Tech the Halls – Boost your employees’ mental wellbeing

By Matt Hayes | 3rd December 2023

In the fifth of our ‘Tech the Halls’ series, we’re going to talk about how to boost your employees’ mental wellbeing.

As we enter the festive period – notorious for seasonal affective disorder, how can employers help support and protect employees’ mental wellbeing?

3 in 10 Brits claim their mental health takes a complete ‘nosedive’ over the Christmas period, largely due to pressures such as money, entertaining guests and keeping others happy – according to a new poll.

Whether it’s financial worries, loneliness, poor health or difficult situations or relationships, Christmas can be a challenging time for many.

In this blog, Tech the Halls – Boost your employees’ mental wellbeing, we’re offering practical advice for employers to promote and support positive mental health and to help employees cope with Christmas.

1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (14.7%). [Mental Health Foundation]

 

More than half of UK workers are ‘running on empty,’ with burnout, mental ill health, and work-related stress now costing the economy £28 billion annually. [Personnel Today]

 

Since the pandemic, whilst many work places have increased their focus on mental health, 1 in 3 employees still feel that mental health support in their workplace is inadequate and would like more support from their employers.

 

 

How does employees’ mental health impact your organisation?

Everyone has mental wellbeing. Far too many of us are aware of the negative impact on our work, and those around us when our mental health flags.

Similarly, within organisations, poor employee mental health negatively impacts:

  1. Innovation

54% of employees in the tech industry work more on the weekends and in the evenings than before Covid.

  1. Retention

89% of employees with mental health issues say it impacts their working life. More than half of these have considered resigning from a job because it negatively impacted their mental wellbeing.

  1. Productivity

79% of UK employees feel close to burnout (this rises to 82% in the tech industry)

And what do all these factors impact? Profit – or lack thereof.

Unlock the value of positive employee mental health

Caring for the mental health of tech employees is not just seasonal but a year-round commitment. Now’s your opportunity to make a positive start as we enter a challenging period for many.

The reality is, that it is a difficult topic, and many people feel ill-equipped to support their employees.

70% of managers cited organisational barriers to supporting staff wellbeing, including company policy, heavy workload, unsupportive workplace culture, and not being equipped with the right skills. [Deloitte]

But, starting somewhere is key.

Inclusive and actionable efforts is vital to moving the needle.

Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Promote work-life balance

Encourage employees to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life. Implement policies that discourage after-hours work and facilitate ample time for rest and relaxation.

  1. Create true flexible working arrangements

Offer flexible hours and the option to work from home to help employees to manage their personal commitments and reduce stress related to commuting and rigid schedules. Where possible take this a step further and offer flexible working options that suits the differing needs of your employers.

  1. Provide mental health resources

Make mental health resources readily available, including access to counselling services and educational materials about mental health, leveraging the many structured organisations that offer these services.

  1. Train management in mental health support

Equip managers and leaders with the training to recognise signs of mental health struggles and offer initial support or direction, providing the tools they need to confidently open communication lines in the most sympathetic way.

  1. Recognise and reward hard work

A thank you goes a long way. Acknowledge the hard work of your employees regularly. Recognition can boost morale and reduce feelings of being undervalued or unseen. Recognition is not only for the star performers. Every employee plays their part on moving a company forward and small acts of kindness keeps talent motivated.

  1. Encourage mental health days

Develop an environment that encourages employees to take mental health days off in addition to their regular leave, to rest and recharge, in whatever way facilitates positive mental health for them.

  1. Offer financial support

The cost of living is taking its toll nationally. Being able to provide access to financial planning services or advice, can significantly and positively impact the mental health of your employees.

  1. Develop wellness workshops

Organise workshops where regular guest speakers are invited, welcoming employees to listen in on advice on topics like stress management, mindfulness, and resilience, from the professionals.

Making positive inroads

By implementing some of these proactive steps, businesses are well on the road to creating a more supportive, inclusive and mentally healthy workplace. This not only benefits employees on an individual level but also enhances the overall productivity, engagement, and retention within the company. It’s a win-win.

And before you know it, these small actions will become habit and positively complement the already great benefits that form part of your organisation’s culture, enabling you to attract the top tech talent you need.

If you want to run through any of these ideas or talk about what attracts top tech talent (and keeps them), we’d love to hear from you to discuss your options for successful people growth as you move into 2024.

Speak to our talented team of IT recruiters today.

Matt Hayes

Co-founder