Posted: 27th Sept 2023. Read time: 4 Minutes
Author: Stuart B
A simple guide to mental health in the workplace for 2023
Some years ago, I took time out from my business and took a temporary job to give me time to better look at where I needed to be heading in my career. In hindsight, I should have just stuck with it, but sometimes you just have to walk away from a situation, right?
So, I ended up in a call centre. I've always been really good on the phone, and my customer service skills are excellent. But shortly after I joined, I started feeling the effects on my mental health.
The job in itself was easy. Talk to customers who had issues with the service that they had received. The problem that I found was the management and the team leaders. This environment had team leaders handling teams of up to 30 agents. There were a lot of self-important people in the business with very little to none training or life experience. This led to Team leaders being aggressive towards their agents and, in some cases, on a mission to just make people suffer.
So, mental health issues were severely overlooked in that workplace, and the average life expectancy of an agent was around 4-6 months.
Many places like this in the UK get away with treating their staff in this manner, and it is just not acceptable.
With the proper mental health awareness and policies in place, an employee can become a viable asset to the company and not a liability like the company I have just discussed.
It's quite straightforward to implement mental health awareness, and with your HR department, you can get things in place in a matter of weeks. You need to take advice, draw up policies, re-train your management and have actions in place should you need them.
So here are a few pointers for your consideration on this topic from my real world experence in these matters.
Provide Mental Health Resources:
Offer your employees access to resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), counselling services, and mental health hotlines. Make sure that employees are aware of these resources.
Training and Awareness:
Train managers and employees on how to correctly identify the telltale signs of mental health issues and how to respond. This can help reduce stigma and increase understanding.
Flexible Work Arrangements:
Consider flexible work hours or remote work options to accommodate employees dealing with mental health challenges. This can reduce stress and improve work-life balance
Work with employees to identify reasonable accommodations to help them perform their jobs effectively despite their mental health challenges. This might include adjusted workloads or deadlines.
Stress Management Programs:
Offer stress management workshops or programs to help your employees build resilience and to cope with workplace stress.
Schedule regular one-to-one meetings between managers and employees to discuss workload, job satisfaction, and any concerns related to mental health.
Encourage employees to take regular breaks during their workday to recharge and reduce stress.
Promote Work-Life Balance:
Discourage excessive overtime and encourage employees to take their holiday days. A healthy work-life balance can be crucial for mental well-being.
Ensure that your workplace has clear anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to protect employees from discrimination related to mental health issues.
Lead by Example:
Leaders and managers should set an example by prioritizing their mental health and seeking help when needed. This can help reduce stigma.
Seek Professional Guidance:
If a situation becomes complex or an employee's mental health issues are severe, consider seeking guidance from mental health professionals or HR experts.
Remember that every workplace is unique, and the approach to addressing mental health issues may vary. It's essential to tailor your efforts to your specific organizational culture and the needs of your employees.
Mental health help links:
NHS Mental health helpline
Mind UK Helplines