Looking back at the last 18months, employers can safely assume that the majority of their workforce has either struggled with their mental health, is struggling now, or will struggle at some point in the future. Although they may not always be able to solve each individual problem, there are many ways they can provide support, and the workplace plays a fundamental role in achieving this.
What is Blue Monday?
Between the end of the festive period, continued uncertainty, lack of immunity, the gloomy weather and increased financial concerns, the start of a new year can be challenging for many.
Today, the third Monday in January has been coined as the most depressing day of the year, also known as “Blue Monday”.
Of course, mental health struggles are not restrained to just one day a year. In fact, according to mental health charity, Mind, 1 in 4 of us feel every day is a fight.
Looking after your mental health goes way beyond ‘January Blues’. However, today presents us with a crucial reminder and opportunity to check in with ourselves and those around us. To help businesses start the year right, DeVono and Dthree Studio have shared key tips for making good mental health a priority within your workplace, by looking at both the physical space you occupy, as well as the processes your company has in place
Promote the ‘PeoplePlace’
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the perception and purpose of the office to a more flexible approach which will likely see a blend of in-person and remote working become the way forward for many organisations. Our Office23 solution seeks to make an impact on your business and its long-term goals by creating a humancentric space for the future, following the core principle; people first, business aligned. Whether that means fully back to the office or a hybrid solution, redefining what the office means to your business and your employees is a must for ensuring your workplace not only supports, but prioritises the individual and collective needs of your workforce.
Businesses must show their employees that they are valued and cared for - and their environment is essential for reinforcing this. People-centric design is about establishing and showcasing a true understanding of your employee's needs, which goes way beyond aesthetics and how a space looks to focusing on how it functions. Even the smallest details influence how people react, respond, think, and feel in a space. Employee productivity, engagement and happiness all begins with positive wellbeing.
Therefore, paying attention to those smaller design and technical details (which are often overlooked) will significantly impact your workforce. For example, plants, plenty of natural light, organic colours, textures, and improved air quality, have all been proven to contribute towards positive mental health. Our in-house design & build team, Dthree Studio, can work closely with businesses to create authentic, people-focused spaces that not only support your employee’s needs but also reflect your company’s DNA.
Pre lockdown was easily achieved, with spontaneous catch-ups over a cuppa in the kitchen, lunch trips out of the office and after work drinks. Staying connected today is not as straightforward, with many working away from the office, either full or part-time. Touching base now takes a little bit more planning, thought, and effort but will still ensure your team feels connected to the business at all times. Keeping your workforce well informed will help them to feel valued. Open up new platforms of communication, taking into account the different preferences of each person, and remember, whatever communication approach you choose, ensure it provides clarity regularly.
Aside from company and team updates, this is also a great opportunity to break down the many stigmas surrounding mental health and open up more conversational avenues for employees to check in with one another, working as a regular reminder that support and help are available should they need it.
Listening to your employees is vital for ensuring they feel valued and heard. Feedback helps gauge the overall feelings in camp and gives management awareness of any challenges or issues that may be under the surface. It also helps to improve manager and team relationships increasing communication across the board by giving everyone a voice. You spoke, we heard!
Remember, everyone is different; some people may be open and honest about how they feel– others won’t. Treat everybody with the same compassion and take note of what you’re hearing, not just what they are saying. The pillars of our wellbeing programme address physical, mental and financial concerns, and these are always on our radar. Supporting your employees is key to running a successful business, but in today’s world, it’s not just important, it’s expected.
Encourage and Support Selfcare.
A good work-life balance alleviates stress and improves performance. Being passionate about work is great, but obsessive passion can lead to feeling overworked and burnt out. Businesses must encourage their employees to take regular breaks, book annual leave, set boundaries between home and work life and know when to switch off. Wellness programs are great for supporting this, such as organising employee breakfasts and lunches or regular social events to help keep company morale high, create bonds between employees, and provide opportunities for people to switch off and recharge.
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Links to help and advise:
For confidential mental health information services.
Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday) or text 86463
Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks for immediate help.
Confidential support for those looking for advice.
Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)