World Mental Health Day 10th Oct 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day, aimed at raising awareness and educating people on a subject that has been too stigmatised for too long.  It’s an opportunity for us all to reflect on our own mental health and wellbeing and those around us. Unfortunately, mental ill health isn’t something that affects people for just one day a year, for some it really is something that affects them long term.

When we talk about Mental Health, what do we mean? Well in short it’s our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing – fundamentally the part of us that affects how we think, feel and act in certain situations. It determines how we handle stress, the choices we make and more importantly how we relate to others.

Mental illness can range from feeling a little down to debilitating anxiety and less commonly the severe conditions bi-polar or schizophrenia, but even feeling down can affect us and the people around us.  Most people will feel some level of stress or anxiety as our daily life throws different pressures and expectations at us, so never assume someone is always happy and never struggles with mental ill health as this will rarely be true.

The statistics show that 1 in 4 will experience mental ill health at some point in their lives and it is now a real issue that needs to be addressed and not swept under the carpet. Luckily awareness is on the increase and some big charities and household names are at the forefront of ensuring that we are all able to talk about our issues openly and promoting positive mental health.

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There are steps we can all put in place from employers and business owner to colleagues and peers to promote positive mental wellbeing in the workplace.  Below are just a few things that should be in place and we would encourage all employers and their employees to get involved, not just to help promote positive mental health in the workplace, but support those already suffering with mental ill health.

Employers

1. Take time to understand the impact to your business.

2. Ensure your managers are informed and aware, include training if necessary, but most importantly ensure they are open to having conversations with their employees.

3. Openly show that you are committed to positive mental health.

4. Deal with the issues that could be causing your workforce stress and anxiety.

5. Reduce negativity, tell people it’s ok to talk and reinforce that they won’t be punished as a result.

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Managers

1. Ensure you know how to handle a potentially difficult conversation effectively and don’t be afraid to ask for help if not.

2. Promote a positive work-life balance in your teams, and yourself too!

3. Don’t think you’re the expert because you’re a manager, really understand mental health and the issues associated with it.

4. Build a good relationship with your team – this is probably the most important; your employees need to feel like they can come to you.

Employees

1. What causes you anxiety? Do you really know what your stress triggers are? Think about it, and how you manage it in the workplace, or at home.

2. Look after your wellbeing, do things that you know make you feel positive and happy.

3. Take notice of your peers and support them.

4. Lastly but most importantly talk! Don’t keep things to yourself, if you are struggling let your manager know and then you can work together.

FACT: Stress is the major cause of long-term absence in manual and non-manual workers.

Let’s work together to change this and stop people suffering in silence.

If you need any help or advice on how to approach Mental Health in your workplace, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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New Year – New You – improve your mental wellbeing at work in five easy steps

Happy New Year, another year is over and we start 2018 afresh.  However, according to a YouGov survey last year, three in five employees have experienced mental health issues in the past year because of work; below we outline five steps that can be taken to improve wellbeing in the workplace.

1. How to identify your triggers

Mental health charity Mind says, working out what triggers stress or poor mental health can help you foresee problems and think of ways to solve them.

Take some time to reflect on events and feelings that could be contributing to your poor mental health. You might be surprised to find out just how much you’re coping with at once.

Triggers may well be problems with certain tasks at work, one-off events like doing presentations, as well as regular issues such as attending interviews and appointments.

Also be aware that not having enough work, activities or change in your life can be just as stressful a situation as having too much to deal with.

2. Manage your time

Managing when and where you work can be helpful, since 2014, all employees (not just parents and carers) have had the right to request flexible working for any reason, and this can include switching shifts, working different hours and sometimes working from home.

Working from home, for example, can mean you skip the commute and instead spend that travelling time with your family, exercising or even getting up slightly later (while still getting to work on time).

3. Switch off that mobile phone

Unlike in France where employees have the right to disconnect, in the UK many people feel they can’t switch off, which can be detrimental to mental health.

There’s no such thing as work/life balance, most people think about home life when at work and work life when at home so they become integrated.  But that doesn’t mean that you need to be “constantly on”; scrolling through work emails or your work social media accounts 24/7 doesn’t give your brain a break and can lead to problems.

When you leave work, actually leave work, this means turning off your work phone. Like a laptop, we need to switch ourselves off and recharge and it’s vital not to have your work phone near your bed at night, as it interrupts your sleep.

4. Eat, sleep, exercise – repeat

When you’re not at work, pack in plenty of healthy, nutritious food, sleep and exercise. We all know that these things can boost our mental and physical health.

Being outside can help, going for a 15-minute walk during the day helps clear the mind according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, even if it might be difficult to take breaks at work when you’re stressed, it can make you more productive.

5. Don’t be hard on yourself

Of course many people have demanding jobs and when you’re caught up in a cycle of relentless hours, it’s easy to be hard on yourself.

Often we don’t need our boss or colleagues to give us a hard time as we’re good at doing that ourselves.  If you’re struggling at work, give yourself some space. This could mean taking a few days off, requesting flexible working or getting some support outside of work but once you’ve had some space, you can make good choices.

If you need any further help or guidance on wellbeing in the workplace, get in touch with HR Revolution, give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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A version of this article first appeared on theguardian.com

 

 

Is your desk job killing you… 10 tips for physical activity in the workplace

We’ve been talking a lot lately about health and well-being in the office, so when we came across this blog from System Concepts, we just had to share it!

Did you know that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day can increase your risk of premature death by up to 60%, (worryingly, it is estimated that lack of physical activity is responsible for 5 million deaths globally, each year) as recent research published in the Lancet highlighted.

The research is based on a review of more than 1 million people from 16 different studies, and should be required reading for everyone involved in employee well-being and organisational health and safety.

It shows that increased time sitting is a major risk factor for morbidity (predominantly heart disease and cancer) as well as premature mortality.   In the research, mortality rates among those who sat for at least eight hours a day and managed less than five minutes’ activity were 9.9%. This compares with a mortality rate of 6.2% among those who spent just as long seated, but who managed around 60 minutes’ of activity per day.

Researchers concluded that 60-75 minutes of medium intensity physical activity per day seems to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time.

So if you have a desk job and can’t avoid long periods of sitting each day, here are 10 tips for physical activity at work that will help you to stay safe.

  1. Use your commute to do some extra walking. Park several roads away, or get off the bus a few stops early.
  2. Use the stairs instead of the lift.
  3. Go to speak to a colleague in person rather than emailing or phoning them.
  4. Suggest holding meetings with colleagues during a walk inside or outside the building.
  5. Exercise during your breaks, e.g. visit the gym at lunchtime or take a quick walk during your morning/afternoon coffee break.
  6. Plan your day to break up long spells of working on your computer with tasks requiring movement, e.g. printing, filing etc.
  7. Drink plenty of water. Sipping water thought the day will mean more trips to the bathroom.
  8. Go the extra distance when possible: get your coffee/water on another floor (use the stairs) or use the toilets that are the farthest from your desk.
  9. Stand while talking on the telephone, and do a few stretches.
  10. Organise the layout of your office space in such a way that you have to stand up to reach often-used files or your printer, rather than having everything within easy reach.

Thanks to System Concepts for this great blog, just what we wanted to say!

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