Within the industry, we have found that in many cases people feel unable to talk to their manager about stress, including their ‘in-work’ stress. This can be largely attributed to company culture, and what is and is not ok to talk about at work. Shifting the culture to a more open environment is so important for letting people find a channel to discuss anything they are struggling with, particularly if it is the work itself causing the struggle.
So how can this be achieved?
A great way to start is to have regular 1-1 sessions with employees, not to check in on their work, but to check in on how they are managing their workload, how they feel about it, and if they need any assistance with managing it. Sessions like this create a safe place and an great outlet to privately discuss mental health within the workplace, particularly in instances where the work is the root cause of the issue.
Further to this, these sessions can be hosted as part of a bigger ‘Wellness Action Plan’. These plans work similarly to a portfolio review, but instead of reviewing the work itself, reviewing things that help and support mental health at work. It looks in depth at what employees can do to support each other. Even more importantly, it creates a plan to highlight warning signs a person may have if their mental health starts to decline, and any actions that particular person can take in this case.
What these plans highlight is how different everyone is, and how there is no singular plan of action when it comes to mental health. Whilst some people may become distant and unproductive when their mental health is struggling, others throw themselves into work, creating the appearance that they are fine.
The essence of the wellness plans is to understand each person’s triggers – indicators to help to prevent them from becoming overwhelmed with work-related stress, enabling appropriate conversations whilst a person is at a coping stage, preventing the situation to escalate.
When implementing these processes, you may want to get an overview of your business, and how your employees view the present culture they work in. Regular pulse surveys are a great way to get a general overview. The surveys can highlight any issues or areas that require attention. However they are not a substitute to sitting down 1-1 with people – a survey won’t catch any disengaged, or burnt-out employees, who’s voices still need to be heard.
- 1-1 Sessions
- Employee Wellness Action Plan
- Regular Pulse Survey