Mental Health Week 2022: How to prioritise Employee Mental Health | Just Eat for Business
This Mental Health Awareness Week, our People Partner Rosie Hyam talks about the importance of prioritising employees' mental health.
The past couple of years have shown that prioritising employee mental health and wellbeing is of paramount importance - it's become clear that companies need to deliver a personalised approach to mental health.
Whilst unlimited holiday, an employee assistance programme and regular yoga and pilates are all fantastic benefits, those informal check-ins, social time and collaborations are the key to fostering and maintaining a strong and supportive work culture when it comes to employees' mental health.
Why we need to provide a diverse mental health offering
According to our 2022 Stress At Work report, two thirds of employees feel comfortable expressing their feelings of stress at work, but that still leaves a third who aren’t. This could be attributed to several factors, such as relationships with direct reports or line managers or the working environment that they are in.
While it seems obvious that businesses should provide a wide range of mental health support for employees, understanding what this diverse offering should include can be tricky - what works for one employee may not work for another.
In order for employees to feel comfortable and confident in discussing their mental health, we need to foster and maintain a strong and supportive work culture. What we've learned from the pandemic and its impact on mental health is that the role of the workplace is changing. Employers need to ensure that everyone feels comfortable enough to reach out for help with stress, no matter what their role is.
How should we prioritise Employee mental health?
There are plenty of ways in which we can prioritise Employee mental health. Arguably, the most important way of doing this is having a wide-ranging approach to the offerings available. Companies need to have a solid plan and approach in place that allows everyone to access the mental health support that they need.
This could be in the form of taking a mental health day, enjoying company benefits like health insurance or a subsidised gym membership, or accessing mental health training and resources to help them manage their day-to-day. Whatever benefits you choose to offer, one of the main ways that you can prioritise your teams' mental health is by listening to them to find out what truly works for them. Everyone has a different experience, and simply checking in by asking how they're feeling is a really good place to start.
At Just Eat for Business, there are several things we offer to all our employees, whether they're in the office or working from home. Whether it's offering subsidised lunches in the office, or access to treats while working from home with Just Eat Pay, to the opportunity to work flexibly, we provide initiatives that keep morale high. We invest in a range of perks - ones that benefit people individually as well as social activities that help bring teams together.
Finally, mental health awareness has to start from the top. This means that managers need to be having open and honest conversations with each other and their team members about mental health, as well as advocating for people taking breaks and getting their work-life balance right.
Employee mental health in a hybrid working world
While many companies have already adapted their working style to the new hybrid world, many employees still struggle with striking a good work/life balance that's a key part of looking after their mental wellbeing. Based on our 2022 Digital Detox report, 7% of UK workers don’t take any breaks until the end of the working day, and 35% are skipping more breaks than the same time last year.
When it comes to returning to the office, our 2022 survey showed that two-thirds of respondents ranked the social aspects of office life (seeing colleagues, collaboration time and productivity and social events) as key positives of returning to the office. This paints a clear picture of the need for companies to invest in things that encourage teams to bond and socialise, as well as activities that support colleagues with work-related collaboration.
Companies have likely adapted their wellbeing offerings for teams in the office and those working from home, but in order to support employees and provide them with services they need, further steps should be taken. Throughout the day, employers should encourage people, no matter where they're working, to take regular screen breaks, get some exercise and promote and facilitate healthy eating. When it comes to the bigger picture, businesses should dedicate time and resource into developing workplace support networks for mental health to foster a supportive environment.
Overall, a flexible approach to your mental health provisions, and to work in general - will empower your employees to make their own choices about what they need to best manage their mental health and wellbeing.