Submitted by Julie Jones at Blackdog
Everyone’s talking about wellbeing in the workplace these days. With mental health absence estimated to cost the UK economy some 35 billion pounds its no wonder. It’s great to see so many businesses talking mental health and looking to be a more mentally healthy employer. But it can be a minefield as to what an employer needs to do and how to make sure it’s effective.
Last year’s Business in the Community’s Mental Health at Work report showed that many wellbeing initiatives were ‘failing to deliver’. In effect, a lot of businesses are addressing wellbeing on paper but how meaningful are they and how much difference are they making?
I set up my business Blackdog just over 2 years ago to address such issues. Part of implementing good workplace wellbeing practices is about supporting individual mental health. That’s imperative. But there’s another side too: That is, to consider the wellbeing of the organisation as whole. Sometimes it is useful to consider an organisation as one large beating organism. How it’s run, it’s values, it’s goals and ultimately everything it stands for are going to affect everyone within it. Wellbeing is about much more than having an open door and being willing to listen to say, a member of staff having a depression diagnosis; wellbeing is also about the bigger picture and creating a culture that creates a meaningful culture of wellbeing.
This can be complicated. We work in competitive environments where businesses are often just trying to survive. There are demands, deadlines and quite simply an organisation and individuals can tend to operate from a place of stress. This has an impact upon our brains causing us to manage situations from a fight or flight response. This is neither healthy or sustainable.
So what to do? My work over the past few years has shown me that a holistic approach is needed to support businesses to be mentally healthy. That is why I offer 3 things:
- Training and workshops that inform and support good mental health and wellbeing
- Individual therapy that is goal focused to help reduce things like stress but also help with factors like personal development
- Consultancy to help a business understand how they can improve their practices
Anything a business does in the name of wellbeing is a positive step. But to make a real difference it may just need to go that bit deeper.