How to support wellbeing in the workplace
There are a range of ways in which employers and managers can support wellbeing and good mental health within the workplace. Here you’ll find some suggestions and links to specialist resources with further information.
It’s now commonly accepted that a happier and healthier workplace is also a more productive workplace. In fact, according to the Mental Health Foundation, addressing wellbeing at work can increase productivity by as much as 12%.
Many larger organisations have their own policies and procedures in place to assist with workplace wellbeing. If yours doesn’t and you’d like to learn more, you’ll some suggestions below along with links to specialist resources with further information.
(Please remember that this information is only a guide and that your own organisation may have its own HR advice or policies in place to assist you in similar situations.)
Gain an understanding of mental health
We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health, and as with physical health our mental health can shift from time to time on a spectrum from good to poor. And, just as with physical health, when a person’s mental health is poor it can impact upon their life and their work.
According to Mind, mental health problems affect one in four people in any given year. These problems can range from the common, such as depression and anxiety, to the rarer, such as schizophrenia and bipolar.
A good place to start in working towards building a healthier workplace could be through gaining more of an understanding of what exactly is meant by ‘mental health’. For example, there’s a difference between someone feeling depressed and someone diagnosed with clinical depression. Having more of an understanding can help you when starting conversations around mental health and when supporting staff.
Specialist resources to help you learn more about mental health conditions:
- CIPD & Mind: People manager’s guide to mental health
- NHS: A guide to mental health conditions
- HSE: Advice for managers on mental ill health conditions
Recognise the signs
Spotting the signs of low mental wellbeing in a colleague may enable you to begin a conversation that leads to providing them with moral or practical support or assistance. There are no hard and fast rules that will help you to determine if someone might be experiencing problems, however, there are certain signs that you can look out for which may be indicative of low mental wellbeing.
Create the right culture
A workplace culture that isn’t open to discussing and supporting mental health can be detrimental to the wellbeing of those working within it. Conversely, the more open and supportive your workplace culture is, the better it will be for the wellbeing of employees and for their productivity. As an employer or manager you can lead from the front by encouraging discussions around mental health, perhaps by sharing your own experiences or by bringing the topic into team meetings or one-to-one catch ups with colleagues. If you are routinely asking your colleagues how they are, both physically and mentally, then you’ll build their confidence and make it easier for them to approach you for support.
You may also want to assign a mental-health champion or ‘first aider’, so staff know there’s someone they can reach out to should they face any issues.
Specialist resources to help you learn more about creating a supportive workplace culture:
- Mind – Mental Health at Work website
Mental Health at Work is an online gateway, developed by Mind, that brings together resources, toolkits, blogs and case studies, with ideas to improve workplace culture and help to develop policy and practice. You can search for specific advice to suit your organisation’s size and sector, or search according to your role, with information for everyone from sole traders to senior managers.
- SAMH: Guide to workplace wellbeing
- SAMH: Workplace/wellbeing training
- Wellbeing assessment tool: Support staff to take a few minutes out of their day to complete this SAMH wellbeing assessment.
- Mental Health Foundation: How to support mental health at work
- Bupa: Running a staff session on mental health and wellbeing
Employers are required by the Equality Act 2010 to provide reasonable adjustments to people with disabilities, including mental health conditions. Practical examples of reasonable adjustments include flexible working patterns, such as changes to start and finish times, provisioning for home working, providing quiet working spaces, excusing employees from larger meetings and offering additional supervision or support.
ICAS reasonable adjustments for CA Students
ICAS recognises that, in certain circumstances, some CA Students will require reasonable adjustments to how we provide learning and assessment during their CA learning journey. CA Students cou can apply for a reasonable adjustment or learn more about them here.
Specialist resources to help you learn more about reasonable adjustments: