When we are surrounded by so many social platforms that show the world as sometimes perfect as well as destructive, it’s understandable why so many people are slipping into a state of depression.
Growing up in a rough council estate in the North East of England, I grew up around many friends who have been affected or that have committed suicide. I’m sure my experience is not unique.
According to Samaritan’s Suicide: Facts and Figures, UK men remain three times as likely to commit suicide compared to women, and in Ireland, they are four times more likely. Overall suicide rates are the lowest they have been for the last 30 years, but this is a stat that every business needs to be aware of so that we can try and understand how we play a part in tracking welfare and wellbeing in the workplace.
Thriving at Work – A Review of Mental Health and Employers on behalf of the UK government report indicates that 300,000 people a year leave their employment through mental health issues. As the digital workplace catches up with the digital generation, we need to ask ourselves as business leaders are we doing everything we can?
First of all, we need to tear down the stigma. Growing up in the 80’s I was guilty of calling someone mental without understanding that they were only having a bad time. Some of the kindest, funniest and most interesting people I have met have suffered from a severe mental health issue.
I’ve been there myself, feeling down due to a relationship break up, crying in the bath or driving past a bus stop reminiscing about a happier time while sadly listening to The Streets.
Over time you develop more empathy. You see the world differently and only with experience, you understand that bad times are like dark clouds. But once it rains they eventually go. And, the sun shines again.
6 Tips for How Your Intranet Can Help Employee Wellbeing
Wellbeing is defined as, “A good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterised by health, happiness, and prosperity.”
How can you bring this sense of wellbeing to work and help your employees?
Ask for volunteer listeners Create a network of volunteers around your business who would like to make an impact for those who are struggling. Whether this is HR or senior leaders confidentially is key to the people you select. Creating a wellbeing homepage with key contacts make it easy for people to see the people who are there to support them and their contact details.
Set-up a wellbeing programme Utilise Quick Polls where you can create a digital survey for your employees to fill out and gauge how people feel. Some people may want personalised support, but by asking the following types of questions you can understand what kind of support programme you may wish to offer your employee. Some questions may include:
Have you have felt down for a couple of months with no apparent reason?
Have you felt so anxious that you cannot attend work or socialise?
Have you thought of leaving your job due to feeling down?
Have you experienced a significant life-event or traumatic experience?
Have you been unable to deal with troubling behaviours or thoughts?
Have you, or are you contemplating, harming yourself?
Would you like someone to talk to?
Keep these results anonymous. This way, your employees will feel like they have a safe place at work without worrying about social or professional repercussions.
Recognise your employees
Not everyone is motivated by the same incentives, or may even value the same kind of recognition. People are unique and we need to take a holistic view when looking at understanding what makes people tick.
As a business leader ask yourself to do your employees feel valued? If they go above and beyond the call of duty, do they get recognised? Being recognised of doing a job well done, will not only increase motivation but also goes a long way to improve mental health at work. By allowing you to tap into your employees’ values it reinforces their standing and let them know that they are a valued member of the team.
Creating a recognition system should be part of the CEO’s strategy so that senior leaders can drive a recognition strategy throughout the company. Utilising your intranet represents your business motivators and digitally send a pat on the back with a motivational message direct to employees who go above and beyond.
Drop-ins Highlight drop-in days via count downs and banners, this can be utilised with chat. for example, occupational health could be made available on selected days of the month to offer private one to one chat discussions.
Take care of yourself Create areas to offer self-help and provide suggestions for simple ways in which you can begin to make positive changes. Your areas can provide many links of support to third party websites and contact numbers your employees can reach out to. Areas can cover anything from sleep, eating well, getting active and stress management.
Hubs for social interaction Social isolation can trigger depression and anxiety. While supportive relationships with friends, family, and neighbours are beneficial to the mental health of individuals, social interactions, such as volunteering, are also known to boost well-being. People with a good network of friends and family generally have better mental and physical health than those who lack these networks. By utilising Hubs within your intranet, you can create a social community for your employees; this is a space where people can share their experiences with other like-minded members, therefore, increasing a sense of belonging. Social tools used in the right way can unlock connections that used to be impossible and with every new connection comes with a new opportunity for social interaction.
Like anything of value, a comprehensive wellbeing programme can only be achieved with hard work. Your intranet offers a channel to serve your workers with supports channels which internally increases productivity for not only the affected employee, but also their surrounding colleagues.
Michael Rossi is Oak’s highly motivated Business Development Manager with a killer track record of providing exemplary sales and service to a broad range of customers across numerous sectors, including SME’s, public sector, and high-profile corporate organisations. Over the last 12 years, Michael has gained a vast amount of experience selling software solutions to marketing and internal comms specialists, highly trusted to guide his clients through the entire sales process. Michael is a left-handed dyslexic, which his father says this makes him, "very special". And, what he lacks in grammatical skills he makes up with his creative flare - key to his stellar salesmanship and storytelling.