Promoting Good Mental Health at Work

Promoting Good Mental Health at Work

“We talk about mental health as if it’s disconnected from our bodies – it’s not.’

Cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety reached nearly half a million in 2016-17, causing 12.5 million working days to be lost.

But despite this being a ‘record high’ and awareness also increasing of the problem in the boardroom, businesses are still struggling to put the proper support in place.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we spoke with Grace Graham, founder of WorkSpa, focused on providing practical relaxation in the workplace. The aim is to help UK Plc reduce and prevent mental illness at work.

It is perhaps inappropriate that our knowledge of how to help people deal with mental health has risen at the same time as we are seeing record levels of people experiencing problems.

And I’m pretty sure every HR in the country will be aware of the theory that if employees feel valued in work environments that support their mental health, the more likely to have higher levels of well-being and productivity.

This is especially keen as evidence informs us of the benefits of having a robust and influential mental health well-being strategy in place.

One that sticks in my mind goes as far back as 2007 when BT implemented such a strategy which led to a 30% reduction in mental health-related sickness absence and a return to work rate of 75% for people absent for more than six months with mental health.

So why is the country facing what can easily be called an epidemic and what can be done to turn the tide?

In my three years of working with businesses, I have found the four most essential strategies to creating a successful programme are:

  1. Promoting well-being.
  • As with all big strategic decisions, having your leadership on board is paramount to the programme’s success. if a CEO is inclusive around tackling mental health, this makes life a lot easier
  • However, as part of this process, it helps to eliminate top-down ideologies and promote a dialogue where all are included in mental health. Giving employers a voice around what strategies they feel are beneficial to their mental health and well-being is really where the answer lies.
  • Policies relating to mental health and well-being should be integrated into all procedures such as health and safety, sickness, absences and return to work. This could be facilitated by implementing supportive policies that attempt to be preventative rather than punitive.
  1. Involving employees in the discussion around mental health and well-being.
  • Create a safe environment to discuss—some of the challenges your employees face and what strategies they may already be using. Make wellbeing a part of the plan during team meetings.
  • Mentoring and buddy scheme, it is not always easy for employees to open up to managers. Appoint a trusted and experienced person for your employees to take their private concerns to around mental health and stress issues at work
  1. Dismantling stigma
  • We all have mental health just as we do physical health. A discussion needs to be had around how we support the diversity of our employee’s needs. Mental health is a broad spectrum and cannot be treated with one solution; once you find out the needs of your team, this will enable you to build the right strategies.
  • Bring a speaker in who has dealt with mental health to discuss their employees’ strategies. Do not allow the elephant in the room to roam!
  1. Providing well-being services, Mind and body
  • A clear distinction is often made between ‘mind’ and ‘body’. We talk about mental health as if it’s disconnected from our bodies – it’s not.
  • It’s perhaps easier to see how mental health can affect physical health, but the opposite is true. Rates of depression double in people living with diabetes, high blood pressure and hearts problems; for example, 30% of those with a long term physical health condition also have a mental health problem.
  • Implementing monthly and weekly services such as on-site chair massage, yoga, and mindfulness will not only have huge effects on the health of your employees. At the same time, create an environment where your employees feel cared for and valued.

Ultimately, this is not something that will go away by itself. We need to inspire people to feel better and implement structures that support an ethos of open communication. As long as employees are given the freedom to have their say and the business is willing to act on it, the desired culture – and the wider business – can prosper.

 

Mental Health in Times of Change

Mental Health in Times of Change

COVID-19 has changed our society overnight. With the increased anxiety around our health and the health of our loved ones, employment, and dealing with isolation, taking care of our mental health is more important than ever. Coping with change can be difficult, but there are ways that we can manage our wellbeing – here are our top five tips.

  1. Accept change.

During this time, we may feel less in control than ever, and while we thrive on stability, the first step is to accept that the world will continue to change. Note how you feel about these changes in a journal or a moment of meditation.

  1. Find stability.

Create a routine around the things you enjoy. This could be waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day or even doing one activity little and often. Remember to schedule in time to do the things you love.

  1. Find your support system.

Social distancing does not mean we should disconnect from one another. Stay connected with your friends and family by having a video call or even planning a Netflix Party.

  1. Take a break.

With so much time at home, we spend more time looking at screens than ever, and the media can be overwhelming. Try to limit your screen time using apps or schedule a phone-free hour every day.

  1. Take care of yourself.

It’s easy to forget to look after ourselves in times of change. Try to monitor your diet and take any supplements or medication as needed. Aim for 8 hours of sleep a night with at least an hour without screens before you go to bed. If you are able, try to get some fresh air and exercise. Maybe go on a mindful walk, noticing what you see, hear and smell. Finally, find something that calms you. Meditation or reading works for some – do what works best for you!

We are all dealing with change, so finding what works for you is essential. How do you manage your mental health during times of change?

Finding the balance with Fujitsu

Finding the balance with Fujitsu

The facts

The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/2017 was 526,000 a prevalence rate 0f 1,610 per 100,000 workers.*

*(HSE) Health and Safety Executive: 2017

Well-being at work

It is always incredibly refreshing when a company considers the well-being of its employees in the workplace.

The days where the workforce was worked into the ground and then presented with a carriage clock at the end of their service have thankfully dwindled away; but still many companies are doing very little to ensure the health and well-being of their workforce.

Fujitsu, a leading global Information Technology organisation, takes a proactive approach to encouraging employees to manage their own wellness, and invests in equipment and programmes to help them to do so. One such initiative involved Fujitsu inviting WorkSpa to their London and Edinburgh offices to carry out massage on-site as part of their wellness programme.

Massage in the workplace

Introducing corporate massage into your company has a positive impact both physically and mentally on staff and this was evident immediately during our time at Fujitsu.

Employees provided instant feedback that they appreciated the consideration Fujitsu was giving to helping them manage their wellbeing and reduce risks caused by the working environment.

Following their massage many said that they felt instant benefit; less tension and increased energy levels. After advice and stretch techniques were demonstrated to them by WorkSpa’s therapist, they were confident that they would be more mindful of their posture when working in future.

WorkSpa’s therapist provided a ‘Desk Stretch’ leaflet for employees to keep on their desk, informing them about simple stretch techniques to do throughout the working day to help prevent the postural demands of sitting for long hours.

Fujitsu well ahead!

Fujitsu has a positive and proactive approach to well-being and has already adapted the working environment with tools such as sit/stand desks, laptop rising kits and various other healthcare benefits.

WorkSpa’s compact ergonomically designed chairs ideally fit discreetly in to any workspace. Fujitsu’s impressive open plan office floor in London was the perfect setting for us to show just how easy it is to successfully massage clients anywhere; our therapist used wireless headphones to block out the hustle and bustle of the office, allowing employees to gain maximum benefits from their treatment.

It was an absolute pleasure to work with and support an organisation that is pioneering in its approach to providing a more productive, inspiring and happier working environment for its employees – congratulations Fujitsu!

Wellbeing at Wayfair

Wellbeing at Wayfair

About Wayfair

Wayfair is an American company that sells home goods, the company was founded in 2002 and now sells many home furnishings and décor items. Wayfair has offices and warehouses throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

WorkSpa has been supporting the wellbeing of the employees of Wayfair through the regular use of on-site chair massage.

WorkSpa attend Wayfair office in Angel, a wonderful space with lots of natural light, cool and funky décor. The environment is employee friendly, with comfortable desk areas and a large eating space with posters promoting health and well-being.

Wayfair believe in the on-going development of their employee’s health at work. Implementing a range of strategies such as massage, yoga, healthy snacks and well-being tips.

As a company they have created a calm and caring culture which encourages their employees to be conscious of their health and to encourage participation in a range of activities while at work, a great work life balance.

Massage at Wayfair

When WorkSpa attend the Wayfair office there is an overwhelming sense of a caring community. Enthusiastic employees, eager and excited to take part in their treatments.

Wayfair provide ergonomically designed desks to help combat discomfort caused by sitting or standing for extended periods and also collaborate with WorkSpa to offer treatments which help staff to feel more energetic and supple.

WorkSpa therapists use a unique blend of massage techniques from Deep Tissue to Acupressure Points, which enables each treatment to be highly effective in releasing tension in a shorter space of time.

Employees describe feeling more energetic, less tense and refocused after their treatments.

Hear what the Wayfair employees think

“We recently had the lovely team from WorkSpa visit our office and provide 15 minute long massages to weary team members. This was such a fantastic experience for our team and we found ourselves more relaxed and comfortable at a few minutes beneath their magic fingers. We would highly recommend this dynamic and innovative company and really look forward to working with them again.”

It gives us great pleasure to be able to support a company that puts the well-being of their employees at the forefront of their companies policies. After all happy employees make for a happy and more productive company.

Corporate massage events-The Great London Fund for The Blind

Corporate massage events-The Great London Fund for The Blind

A social, fundraising sporting event: WorkSpa currently provide a yearly service for ‘The Greater London Fund for the Blind’ This Social/sporting occasion has two important elements: Firstly it enables corporate sponsors Koch to welcome and entertain commodity brokers and traders from all parts of the globe. Secondly the event raises vital funds (now in excess of £150,000) towards the provision of essential services for blind and partially sighted children and adults throughout our capital city. “Each year The Greater London Fund for the Blind organises a high profile corporate charity football event. This year it will take place within the grounds of Kensington Palace. On such occasions, and with the experience gained as a former GB athlete, I do not have to think twice before inviting WorkSpa a qualified team of thoroughly professional masseurs who always exudes a positive ‘can do attitude’ to come along as part of my team”. RE ‘Cass’ Edwards, Chief Executive GLFB A massage day at Kensington Palace: Every year for the past 5 years WorkSpa have been welcomed with a sunny day in October. Awaiting us is the beautiful grounds of Kensington Palace which makes our massage therapists job even more enjoyable. Once are massage chairs are set up under the canopy we watch the bankers eagerly prepare themselves for the football match. It does not take long before the wounded shoulders come over for some muscle release with our wonderful WorkSpa therapists. Our therapists perform session of 15/20 minutes of the back, neck, head and shoulder, just enough time to get the bankers revitalised and ready for round two. Cass Edwards does his caring walk around ensuring everybody is comfortable, watered and happy. Cass and his family work effortlessly creating a sophisticated and worm atmosphere for all the families attending, supporting their loved ones playing Football. WorkSpa have built up a great rapport with many of the clients over the years, enabling our therapists to offer more tailored treatment to the individual clients. At the end of a successful day an array of beautifully crafted sandwiches and puddings await the tried but cheerful bankers. The cup is given to the winning team by a surprised guest. Followed by some heartfelt speeches acknowledging why we are here, to raise money for the blind and partially sighted children and adults throughout our capital city. While giving thanks to the wonderful work Cass Edwards and his family do for this great charity. It is a great pleasure to be a part of such a beautiful event and work alongside such caring and passionate people.