It seems a good number of employers are now implementing measures designed to aid employee wellbeing and in particular healthy eating and exercise. Let me give you an example, here at Health Assured we work with businesses on ways they can implement healthy eating choices and encourage a more positive lifestyle. We advise them on introducing healthier lunch options especially if they provide food for their workforce, it’s the small changes that can make a difference. However it’s not all about fitness, we also encourage employers to focus on mental wellbeing, especially with the growing pressures of everyday life impacting employees. I have previously spoken about stress and the impact on employees – many people would rather conceal the fact that they are stressed and hold back from telling their management. However, you need to encourage a workplace where employees who feel pressured can approach their line manager to express any concerns they have, without fear of repercussions.
Employers and managers often struggle with handling employees with mental health issues – potentially due to a lack of awareness, training in spotting the symptoms and a lack of resources when previously attempting to aid an employee. It is worth as a management team devising a framework, a process in which you can tackle mental health. Firstly, create a workplace free of bullying, harassment and negativity which can be harmful and cause unnecessary stress. Remember that stress is a major cause for absenteeism so by implementing such measures you are helping to tackle a potential problem. Also by introducing a workplace free of negativity, a place where employees will enjoy coming to work, these factors will help staff retention levels, they will come to appreciate the work environment and know that you are serious about their wellbeing.
How can you help someone who is suffering from mental health issues? If you have an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) then encourage them to utilise the service, they are normally staffed by qualified personnel who are trained in dealing with such issues, otherwise listen to what the individual has to say; let them discuss their problem, they may just need someone to talk with and if they feel that they can trust you then provide them with your time. Validate what they are saying, and reassure them that talking about the issue is good, if you are able to help, enquire and see if there are resources that can help them with their difficulties. The fact that they have someone to speak with is good, remember that the individual should not feel that they are being judged.
Ensure that your managers are sufficiently trained in: how to identify employees who may suffer mental health issues, identifying behaviour patterns and what resources to provide to the employee concerned. Finally, if you are concerned that you are out of your depth then consider implementing a counselling service, such as an Employee Assistance Programme, that can work for your business and encourage the employees to discuss and deal with any mental health issues or personal crises that they may be experiencing.
If you need any clarification on this issue then contact Health Assured on 0844 892 2493.