It’s Mental Health Awareness Week. In celebration of this fantastic annual event, we’ve put together seven steps you can take to improve your wellbeing at work. Take a look at the list below to get started:
Reset your work-life balance
A recent Mental Health Foundation survey found that 40% of employees are neglecting various aspects of their life due to work – and a third of respondents felt unhappy or very unhappy about the amount of time they spent at work. Although achieving the right work-life balance isn’t always easy, it’s important to try to even the scales to take care of our wellbeing and mental health. Work-life balance isn’t something that’s achieved overnight – but there are a few quick changes that could make all the difference. This might mean arriving at the office (and leaving) at the time you’re supposed to, rather than being the first in and last out. Switching your phone or email notifications off when your working day is done could also help you to wind down and relax. If you’re looking for a structured, formal way to improve your work-life balance, you could consider a flexible working arrangement – find out more here.
Share your concerns with others
If you’re feeling stressed, trying to keep on top of everything by yourself will inevitably make you feel worse. As your to-do list gets longer, you’ll likely end up feeling more stressed and less productive – and feeling overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems (or make existing problems worse). The charity Mind says that stress can impede our concentration levels, make decision-making more difficult, and cause us to worry much more than usual.
If you’re feeling stressed, reach out to your colleagues and ask for help. Reducing your to-do list and dividing your workload into smaller, achievable goals could help you to achieve more in the long run, and will ensure that you don’t burn out. This goes both ways – if you notice that one of your colleagues has a lot on their plate, offer to support them where you can.
Tell your organisation what you need
In the recent Human Capital Trends research, Deloitte reported a ‘significant gap’ between the wellbeing initiatives being provided by organisations, and what employees actually want. For example, 86% of respondents said a flexible schedule was valuable or highly valuable – though only 50% of organisations offered this. A further 60% shared that they’d value mental health counselling – something which is offered by only 21% of employers.
If you’ve got an idea for a wellbeing initiative, why not mention it to your colleagues? You could send a company-wide email or an online survey to find out if others are interested in participating, and present your findings to your leaders and managers.
Mindfulness simply means paying attention to the present moment, from our thoughts and feelings to our immediate environment. Practicing mindfulness can literally change our brains; it’s been shown to improve concentration, reduce stress, and aid decision-making. Following the publication of numerous studies on the subject, many workplaces are encouraging this practice in countries all around the world. If you’re interested in getting started with mindfulness in your workplace, find out more here.
Improve your workspace
Many of us spend a huge proportion of our time at work – so shouldn’t we be making an effort to improve our working environment? In a survey from Office Genie, 74% of respondents said their workplaces don’t provide chill-out spaces for staff to relax in – and 20% stated that their workplace doesn’t allow them to carry out work comfortably. 30% of participants who identified as introverts believed a quiet area would benefit their wellbeing.
Are there changes you could make to your workplace to make it more appealing? It could be as simple as designating certain rooms as quiet work areas, or approaching your leaders to discuss options for introducing social areas or alternative workspaces. Ask your colleagues what they’d like to see – is there something you can change together, to make your workspace better for everyone?
Learn something new
If you’ve been planning to undertake further training and development, you could come away with more than just a new skill. Learning has been shown to improve our mental wellbeing and boost our self-esteem – so why not consider taking some time out to learn something new? Take a look at our recent blog on training and development here.
If you’re feeling bogged down, say no to any additional tasks that others ask you to take on. This is easier said than done, of course – but it’s important to set limits for yourself to take care of your wellbeing.
If you’re someone who often agrees to taking on extra work, this change can seem like a big one. Instead of immediately agreeing to a request, make sure you take time to consider how the additional work will affect your overall plan. If you decide you can’t take on any more, explain your reasons and make it clear that you’ll always help where you can – but this time, it’s a no.