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8 compelling reasons to support mental wellbeing in the workplace
Do you want to improve your team’s quality of life, while boosting innovation and creativity? Supporting mental wellbeing at work can do just that.
Employee mental wellbeing is an area that more and more businesses are focusing on. It’s great to see this people-first attitude spread, but many companies still lack systems and tools to enable them to adequately support their teams. Still, other businesses may be unsure whether this kind of support would significantly benefit their employees and in turn, the business as a whole.
At QCS, I am one of nine team people who have taken part in a two-day course with Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) to become a Mental health First Aider so here are eight reasons that are well worth considering:
1. Work-related stress can affect your team’s quality of life
We know that stress is not uncommon in the workplace or in our day-to-day lives. Most of us have competing claims on our time and attention that cause some level of stress, but with enough time, resources, and support, we tend to be able to manage it.
However, when we’re spread too thin and don’t have that support, we can start to feel like we can’t cope. This kind of stress can have all sorts of adverse effects, and it can have a real impact on your team’s quality of life.
This stress can spill over into your team member’s family and community life, and it may have a negative effect on their work. Looking just at absenteeism, 17.9 million workdays were lost in 2020 in the UK to work-related stress, anxiety, and depression.
2. Without support, employees are at risk
Emotions are contagious. This means that stress can spread through your office or virtual working structure, causing people to be less happy, engaged, and productive.
A stressful environment can also make your employees more vulnerable to developing further issues, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as the physical illnesses that stress can cause.
1 in 4 adults in the UK experience mental health problems. These stats alone show why mental wellbeing should be a focus for every business out there.
3. Providing support shows your employees that their wellbeing matters
Having a system in place to support your team’s wellbeing shows your team that you care. Your workers shouldn’t see your provision as a box-ticking exercise, or just another way to increase productivity, it must be sincere.
Offering your team genuinely useful tools and a safe space to manage their stress will help them see what you’re doing as authentic. Showing you value and care about them will help them be authentic too, which has its own benefits for wellbeing and for business. When people are authentic, they tend to be open and honest, which benefits workplace relationships and communication throughout the whole organisation.
4. You can create a genuinely great place to work
Creating a great place to work doesn’t just mean free Friday lunches or Easter egg deliveries while we work from home.
Perks like these are welcome, and they do contribute to happiness at work, but to make sure employees feel valued and cared for, their mental wellbeing needs to be looked after too.
5. Mental wellbeing boosts employee engagement
Switched on, happy and enthusiastic workers are great for your business. In fact, teams like this are 21% more profitable, according to Forbes. The bad news is that worldwide, only 15% of teams are engaged in this way. Have you sense checked your team’s engagement levels?
Stress negatively affects engagement as well as turnover, so reducing stress is a very good thing for your team and your business.
6. You can attract and retain the best talent
If you have a fantastic, supportive business filled with people who love the work they do and the team they work with, you have a better chance of attracting the best talent around.
Company culture is increasingly important to prospective employees, and with an increasing number of businesses competing to be the best places to work, a company culture that supports employees’ mental wellbeing is now an essential part of attracting, as well as retaining the best talent.
7. It encourages creativity and innovation
Creativity and innovation are valuable traits, but both can be damaged by stress. These traits require headspace, but if an employee is buried beneath a seemingly insurmountable to-do list, they’ll probably lack the mental bandwidth required to do their best work.
Supporting the wellbeing of workers and helping them to reduce stress can boost creativity and innovation, which has the added benefit of increasing intrinsic motivation.
8. We could all benefit from more resilience right now.
2020 certainly tested our resilience and highlighted its importance.
Hopefully, life will become a little more predictable as we move further into 2021. But we will always come up against stress, whether from global events, incidents in our personal lives or those at work, such as organisational change.
Supporting your team by giving them practical tools to handle stress helps them build resilience, and that has to be a good thing, now and moving forward.
If you haven’t yet found out about Mental health First Aiders and how they can support you and your workplace, take a look here.
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