Jonathan Mills represents ICAS at the Mad World Summit
I was fortunate to represent ICAS at the Mad World Summit on 9 October, a day of talks and interactive workshops about mental health in the workplace, with delegates from a wide range of companies including HSBC, BP, GSK, the Financial Times and Headspace.
It was an ambitious and insightful event that made the following lasting impressions:
- Awareness is growing: the breadth of sessions, presenters and sheer number of attendees at this all-day, midweek event demonstrated that awareness of and support for mental health at work is an increasingly high priority.
- Huge progress has been made: many businesses now recognise that supporting employee mental health is not only a social responsibility but a commercial opportunity, as happier, healthier staff are more productive. This is reflected by wellbeing programmes such as mental health training, flexible working and office relaxation spaces.
- There is more to do: whilst businesses are increasingly vocal about the importance of employee mental health, senior leaders can normalise mental health issues amongst their teams by showing vulnerability and discussing their own mental health.
In an agenda full of thought-provoking content, my fellow London Area Network member and Head of Finance at M&S Foods, Jonny Jacobs CA, joined a panel discussion entitled “12 months of action”. This covered how to make tangible changes to the mental health and wellbeing of employees in the workplace.
Amongst other sessions, I attended “The Think Tank” on behalf of ICAS, an invitation-only discussion hosted by Richard Heron, Vice-President Health and Chief Medical Officer at BP. The focus of our discussions was how senior management teams can support the mental health and wellbeing of employees.
On my table were representatives from Adidas, GSK and the NHS, and the CEO of a small not-for-profit. Highlights of our discussion included:
- The contrasting impact of mental health issues on small and large organisations including: strain on other team members; the cost of short-term cover; and different methods of providing employee support.
- Changing working habits and their potential impact on employee wellbeing. For example, we discussed the benefits of flexible working and the drawbacks, such as detachment and isolation from team members.
- The importance of senior leaders showing vulnerability and a willingness to talk about their own mental health, to encourage others to do the same.
The Think Tank was hosted by recruitment specialists Green Park and Chaired by Isabel Berwick, Executive Editor of Work and Careers at the Financial Times.
It was an inspiring day, and a reminder of the role we as CAs have in creating an understanding and supportive working environment.
Jonathan Mills is a Manager in Equity Capital Markets at Deloitte and a member of the ICAS London Area Network.