With Time to Talk Day just around the corner, many people think about how they can start difficult and even sometimes taboo conversations about mental and emotional health. But did you know that this can actually be a great incentive to help get employees talking and feel better and supported in their role and what’s expected of them? 🤔 Please read on for ways you can make use of this day to fully benefit your employees in the workplace. Doing so can help not only boost productivity and can help cutdown on sick days related to stress and mental health issues, but also create a happier, friendly, welcoming workplace environment. Who doesn’t want that? Here are some ways to encourage and create such an environment:
Enlist Mental Health Champions 🏅
Mental Health Champions are employees that help to encourage positive mental wellbeing in the workplace. They take positive action to raise awareness of mental health problems within the workplace and challenge stigma. They’re also there for any employees who might be having problems or experiencing issues that they want to speak about in confidence. Although they don’t undertake the role of HR, both HR and mental health champions work together to create a better workplace for everyone. Why not allocate a “mental health hour” slot each week to reassure employees that support is there if they ever need it?
Create Safe Spaces for Relaxation 🌿 🌷
It’s important to add a space in the office that’s completely separate from everyone, to allow employees to process their thoughts and recuperate. Bold bright colours evoke positive feelings. For example; blue can produce a very calming effect within the workplace and can help aid concentration whereas energetic colours like yellow can inspire happiness and boost creativity. Having plants in the office can help. It not only improves the air quality and reduces stress but it can also help to mitigate common colds and increase productivity. In fact having a light soothing shade of green can help ease anxiety and make people feel more relaxed and welcomed. 😊
Employers can and should make time and space for employees to talk. Why not host a coffee morning to get everyone together and talking? Or a lunch & learn quiz on mental health? You could even partner up with a workplace wellbeing provider such as Zevo Health, who offer training schemes, webinars and workshops on employee health. Most of these events can be incredibly cost-effective and easily organised; the key point is to create an environment which allows employees to feel comfortable to open up.
Discussion Board ✏️
A great idea that might work for your company is having a semi-private area where a discussion board can be placed and put up. Employees can use this board to place notes, advice, quotes etc. without having to directly say it. This can accelerate employee engagement and give greater insights into your workforce. Mental health champions can also use said board to leave a note (for example; ‘’I’m free between x and x times, please pop over to the quiet area if you’d like to talk in confidence”) is just an example of a type of communication that can be used via the discussion board.
One of the best ways to encourage mental health conversations is to share personal stories. This can really help in changing how people feel in discussing their own issues. Ask employees if they would like to volunteer to write a blog about their journey, and given their consent, share it internally via email, newsletters or the company intranet. There’s a lot of power in personal experience. This can boost connection and stop the power mental illness has to make people feel alone and misunderstood and even powerless at times. 👭👬
Support Group 🗣
Having a support group in place is a great idea. It’s important to ensure that these support groups are centered around issues that your employees are facing. To get an idea of what factors are important to employees, why not run a survey to find out? This will help you understand the sorts of issues that are affecting your workforce and help you to determine which support to set up. Some examples that you might want to consider: motivation when working from home, working mums/dads, office anxiety etc. Whilst Mental Health Champions can oversee and manage these support groups, the fundamental point is that these sessions are employee-led, to encourage talking about these issues and suggesting coping mechanisms/ways to aid.
Invest in an anonymous HR platform
It’s important to provide a safe and secure environment for people to raise issues and voice concerns. Investing in an anonymous employee management platform demonstrates a great duty of care by allowing employees to speak up without fear of repercussions. Have a look into All Voices or Work in Confidence. Both enables people to anonymously share any issues such as discrimination, bullying, harassment, work culture etc. These issues can dramatically affect mental health which has further negative impacts on productivity and attendance. Investing in a safe and secure way for employees to raise concerns ensures you are aware of any workplace issues and can act accordingly.
Don’t just invest in the staff, invest in the people! Leading by example will help this Time to Talk Day create positive lasting changes in your workplace to help support your employees and facilitate personal and professional growth. In short; empower your people!
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