Its Monday morning, the sky is a little overcast, and you’ve got a busy week ahead of you at work – it’s a situation we’re all familiar with – but how does it make you feel? Are you full of dread about the impending workload, worrying how many hours overtime you’re going to have to do and already counting down to the weekend?
Our regular readers will know, we advocate the virtues of technology making offices more efficient (and therefore a better, happier place to work) but there are others things we feel professional firms should prioritise too. Well-being is certainly one of them.
There is often the misconception in today’s working environment that if you’re not doing hundreds of extra hours and feeling exhausted at the end of the week, then you’re not working hard enough. However in recent times, employers are realising that in order to have a successful, productive workforce, you need to take care of them – and encouraging positive mental health is a big part of this.
"In a recent study by MIND 60% of employees said they were more motivated, and more engaged if their employer took action to support mental well-being in the workplace."
One of the key things that’s needed for this to happen, is that employers need to be confident about leading from the front – there needs to be honest and open communication around the subject and real clarity on you well-being message. Ultimately your team need to know what their options are, how you are working towards creating a more engaged workplace and what support is on offer to them should they need it. Conversations around mental health need to be part of the normal dialogue, not necessarily something that happens behind closed doors.
By having open conversations around the subject, and ensuring that you have a structured policy around wellbeing, you are making your employees feel valued, which in turn will strengthen their engagement and make them more likely to remain loyal to your company.
So, what steps can you take to improve well-being within your Firm?
Here are some top tips from Jodie Hill, Managing Director and Solicitor at Thrive Law, about what she does to help support well-being in her firm:
1.Accessible support and resources
Here at Thrive, we believe mental training should be mandatory in the workplace. We believe this should start with a risk assessment where you identify in your business where the gaps are and then put in place a bespoke strategy to meet the needs of your workforce in doing so you will identify the key areas where you team need training.
Therefore, I am striving to ensure my employees are trained to be able to spot if someone is struggling with their mental health or in a crisis and can offer the right advice and support to them. As well as this, we always have resources on hand such as leaflets and contact information for anyone who comes into the office and we encourage them to pick them up for themselves or a friend, in case the need for those resources ever arise.
We all have access to Mente which is an online mental health tech platform which provides all my team with ongoing e-learning, ensures we are complaint but also is accessible and research driven material we know we aren’t just ticking a box but providing costs effective and high quality support to every single member of our team. This is especially important as some of our teamwork from home. Mente can be accessed anywhere on any device and is part of our mission to continually improve the wellbeing of our team. (for more info please seehttps://www.mente.co.uk/ )
2. Open communication
It is a given that open communication leads to a happier workplace, but it’s often forgotten that this doesn’t just stop at workload or daily tasks. Having a conversation with your colleagues and knowing that your workplace is a safe place to discuss your mental health and wellness, is key in ensuring well-being in the workplace is a top priority. One of my driving factors in setting up Thrive Law was to create a psychologically safe environment to work. This is very important to me and can be achieved with some very simple steps such as open and honest communication. Breaking down the stigma when it comes to mental health is so important to me, the sooner this happens the better. Why not start in your work place?
3. Flexible working
I also encourage my employees to have days where they work from home if they feel they will be more productive with their time. I do the same if I have a large workload or reading to do, I’ll work from home and then come into the office when it is done. It is understandable that this isn’t the option for all workplaces but making sure employees know that they can take a breather or speak to you about their workload concerns to avoid them over working themselves is a great step forward. We all work best in very different ways. It’s important to establish how we work best and what our team need to feel good.
Having regular meetings to monitor employee progression and well-being is key. It is important to monitor how your employees are dealing with their workload, whether they are meeting their targets, and to explore possible reasons if they are not meeting their targets. Appraisals are great but often only done annually, having something more regular would allow for better monitoring and spotting potential stress triggers in someone if they are struggling. At Thrive we have meetings at least once a week and ensure that development reviews are completed every 6 months which identify more formal training needs. We have an open door policy which means the team can always raise issues on a particular matter and workload with me. We discuss how to prioritise work too as sometimes this can be difficult for people to manage when they have a list and don’t know where to start.
The benefits of improving well-being
There are many benefits that come with improving well-being within your workplace including – increased motivation, enhanced team morale, more commitment from your employees and an improvement in their overall productivity and engagement. You will also find that your team become more focused and feel more at ease having open, honest conversations with you.
As you know – here at The Link App, improving the productivity and efficiency of your firm is high on our agenda, and implementing technology such as our app can work alongside your well-being practices to help create a positive environment within your firm with an enhanced work/life balance for your team.
For more information about how you can improve the well-being within your firm take a look at the MIND website here: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/
Originally published 26 / Mar / 2019