How to manage your wellbeing at work
There are a range of ways in which you can support your own wellbeing and mental health within the workplace. Here you’ll find some suggestions and links to specialist resources with further information.
From providing a structured routine to giving you a sense of purpose, working can be hugely beneficial to your mental health.
However, in some circumstances, workplace situations can impact upon your wellbeing or make it difficult to manage a pre-existing mental health condition.
Below you’ll find some suggestions for ways in which to support your own wellbeing at work, 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.)
Understand workplace stress
From the pressure of meeting a deadline, to dealing with a difficult client, most of us will experience a degree of work stress from time to time. Problems can arise when your stress levels feel overwhelming and begin to have negative effects upon your wellbeing. When it comes to getting your stress levels under control, start with gaining a better understanding, such as knowing how to recognise the signs of stress and learning more about its causes. When you are more informed about what is causing your stress you will be in a better position to consider suitable solutions.
Speak to your employer
If you feel that you are unable to manage your stress on your own, then the next step could be to speak to your manager or employer. Doing so can help them to understand which aspects of your employment are causing your concerns and to help identify solutions.
Practice self care
There are various ways in which you can look after yourself at work, to help minimise the effects of stress and maximise your wellbeing. Taking regular breaks, whether that's lunch hours away from your desk and work or making use of your annual holiday entitlement, will help to make you feel more in control and allow you to recharge and recuperate between periods of stress. If you are working from home, try to prevent your work life from spilling over into your home life. If possible, have a designated space in your home for working and either close the door on it after work or tidy it away as best as you can at the end of the working day. Trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle more generally - from taking regular exercise to eating and sleeping well and limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeine - will also benefit your mental health in and out of work.
Know your rights
In the UK, employees are protected by the Equality Act 2010 which states that it is illegal to treat anyone differently without good reason because of a “protected characteristic” such as a disability. The Act says that a mental health problem is a disability if it has a substantial and long-term impact on your ability to carry out day-to-day activities. The protections provided by the Act can apply in practical ways, such as requiring your employer to make reasonable adjustments (see below) and preventing them from unfairly discriminating against you because of a mental health problem.
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. You can apply for a reasonable adjustment or learn more about them here.
CA Student Assistance Programme
Our Student Assistance Programme is a suite of wellbeing services offering support to ICAS CA Students. It's is a confidential service designed to assist with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life, work life, health and general wellbeing. You'll find support for a wide range of issues, such as coping with exam pressure and managing working whilst studying.
Specialist information and resources
Below you'll find links to a range of specialist resources and further information to help you get it right.
- Rethink Mental Illness: Reasonable adjustments at work
- SAMH: guide to employee rights around mental health
- HSE: Advice for employees with mental health conditions
- Mind: How to be mentally healthy at work
- ICAS: Tips for working and studying from home
- Deloitte: WorkWell podcast series
- NHS (England): Information and support for your mental health
- NHS inform (Scotland): Resources for identifying, treating and managing mental health problems and disorders
- 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. It includes a wide range of support and resources which you can search for specific advice to suit your role and the sector in which you work.