15.8 million working days lost due to mental health issues – Are we paying enough attention?

 

According to the latest ONS figures, mental health issues (including stress, depression and anxiety) resulted in 15.8 million working days lost in 2016*.

It seems a rather rare thing for employers to priorities your health and wellbeing, doesn’t it? There are lots of trendy companies out there that have the fridges stocked, a pool table in the kitchen and a PlayStation in reception; but is this really the answer to mental health that we want to see and should it not go deeper than that? Is it all just one big show, or is there some kind of substance to alleviate these levels of anxiety and stress from employers, that people take on from their jobs?

It’s no secret, businesses haven’t always prioritised the health and wellbeing of their employees. With longer working hours, increased stress levels and being sat in front of your laptop at the same desk all day long, it’s no wonder people can begin to feel unhealthy and burnt out. Everyone needs to pay attention to their health and wellbeing, full-stop. It’s easy to overlook, but we need to pay more attention to ourselves too, otherwise we won’t be able to perform at our best in our personal and working lives. With that in mind, isn’t it time we all start taking our health and wellbeing seriously?

At Revium we have all the trendy gadgets, games and the stocked fridges, but it’s the substance behind them that shows Revium take health and wellbeing seriously. The culture is built on trust, not peering over your shoulder every five minutes; meaning our happiness levels, performance and productivity are improving all the time.

Since I joined Revium I’ve felt a real difference in culture, from that of any other organisations. The level of commitment to work, from myself, but also from the people that I work with every day has is inspiring. They make our employee experience a priority, and we’re encouraged to share our thoughts, to improve our working environment for the better. The onus is not just one for the employer, it’s also about us highlighting the issues and sharing what could help make things easier.

Revium capture a great amount of feedback by hosting regular employee forums to help make improvements to the employee experience. The meetings pay particular attention to health, wellbeing and our culture. It’s been a real focus that the business has championed and as a result of the open and honest dialogue, has helped us to better work together as one big tribe, and improve our environment.

I know what you may be thinking, with an employee forum it’s not fully suited to introverts and how do you get through those difficult discussions? It’s taken practice, but it’s an open and honest conversation, no judgements. We also know what the outcomes can be and the value that they hold, so it’s worth getting out of your comfort zone for.

They also do a quarterly Yourview Survey, an anonymous survey that gages everything from health and wellbeing, to stress levels and even things like leadership within the business. They give our leaders vital stats to really focus and pin point the areas of health and wellbeing, that need to be supported throughout the business units and the teams.

There are regular 1-2-1’s with our line managers to ensure we are always focused on the right goals and objectives for the business. This can really help to make sure we are super clear and stops any confusion straight away. They’re open and honest times to be able to share feedback, both positive and constructive, they identify minor issues quickly and stops them from getting bigger through discussion. The 1-2-1’s help us feel more motivated because we’re quite simply listened to and not just a number in the system.

For those that would prefer not to do a face-to-face, we have the EAP which is offered as a benefit to all employees. It is a completely confidential advice line that offers free advice on a range of things. They also offer an online service. Its not necessarily all doom and gloom and can be a useful tool for vital “life stuff” such as mortgages, will writing and saving money.

We’re encouraged to take our holiday allowance for our own benefit, which is a refreshing take on holiday. In the past I’ve felt guilty about taking it, but we’ve even been given super break discounts to encourage us to actually take a break and enjoy the time we have with friends and family.

Revium know how expensive family life can be, especially with full-time childcare, which is the reason why we’ve been given useful benefits like Childcare vouchers. In addition to this Revium also provide us with Westfield Healthcare and free eye checks. These are things that aren’t in most employer’s arsenal of helpful tools, and really help with improving happiness, productivity and performance. It’s not just listening to our concerns that makes the difference, it’s the acting on them that makes us as employees feel less like worker bees and more like valued individuals.

It’s easy to say that our employers should do a lot more to help with mental health, but as individuals we need to get better at talking about it and sharing our experiences. We need to tackle the problem together and ensure everyone makes mental health and wellbeing as a priority. The amount of organisations doing this and proactively introducing incentives and benefits to help is slowly growing, which is a positive sign. I’m hopeful we’ll soon start to see a reduction of lost days though illness, anxiety and stress, and more productivity and happier people, because life’s too short.

Thanks for listening!

Jessica Hamersteen – Marketing & Comms

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