Mental Health at Work

Mental Health at Work

It’s Mental Health week this week and this had my mind wondering about how we, Michael, Dave and I are able to spot anything that could be a mental health problem in the workplace and how we might be able to adapt our systems and processes to support someone.

It’s easy to say “well surely you would know if someone had a mental Health problem” but it depends what you mean by Mental Health. As far as I understand, it can range from being stressed over something at work or in our social lives to becoming clinically depressed and having a complete mental breakdown.

People who own their own businesses can have a whole host of things that can cause stress, and this stress can manifest into physical illness if we’re not careful.

* financial worries – perhaps getting too close to the overdraft limit and having no sales coming in for a while to cover invoices that need paying

* staffing problems – for example lack of resources to complete jobs to satisfy customers

* unhappy staff – staff with personal problems etc.

These things can amount to plenty of stress for the business owner. So what’s the answer – well if I knew that I’d be doing a very different role to the one I have now!

However, I do know that we can easily bring stress on ourselves simply by being unorganised. If the systems in the business are not efficient or effective this can cause stress for all concerned – the business owner, the staff and customers will all suffer causing even more stress.

But how would we know if a member of staff had a mental health problem? Regular meetings on a 1-1 basis can help especially if you have a good rapport with your team members. Understanding things that might be wrong at home can mean that you might be able to make some allowances at work until things improve.

We know our team well so if someone is getting a bit snappy or they are unusually quiet, or their works not up to standard its easy to take them to one side and ask if there is a problem that we can help with. Stress can easily become depression and this can take many forms and it’s not always easy to spot, so I think that good open communication channels are really important.

Getting the team to work together is really important here because sometimes others in the team might need to pick up the slack for a while and offer a bit of moral support. If I had someone I was really worried about I would encourage them to take some time out and get professional help.

Promoting mental wellness to my mind is the best way to ensure that our team has positive mental health. Work can be fun but still remain professional. We encourage the team to talk to each other. We arrange team activities that enable them to work and play together. A meal out and inviting partners does it for us. BBQ’s in the summer or simply finishing work early if it’s hot and quiet also help.

Every business owner will agree that keeping customers happy is a top priority, but we need to remember that our staff are our customers and they need attention too.

I’d love to hear what you do to help your team to have positive mental health?…

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