If you’re a business owner, chances are you’re too busy to think about your own well-being. That’s totally understandable. There are so many other things fighting for your attention. You don’t need something else adding to the mix. But what if you were struggling to cope and needed someone? Who would you turn to?
It’s OK to talk
February 6th is Time to Talk Day. This annual event is designed to get the whole of the UK talking about mental health and break the stigma around the condition. Many people still feel uncomfortable discussing mental health, don’t know how to approach the subject, or simply don’t have anyone to talk to.
Of course, you don’t need to only talk about mental health for one day of the year. It’s something that should be in your thoughts every day. Mental ill-health was the third highest reason for work absences among non-manual employees in 2015, according to the CIPD Absence Management Survey, and it’s estimated to have cost organisations billions over the years.
Don’t just talk – think well-being too
Being able to talk freely about mental health is just one part of well-being at work, for you and your employees. It’s all about keeping them happy and fulfilled, so they’re engaged, loyal and able to be their best in work.
Some of the ways you can help with this is to develop work-life balance initiatives, promote a healthy environment and encourage personal development. Creating a culture where staff are resilient, don’t have divided loyalties and are able to leave the office on time will build high levels of physical and mental wellbeing. Absence levels will reduce, engagement will get better and overall productivity will increase.
Offering flexible working patterns to fit in with people’s circumstances, providing fresh fruit and refreshments, and a benefits package with options for everyone will all help with everyone’s well-being.
Don’t forget about you
You’ve created the mentally healthy environment for your team, which is great, but the fact is you’re just as likely to suffer from mental health issues at work as anyone else. You’ve got a demanding job and extra squeezes on your time, and there might come a point where you crumble.
To make this less likely, try to recognise the warning signs that something might be wrong, so you can stop things getting worse. There’s a big difference between being tired and serious mental health issues starting.
Practice what you preach too. For example, if you tell people in your business to get away from their desks for an hour, make sure you do too. Going for a walk is a great way to unwind and forget about work for a short while. And if you need to work late sometimes, try and do it from home later once you’ve had a chance to relax.
Make well-being and mental health awareness the norm
By getting people to open-up about mental health and well-being all the time, and not just during Time to Talk Day, it makes it something normal and acceptable. Everyone within your organisation, including you, will take the issue seriously instead of something to be avoided or ashamed of. As a result, everyone’s wellbeing will improve, which will only help productivity and morale.