Workplace Wellbeing - Guest Post by Julie Jones
Workplace Wellbeing: what does it mean for freelancers?
Workplace wellbeing is currently, finally becoming a hot topic with businesses beginning to recognise the link between poor workplace mental health and a decline in profits.
Mind’s recent Thriving at Work report says mental health issues cost the UK economy £99 billion a year. Figures such as these emphasise that employers take mental health seriously. Hopefully for wider reasons than profit, and as a responsible employer.
The Mental Health at Work Report 2017 says that three out of five employees (60%) have experienced poor mental health related to their employment. However, employees tend to feel reluctant to discuss their mental health with their employers for fear of the impact it will have upon their career. In fact, around 15% of people who did disclose faced disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal!
Figures such as these show mental health issues continue to be stigmatised in the workplace, although comparisons from last year’s report suggest that improvements are beginning to be made at least.
So, what can an employer do to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce? Firstly, it is imperative for people to recognise that we all have mental health and a whole range of factors, including workplace stress can cause our mental health to be poor. Raising awareness and understanding of what mental health is and how it can impact upon people is a great place to start.
Training in mental health awareness can provide an organisation with the relevant knowledge and skills of how to recognise a range of mental health issues, how to identify what might be contributing to poor mental health in the workplace and how to respond effectively. This can also help start conversations so that the topic of mental health becomes more normalised.
Staff can then begin to support one another and managers are better informed about how they can support staff and where to go for help.
Training can help an organisation look at its culture and practices and plan how to develop a workplace which promotes positive mental health and wellbeing. It can also help to recognise the individual needs of staff. Mental health needs to be given the same priority as physical health. It might be than an employee needs reasonable adjustments to be implemented to help them manage and work more effectively.
In addition, employers don’t need to face these issues alone. Signing up to things like an employee assistance programme can be a great way of ensuring staff have access to a range of support including therapy.
How does all this work when it comes to freelancers? Working alone can be isolating and frustrating. Indycube’s co-working concepts are definitely a big tick for good mental health in this sense. It’s great that there are opportunities to be part of a wider community and offer one another some friendly support.
I would be happy to offer any further advice and guidance to any Indycube member who is struggling or even training for the Indycube community. Let’s get the conversation started. Let’s talk about mental health. Feel free to contact me for any further advice or support.