How to improve your team’s wellbeing at work
Posted on: 06/07/2021
Fiona Clarke, emotional wellbeing therapist at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, explains how to improve your team’s wellbeing at work.
The impact of the pandemic on employee wellbeing has been extensive and wide-ranging, with the effects on emotional wellbeing likely to continue long after the virus has been brought under control.
The Nuffield Health Healthier Nation Index reports that 41% of people stated their mental health had deteriorated during the past 12 months, with ‘pressures linked to work’ having the biggest impact on the nation’s mental health. It is clear that employees need additional support from their employers as they navigate ongoing change and uncertainty.
Fiona Clarke, emotional wellbeing therapist at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, highlights why wellbeing and mental health is an important topic and explains what employers can do to support their teams and increase wellbeing at work, especially in the new era of hybrid working.
“In the past, wellbeing and mental health support in the workplace has been overlooked leading to reduced productivity, low job satisfaction and increased sickness. More recently, presenteeism and ‘burn out’ are increasing, with employees juggling work and home life from the same location meaning that they can never fully switch off from work and are constantly on the go.
“If your organisation has made the shift to hybrid working, adapting wellbeing and mental health support for your employees is imperative to ensure they are given the support they need when working both remotely as well as on site.”
So, what can employers do to help staff and improve wellbeing at work?
- Lessen the stigma and encourage open communication – There is now less stigma surrounding mental health, with an increased awareness that it is an essential part of health and well being. It is important however that increased awareness translates into action.
- One thing I’ve noticed when talking to clients recently, is that they are unaware of what support their workplace has to offer to them. By talking openly about wellbeing and backing it with action managers can help eliminate a workplace culture that implies the job comes before personal needs. Having regular one-to-one contact with employees to check in on how they’re doing allows them to build their confidence, so they are encouraged to approach a manager sooner rather than later.
- Train managers – managers should be equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to deal with the wellbeing of employees. Investing in training to prepare managers for the demands of remote working means they can quickly recognise signs of distress and have the skills and confidence to support others. Compassionate management with good communication skills are key to supporting employee wellbeing. Every team member is different and it’s important to value employee opinions and consider them.
- Introduce mental health champions or mental health first aiders – mental health champions or first aiders are employees that take on a voluntary role to help colleagues with wellbeing or mental health concerns. Following training, they take on an active role to look out for signs of emotional distress, and are a point of contact for those who may be experiencing difficulties. During this new era of hybrid working, it’s even more important to set up a ‘buddy system’ for all new starters. Done well, a buddy system facilitates an immediate personal connection between new hires and the wider business.
- Good internal communications – keeping employees in the loop about company activities reduces the sense of isolation people can feel, particularly when your teams are working flexibly. Make sure you ask employees what would be helpful for them rather than make assumptions on what you think they would find helpful.
“A great employer and manager know how to look after their team. We all have mental health, regardless of background, position or status, and this can change, depending on our circumstances and what is happening around us. Early and appropriate intervention that employers can take is so important in helping to alleviate any growing concerns.”
Fiona Clarke runs a weekly clinic on Mondays at the hospital and appointments can be made following a telephone assessment. Nuffield Health can provide fast access, bespoke quality services and strategies to meet the needs of your employees. From awareness and education, right through to prevention and treatment.
Telephone the Nuffield Health Emotional Wellbeing Team on 0333 1234 106 for further information on how to book a session at the hospital.
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