David Press, Managing Director - DMJ Recruitment
With people spending roughly half their waking life engaged in their job, it cannot be understated how much of an impact that work has on mental health. Many aspects of the workplace can affect an employee’s mental health, and things that are big issues for some will barely register with others. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of triggers and to try and create the best working environment possible.
With healthy and confident teams, the productivity of businesses grow. So even if the wellbeing of your staff doesn’t cause you concern (and it definitely should!), then you can at least be assured that investing time and money to help improve their health and wellbeing will be advantageous to your bottom line. However, it’s important for managers to understand that there is no quick fix or solution to maintaining the mental health of your team and often you may think there are no problems until there are. Maintaining positive mental health in the workplace is a daily struggle that should always be on the forefront ensuring that negativity and toxicity don’t get out of hand.
So, how can you improve the wellbeing of your staff? Here are some ideas:
Encourage your staff to only work during office hours. A recent study showed that 72% of employees work outside of their office hours during evenings and weekends, and 47% said that work affects their ability to spend time with their family. All work and no play often leads to employee burnout, so encourage your staff to switch off. Some European countries have made it illegal for employers to contact their staff out of office hours – the UK may follow suit, so you might as well get used to the practice now!
Offer flexible working hours where possible. The last two years proved that people don’t need to be tied to their office desks in order to be productive. Giving your employees a helping hand to balance work with things like nursery drop-offs, carer responsibilities and their favourite exercise class will do wonders for their stress levels.
Improve the physical working environment. Having a light, airy, comfortable and quiet place to work is so important for a person’s wellbeing. Take a fresh look at your office and check that it is somewhere you would want to spend the majority of your day. For your staff who work from home, offer advice and even financial support to help them create the optimum working environment. DMJ recently updated their office with fresh paint, new equipment, collaborative workspaces and a modern approach to hot desking in mind.
Create an inclusive environment, where everyone’s voices are heard. Having too strict a hierarchy can lead to a lack of innovation in a business. Employees should be encouraged to share their ideas and to collaborate with those more senior and more junior than themselves.
Training and support. Giving your staff the tools to carry out their job effectively can be the difference between a successful business and a happy workforce and a struggling organisation full of undue stress and pressure. For example, promoting someone into a managerial position without providing enough training and support might cause them additional stress and lead to poor working relationships within their team. Some businesses, including DMJ, offer counselling to all its employees to encourage a happy company culture, couple this with an extra level of support when an employee is promoted or changes positions and we have staff that thrive on change, not shy away from it.
Recognise successes. Ensuring that quality work doesn’t go unnoticed will help keep that work continuing. It doesn’t take long for an employee who goes above and beyond without recognition to start phoning in performances and simply working to spec. DMJ offers lunch club for the best performers of each quarter for a chance to eat at a swanky restaurant, to relax and celebrate with other consultants who have put in extraordinary work over the past 3 months.
Team bonding. Now that more of our time is spent working from home, those connections management may have spent years building between team members are at risk. It’s easy to become a lone wolf, punching the keyboard at home and looking out for number 1. However, there are a wealth of benefits to having a tight-knit team including increased collaborations, communications and value promotion. Try pairing up uncommon people for new projects to avoid the same pairings over and over again. Increasing these connections across your team will lead to a tight web of communication over time.
Bonus days. Work can be fun, and if you don’t believe that maybe management isn’t your thing! There’s no reason, in most organisations, that employees can’t work hard and enjoy what they do as well. That being said, there are certain industries were the work is less pleasant and this is more difficult than others. We recommend bonus days to remind employees that work can have play as well. DMJ recently completed an overnight stay at the Down Hall Hotel & Spa to celebrate a successful Q4 at the end of 2021. We had access to spa treatments, group team building activities, fantastic food and some celebratory drinks bringing together people from different teams to toast our success and remind everyone how much fun being together, in person, can be.
It's important to understand that mental health is often intangible and can mean different things to different people and what’s important to some is not important to others. This is why your team’s mental health can get out of hand quickly if not monitored and why it requires constant attention and cultivation. Good managers factor it into most decisions they make ensuring that small changes and considerations make big differences over the long run. So, shout it from the rooftops – maintaining positive mental health in the workplace is about small consistent actions taken again and again over time. Consistency is key.