As Mental Health Awareness Week draws to a close, many employers have embraced this opportunity to engage with their workers about the importance of their mental health.
Stress has been the focus of the awareness this year and as statistics show a steady rise in the number of people who state that they feel stressed as a consequence of work, employers have a vital role in supporting their employees. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, the Mental Health Foundation carried out a survey of more than 4,500 people regarding stress in the workplace. Somewhat surprisingly, it found that millennials - those aged between 18 and 38 - felt more under pressure at work than older age groups with more than 28% stating that working through stress was expected in their job. Insecure contracts, low rates of pay and high entry-level workloads are said to be a factor.
Ultimately stress in the workplace for anyone is counter-productive leading to low staff morale and reduced productivity. As the efforts to reduce the stigma of mental health conditions continues, more people will feel comfortable speaking to their employer about their mental health and stress levels. Employers should be ready to put support in to action and successful strategies can include mental health champions, workplace buddies, wellbeing schemes which can include lunchtime yoga, a weekly walking club or negotiating discounted gym membership. Concepts such as a chill out space in the office where employees can go to find quiet and disengage from technology and social activities with work colleagues can all help to improve team morale and communication. Interestingly one of the key tips is to 'lead by example', a stressed manager can often breed a stressed department.
The average person will spend 12 years working and work has a huge impact on the quality of life. Positive mental health is hugely important and by providing the right support, employers can make a significant different to the health and wellbeing of their workforce.
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