As the world of work changes in unprecedented ways, with millions of people suddenly being forced into working from home when they least expected it, Barney Kent CEO of Touch Medical Media takes a look at the importance of mental health awareness in the workplace.
For the team here at Touch, we have been working remotely for many years so for us there hasn’t been the fundamental change that office-based employees will have experienced. However, other challenges have been thrown into the working day such as the impact of children at home during the day which, as a business, we have embraced on a number of levels.
Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from Monday 18th to Sunday 24th May 2020, the theme of which is ‘kindness’ which I’m proud to say has been reflected over the past seven weeks by our team providing art classes for our employee’s children, numerous quizzes and Pilates classes.
Work is a very big part of most adults’ lives and therefore our workplaces need to be a key setting for understanding and addressing our mental health. We know that our work can help us to thrive, give people an identity and a purpose so it can be good for our mental health. But we also need to be mindful that challenging working conditions can be toxic to our mental health and the mental health benefits work can bring could potentially be offset.
At Touch we actively encourage everyone to take regular breaks and to get out and exercise which is important to boost our mental health and prepare us for the challenge’s life throws at us. Having a giving culture and doing good for others can all help us protect and improve our mental health. It is key to have a workplace culture that supports mental health and enables people to seek help when they need it, to have commitment from the senior leadership team to support mental health and wellbeing and finally to have clear mental health policies that are implemented at all levels.
The line management relationship is also key to mental health in the workplace because if the first level of connection between individual staff members isn’t right, there is always going to be a problem. If performance management and appraisal systems allow people to explore and develop their talent and give and receive feedback, then people will feel valued and fairly treated. Being close to your team means that line managers are uniquely placed to recognise distress and provide support. If in doubt, you should treat someone as you would want to be treated and demonstrate skills of empathy and understanding.
We have a nurturing and understanding culture at Touch with an open-door policy across the business which enables us to keep our finger on the pulse with each employee and provides an environment which limits the potential of any mental health issues. There is a mutual respect amongst the employees across our organisation and without doubt our biggest asset (by a country mile) is our people. Being mindful of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is so important and we do our best to look out for our colleagues and provide them with a healthy and positive environment. There is a lot of loyalty and a family culture at Touch which we want to ensure doesn’t go anywhere over the coming years, we will look after our team and in return I have no doubts that they will look after our business!
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