The workplace is normally only associated with one thing – you guessed it: work! But, it can be so much more than that; a place that sparks great friendships and long lasting relationships; a place of inspiration and fulfilment; a meaningful escape from the otherwise mundane prospect of doing simply nothing at all (especially for those that are working well beyond retirement age!)
If we can truly be ourselves at work, albeit with a slightly more professional focus than in our absolute leisure time, why can’t we be more open about our mental health as part of the package? After all, we are a sum of everything in our being, and mental health plays a huge part in this. It shouldn’t be something we hide away in a box. Sharing insights into our mental wellbeing is largely based around trust, namely what people may do with the information we share, how they may react and how it may impact our development and progression in the organisation. There are a lot of possibilities, most of which are probably unrealistic, but they remain a barrier to opening up for many.
Mental health on the whole has become a more prominent subject throughout the past year or two. The pandemic has allowed us to focus more on ourselves and perhaps reflect more deeply; more regularly. Paired with the evermore frequent tale of a struggle around isolation, increased anxiety and cabin fever on steroids, it’s fairly clear to see how and why awareness around mental health, both good and bad, has increased.
Many of us sat in our homes for long periods and continued to work to the best of our ability, but sadly that ability and our capacity for working may have reduced at times. Mental health impacts all aspects of our lives, and can make it difficult to do lots of things. Having no clear divide between work and home life certainly chipped away at many. We couldn’t just switch off either our home or working lives, when our workplace was (for many, continues to be) our own home. Some may have thought that once we got back into the office, the reconnection between us and our workmates would get us back to the best version of ourselves, but perhaps this was over-romanticised and the reality may not quite have matched up (for those that have returned).
Whatever scenario we find ourselves in, whether in a hybrid workforce, fully remote or anything in between, it’s vital that we find our voice and have faith in our ability to open up. We need to feel confident that there will be no stigma. That being open and honest is only going to reward and help us, rather than impact us negatively. In order to achieve this, workplaces, managers and HR alike have a real task ahead of them of creating a culture of trust, openness and enacting wellbeing support, wherever it’s needed, whenever it’s needed.
While sitting down with your workmates and having a conversation about your mental health may seem difficult at the moment, even farfetched in some workplaces, we’re certainly seeing some positive changes in the field of employee wellbeing support.
Planning out times where you and your co-workers can have an open chat each week about how you’re feeling at the moment can be really helpful to everyone’s mental health. Those few little moments every so often where you can express yourself in a safe environment can pay dividends.
Working alongside this, the GoVox Wellbeing Check-In is enabling organisations to identify, connect with and support employees that may benefit from some more in depth, specialist and targeted wellbeing support. This proactive approach has completely flipped employee and workplace wellbeing support on its head. It’s pretty impressive to think that wellbeing has evolved from yoga and fruit to tech-enabled solutions paving the way to a happier, healthier workplace.
Anything that can be done to increase and win trust, open up conversations around mental health and ultimately ensure people are supported and thriving can only be a good thing.