The Mental Health at Work Report* published by Business in the Community in October 2017 found that 3 out of every 5 employees have experienced mental health issues. Whilst employees feel confident sharing their feelings with a colleague, the research revealed only 11% disclosed a mental health issue specifically to their line manager.
Wellbeing is one of our eight factors of workplace engagement and is measured in the b-Heard survey. Here are some best practice examples from 2018 Best Companies accredited organisations on what they are doing to improve wellbeing and mental health in the workplace.
Anchor Care Homes have partnered with CiC (Community Integrated Care) to provide an assistance programme for all staff. The course offers confidential advice on all aspects of wellbeing, such as financial health, bereavement and stress management. For leaders in the organisation there is also a manager’s advice line providing advice on team management. Both services are free and confidential and gives people the chance to talk openly with experts outside of the organisation.
AXA have introduced agile working across the business, empowering their staff to decide for themselves when, where, and how they work. The insurance company is also part of the Mindful Employer network, a body developed, led and supported by employers to provide businesses with easier access to information and support for staff who experience stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions.
Barrington James offer their staff four ‘duvet days’ a year to help improve their work-life balance. Employees can take these holiday days on any day of the year, for whatever reason, at no notice, with no questions asked.
Blue Chip Customer Engineering believe that physical exercise is very important to wellbeing and offer a range of exercise activities for their staff. There is a free onsite gym and all employees have an extra half hour break each day to use it. The firm also offers free personal trainer sessions and health checks.
Darlington Building Society opened an allotment in their suntrap garden to encourage all staff to get their hands dirty on a lunch break, help with the upkeep of the allotment and enjoy the produce. This gives staff the opportunity to get some fresh air and really switch off from work, as well as including organic fruit and vegetables in their daily diet.
Dove House Hospice have a dedicated team of social workers and therapists that staff can access free of charge on a one-to-one basis to talk through any issues affecting them. The hospice also hosts twice-yearly wellbeing days, offering massage treatments, reiki and other therapies that can also be accessed on an individual basis if needed outside of these days.
Fluidata designed an Uncapped Holiday Scheme to improve wellbeing. The data delivery business found that when employees no longer had to worry about counting their absence, they were taking a day to see their doctor or to stay in bed if they were feeling unwell. This led to a large reduction in staff sick days as employees began to focus on their overall health.
Unicef UK offers an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme, which introduces techniques to help staff clear their mind and calm their life. The charity teaches people how to spend more time in the present, to identify personal stressors and reduce their impact, and how to make informed choices about integrating mindfulness practice into daily life.
*Mental Health at Work Report 2017, National Employee Mental Wellbeing Survey Findings 2017, Business in the Community: https://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/all-resources/research-articles/mental-health-work-report-2017