Mental Health in the Workplace
One of our core values at Thrive is that mental health support and recognition should be standard in the workplace. This should start with a risk assessment to identify where in the business there is room for improvements, with the business then putting in place a bespoke strategy to meet the needs of its workforce.
Supporting Wellbeing in The Workplace
Thrive Law was very proud to be a presented as a case study for the SRA’s Junior Lawyer Division guidance on supporting wellbeing in the workplace. You can read this guidance in full, here.
Our inclusion in this guide proves that we practise what we preach, and that we really are innovative and pioneering in our structure and in our emphasis of putting wellbeing at the heart of everything we do.
The guidance covers best practice for safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of employees in the workplace. It’s designed for law firms, but it’s helpful to any employer looking to understand and support employee wellbeing. The guidance includes storyboards with practical steps that you can use to approach wellbeing conversations with employees, and focuses on three key themes: support, education and training, and culture.
Why invest in Mental Health?
- 300,000 people who have a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year
- £54 Billion is the annual cost to employers as a result of mental ill health. Over half of this cost due to presenteeism. i.e. when individuals are less productive due to poor mental health in work
- Studies have shown that a £1 investment results in a £9.98 return on investment for mental health training
- Whilst the overall rate of sickness absence since 2009 is DOWN 15%-20%, absence due to mental health reasons since 2009 is UP by 5%
How to encourage a mentally healthy workplace:
Accessible support and resources
We believe mental health training should be mandatory in the workplace, and that employers should be obliged to conduct a risk assessment into the mental wellbeing of their employees. Having a Mental Health First Aider or Mental Health Champion in your workplace is essential in making sure your employees know who they can go to in a crisis or if they just need some advice. Mental Health First Aiders can spot assess and guide anyone with a developing mental health issue and ensure they receive the relevant help they need. This is all done in confidence and at their own pace unless the situation is urgent and needs to be escalated.
A platform such as Thrive Wellbeing supports your employees in accessing relevant and helpful resources to support their wellbeing.
Open Communication and Meetings
Open communication leads to a happier workplace, but this doesn’t just stop at discussion around workload or daily tasks. Having conversations with your employees and colleagues is essential in making sure that the workplace is always a safe space to discuss mental health and wellness.
Breaking down the stigmas surrounding mental health is key in ensuring that your team feel just as comfortable discussing their mental health issues as they do their physical ones. Having regular meetings to monitor employee progression and wellbeing is key.
The benefits of this are increased motivation, commitment and productivity within your team as well as the ease of knowing they are valued in the workplace and can always have open communications with you.
If employees feel like they will be more productive with their time on certain projects or deadlines working flexibly, then have that conversation with them. Encourage working from home or days out of the office to change up their routine and avoid over working or burnout. It is understandable that this isn’t an option for all workplaces but making sure that employees know that they can take a break or speak to you about their workload concerns is a great step forward. Everyone works best in different ways and so it’s important to establish how to make your team happy.
Putting these into Practice:
- Take 5 minutes at the start of the day to ask how your employees are feeling and let them share as much as they would like to share. After a while, talking about mental health and wellbeing will be second nature to your team and it will be easier to spot people who need help and support
- Look into training courses you can send your team on or invest in. Thrive Wellbeing is a great way for your team to learn about the different ways mental health can impact them and what support is available. MHFA training can be done by sending individuals to a course or it can be done in your workplace for your whole team.
- Organise meetings with your team at a time and pace that suits them and let them know that the meeting will be a safe space where they can talk in confidence about anything troubling them. It might be beneficial to do this in a less formal setting such as going out for lunch or a local park to get out of the office setting.
- Have a look at ways in which you can introduce flexible working into your workplace. This can be anything from introducing team meetings away from the office to having your employees work remotely on certain days. If your employees aren’t needed in the office every day, you can work out a work from home schedule. Demonstrating trust in your employees and allowing them to work from home helps them to feel more secure at work and also allows them to engage in self-care activities that they perhaps couldn’t engage with from the office.
- Utilise the resources your workplace has given you and make the most of them. Suggest that your workplace assists you in becoming a Mental Health First Aider or takes the initiative to get their employees trained.
- Suggest ways you and your colleagues can keep the conversation open about Mental Health by checking up on each other. This can be anything from asking them how their weekend was to organising a catch up after work if they don’t yet feel comfortable discussing it in work hours. If your manager is encouraging open communication, then this should get easier with time.
- If you have a large workload that you feel you’d be more productive with at home, suggest this to your manager. Having time where you know you can work to your best ability out of the office is better than lower productivity or burnout.