Welcome to Part One of our blog series Mental Health & Wellness. Over the course of the series, we’ll be looking into the effects of mental health in the workplace and how wellness programmes could be a solution.
According to Mind charity, one in every four people are battling a mental health issue and whilst there are many causes, work-stress can often be a trigger. Sometimes, it’s a case of aggravating a pre-existing issue, whilst for others, it can be the root of the problem. Either way – as an employer, you have a legal responsibility to support them.
Sometimes, half the battle is recognising that this is an issue in your office. Common signs can include increased absenteeism, poor concentration or low morale. There are a number of actions that you can put in place to help your employees in the workplace, one of which is #wellnesswednesdays. You may have heard of the concept before on social media platforms, but what started as a campaign to keep yourselves healthy and happy is now a global hashtag, encouraging people to put their health first.
#wellnesswednesdays became a great opportunity for employers to get onboard with tackling mental health issues, putting forward positive initiatives that emphasize the importance of giving employees time to focus on themselves when at work. We all know how important it is to have some ‘me time’, a chance to step away from stressful situations and regroup your thoughts – which is arguably more essential than ever when working in a pressured environment.
With this in mind, we ask the question: should #wellnesswednesdays be compulsory?
Research shows that providing your employees with a workplace wellness programme can positively impact your business in more ways than one. From a more productive working ethic, to reducing absenteeism, to improving your employees' mental health.
UnitedHealthcare’s 2018 survey investigated the effects of workplace wellness and found that:
- 89% of employees said that mindfulness has a positive impact on health and wellbeing
- 53% of employees with a wellness programme at work noticed an improvement in health
- 56% of employees with a wellness programme took fewer sick days
Change doesn’t have to be drastic. We suggest setting just one day a week aside where you directly encourage your employees to focus on their mental health – and Wellness Wednesday has a great ring to it. Here are just a few of our favourite #wellnesswednesday ideas to get you started:
Provide free healthy snacks to help boost energy and make employees feel cared for.
Start an exercise class, whether it be a running club, dance class, yoga or football league on lunch or after hours. It’s a great opportunity for your employees to get active and really bond with one another.
Bring in a massage therapist or beauty technician to offer massages and other treatments. A pamper session during the day will provide a morale boost and time to de-stress away from desks.
Introduce flexi-time to help with your employees’ schedules and address a better work-life balance. Those with children and other commitments outside of work will really benefit from being able to start and finish at an earlier or later time, helping reduce worries about childcare.
Host alternative meetings, whether you opt for walking meetings to help stretch the legs after sitting at a desk all day, offer outdoor meetings for a change of scenery or even go offsite to a local pub or cafe to help refresh and revitalise - you’ll see happier employees and more productive meetings.
Want to find out how much you actually know about mental health? Take our quiz.