Although common – about 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England – many still don’t want to open up about their struggles. It could be fear of being misunderstood, fear of being treated differently, or fear of a mental health issue affecting career progression.  With workplaces split between home and office environments and almost half of UK workers admitting to feeling lonely during lockdown, now is a truly crucial time for employers to ensure that they’re supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their people.  

1. Create openness from the top down 💚

How the topic of mental health is approached by leaders at your business will set the tone for how the rest of the company feels.  

As a leader, you have influence on the rest of the business. By opening up and saying “I am struggling with this,” it helps to create an open and understanding culture. Of course, it’s still a sensitive topic and many won’t want to speak out about personal issues at work. 

Within Hable, we are immensely proud to say that a recent staff survey showed a huge 94% of our people feel their mental health and wellbeing is supported at work, with 89% saying they would feel comfortable talking about their mental health at work. Widely across the UK this figure is more like 13%.  

We feel this has come from a real conscious effort to create an open and honest culture, which is something we led from the top. Our Managing Director, Sean O’Shea, recently opened up about his struggles with mental health in the latest episode of our Hable Talks podcast.  

“I wanted people to understand that it was okay,” says Sean. “I thought that if I, in my position, was talking about this then others might be encouraged to talk about it as well.”  

This is a sentiment this also shared by our Founder, Mark Reynolds. He says: “I remember feeling how powerful it was that you had been honest about yourself. For the MD to do that, it almost gives others the permission to do that as well.” 

It was this moment, they both agree, that felt like a turning point for Hable as a company and a small business. It was the start of a fantastic open culture whereby people are encouraged to talk about how they’re really feeling.  

To hear more about this, please check out Episode #2 of our Hable Talks podcast.  

2. Use technology to manage wellbeing and understand how your people are feeling 💻

Our dependence on technology during this pandemic may come with some negatives in relation to our mental health, but did you know that platforms like Microsoft 365 offer tools that help to manage the wellbeing of your people? Data about our working day is available in a way it has never been before.  

Using Microsoft 365 technologies you can: 

  • Help your people avoid burnout by flagging teams or departments with high percentage of staff who are working late or at weekends 
  • Enjoy a ‘virtual commute’ experience in Teams, creating a blocked out time for reflection 
  • Improve productivity by automatically booking focus-time into calendars
  • Spot signs of depression, anxiety and isolation as people withdraw from communication with colleagues and show low levels of collaboration
  • View how long your people are working and how much time they’re spending in meetings 
  • Set up reminders to schedule breaks 

And this is just the start of a very long list! We wrote about this in more detail in a previous blog, which you can read here.  

For more help on ways that technology can be used to manage wellbeing of your people, please get in touch with Hable.  

3. Provide resources and training on mental health issues 🧠

Boost productivity and overall wellbeing of your people by investing in useful resources and training on mental health.  

Mental health training teaches leaders, managers and all employees about mental health issues, removing the stigma surrounding various conditions, improving understanding and helping others to spot when someone might be struggling. There are a number of training courses out there, and it’s important to find the one that works best for your people and company.  

The organisation Mental Health at Work has some fantastic resources available for line managers and staff on supporting each other and creating a better workplace culture. We can also highly recommend Conscious Leaders, who have worked with us to help create a truly collaborative and productive working environment – both as individuals and collectively we are now much more resilient to change. 

4. Schedule in some time for fun 🎉 

With so many more hours now being spent in front of the screen, and the remote nature of work removing those ‘water cooler’ moments that we all enjoy in an office environment, it’s important to ensure that your people are getting some time to socialise with each other.  

Not only is this great for overall wellbeing of people individually, but studies show it also helps to boost morale, work satisfaction and even productivity.  

In our recent staff survey, we asked our people what they would like to see more of to create a better environment for mental wellbeing; a quarter of the votes went to organising a monthly team walk and 15% went to more social events. We’ve since organised a day off for everyone across the business, encouraging them to instead spend the day outside connecting with nature. We also recently enjoyed a company-wide Nando’s Friday – a virtual cook-a-along of  a favourite #TeamHable restaurant!  

Some other ideas for team-wide get togethers might be: 

  • Regular virtual coffee breaks 
  • Virtual evening activities (wine tasting, quizzes, escape rooms) 
  • Lunch and learn sessions  
  • Friday afternoon catch ups  
looking after staff mental health

5. Speak to your people about how they really feel 💬

With so many more hours now being spent in front of the screen, and the remote nature of work removing those ‘water cooler’ moments that we all enjoy in an office environment, it’s important to ensure that your people are getting some time to socialise with each other.  

Not only is this great for overall wellbeing of people individually, but studies show it also helps to boost morale, work satisfaction and even productivity.  

In our recent staff survey, we asked our people what they would like to see more of to create a better environment for mental wellbeing; a quarter of the votes went to organising a monthly team walk and 15% went to more social events. We’ve since organised a day off for everyone across the business, encouraging them to instead spend the day outside connecting with nature. We also recently enjoyed a company-wide Nando’s Friday – a virtual cook-a-along of  a favourite #TeamHable restaurant!  

Some other ideas for team-wide get togethers might be: 

  • Regular virtual coffee breaks 
  • Virtual evening activities (wine tasting, quizzes, escape rooms) 
  • Lunch and learn sessions  
  • Friday afternoon catch ups  

Support with looking after the wellbeing of your staff at work

Our Wellbeing Tools & Techniques service helps to put people’s wellbeing at the centre of your leadership, creating an environment that allows everyone to perform at their best.  

We can work with you to provide a programme of wellbeing development workshops for your leaders, run a live event for all staff focused on wellbeing tools & techniques, and provide learning resources about the Microsoft 365 wellbeing tools.  

Please get in touch to find out more: