your wellbeing is being affected by your current job, then you might want to think about whether you want to quit your job, and have a look at some new opportunities on our website.
If you’re ready to talk, you can find a full list of NHS approved charity helplines on their website and find out more information on Time To Talk day here.
You can also hear more advice from Charlotte Wiseman on her YouTube Channel.