Business Meeting.

“Are you okay?” The importance of having an open-door policy

Leaders are under increasing pressure to ensure the wellbeing of their staff is being taken seriously. Often, many will think that a monthly or quarterly 1-2-1 with their employees is enough. Unfortunately, in most cases, it’s not.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Team meeting / laughing.

“Are you okay” is becoming a meaningless expression in the UK.

If you ask someone “are you okay?” in passing, the last thing you would expect, or you probably want – is the person stopping you to actually tell you how they are getting on with life.

It’s because of this that leaders have to take a more practical approach to check in with staff, as “are you okay?” once in a while may be seen in the UK as flippant.

On the other hand, the person who is being asked this question may not know how to properly respond as a common response is often something along the lines of “all good” – even when they’re not.

So What Should Leaders Do?

The pressure shouldn’t be on leaders regarding this, as they are not trained counsellors / therapists, however, they can easily put effective measures in place to really support staff and make sure that line managers have had the relevant training to understand the supporting offer and work with it hand in hand.

One simple example would be to arrange sessions for all staff or specific departments with a mental health specialist on hand, often with a small presentation on a wellbeing topic to set the scene, before going into a group discussion with an informal and relaxed Q&A.

Group Discussion.

For those team members who prefer or need a 1-2-1 conversation, making sure their team leader and one of your companies mental health first aiders are present after these sessions for a ‘drop in’ also goes a long way. To ensure this is really effective take the next step and empower the mental health first aiders with Carecoins.

How Does A Group Session Help?

By bringing in a specialist on mental wellbeing, you’re showing your employees that you care about them, and as a business, you’re taking the mental wellbeing of your team seriously.

This will often give your employees the confidence to speak up about issues that may be affecting them, and therefore their work.

However, for those few who feel uncomfortable speaking up – making sure your leaders are aware of how they can spot mental health issues in the workplace is key.

How Company Wellbeing Helps Staff Retention

Some companies might forget that their staff are not just their employees, but that they are also people with their own personal lives outside of the workplace. Often, aspects of our work life can impact our personal life and vice versa.

For example, if you’ve just had a disagreement with a family member and your next action is to jump on a zoom call for work – you might not be 100% present. On the other hand, you could be stressed at work, and take it out on the ones you love most.

Providing your employees with a company culture of showing that you care for their wellbeing will give them the confidence to talk about issues that they’re up against in their lives at present.

Colleagues catching up / working.

Whilst in the past, a stressed employee may look to find another job (and might often be searching for a new job during work hours) – showing you care would allow the same employee to work through their issues and become a better member of the team once they’re past it, or have a better handle on the issue.

With lockdown restrictions easing and companies looking at when they can re-open, offices will likely spark anxiety in some staff. SMEs are finding a 68% increase of reports by staff of mental wellbeing issues since the pandemic began. There doesn’t seem like a better time than the present to start taking the mental wellbeing of your employees more seriously.

Are you big or small on wellbeing? Why company size doesn’t matter.

Staff wellbeing can apply to big or small companies. There are some small companies that do a lot for the mental wellbeing of their employees and there are some big companies that do nothing.

Big or small, if you’re ready to make meaningful changes to help your employee’s wellbeing, we would love to chat

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Do you have any further questions or queries regarding our services and the industries we work with? Reach out to the team by using our online contact form, calling 0300 002 0061, or via email at [email protected] and we’ll be more than happy to advise you.