There has been a lot of buzz this year around wellbeing. With recent reports in the UK of rising obesity and diabetes, more sedentary lifestyles, and increased levels of stress and mental ill-health, wellbeing is more important than ever. But what exactly could it mean for your business?
World Mental Health Day was on 10th October 2017. Physical and mental wellbeing are obviously crucial for employers wanting an engaged and productive workforce. However, some conditions, especially mental ill-health, can be nebulous and remain hidden either through lack of awareness or misperception, which does make them difficult to navigate.
It may be worth considering implementing a Wellbeing Policy so that you are prepared in the event that an employee develops mental ill-health or a long-term physical condition. The policy should be stigma-free and have a balanced approach towards both mental and physical wellbeing.
If you decide to create such a policy, it should include preventive solutions (for example, posture improving chairs, risers for screens, a culture of taking lunch breaks) and plans for responsive support (such as access to Employee Assistance Programmes or Occupational Health) if necessary.
What steps can we take?
Even if you do not have a Wellbeing Policy, your business can still support its staff’s wellbeing through taking preventive measures and encouraging an open culture, so that employees are more likely to disclose health problems. The business can then address these and help support employees as much as possible.
If an employee confides to you that they are feeling stressed or low, remember to avoid judgement and stigma. It may be they are embarrassed as there is still a great deal of stigma attached to mental health.
Ask them what is causing these feelings? Is it a work problem that can be addressed, or can something reasonably be done to improve their situation?
Top tips for wellbeing
Here are 5 tips to suggest for employees who are feeling stressed or low:
- Connect with friends, family, colleagues, interest groups or your community. Building or strengthening positive relationships can help us to feel a greater sense of belonging and challenge feelings of loneliness.
- Get active – any exercise is a fantastic mood enhancer thanks to powerful endorphins released.
- Mindfulness – take time to yourself and by moving your attention to another area, the negative cycle of thoughts can be broken. Tools for mindfulness include soothing music, deep breathing, hobbies, sleep, meditation and yoga. Even going for a walk or gardening can help your brain switch to a more positive track.
- Learn a new skill or take up a new interest. As well as refocusing your concentration, this can also increase your self-confidence.
- Give – volunteering or helping a friend or neighbour can boost your sense of self-worth.
Business Garage can support your business in looking after its staff through professional, practical HR expertise. And that is just a part of what we do! Call us now on 01235 433099 to find out how we can help you.