Mental Health in the Workplace
16th of May 2019 | Charlie Bailey
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and as a recruitment agency, we thought we’d take the opportunity to discuss mental health in the workplace. One in four people in the UK face an issue with mental health every year, which ranges from anxiety to suicidal thoughts, and everything in between.
According to the Bellwether Report (2019), 66% of solicitors experience high stress levels, with 1 in 4 thinking that more can be done to support them in the workplace. High stress levels can often lead to poor mental health if not managed effectively.
This raises the obvious question as to what can, and arguably should, be done in workplaces around the country to help manage mental health of, not just solicitors, but all other employees. The Stevenson/Farmer review (2017) outlines six mental health core standards that all employers, regardless of size, can implement quickly. These are:
- Produce, implement, and communicate a mental health at work plan.
- Develop mental health awareness among employees.
- Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling.
- Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development.
- Promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors.
- Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
Law Staff Legal Recruitment is a company that really does its best to look after its employees, and, despite only having been here a month and a half, I’ve noticed that the company cares.
Produce, implement, and communicate a mental health at work plan
The company’s employee handbook, which is distributed to employees before they start their work, has many policies. One such policy is the Stress at Work Policy, which outlines the responsibilities and company attitude towards stress, which aims to provide methods that minimise stress in the workplace, and, as a result, also minimise mental health issues.
Develop mental health awareness among employees/Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling
Our company encourages open conversations about mental health, workload and how we are coping with our working routines. We have regular meetings to ensure that time management is as good as it can be, and that people are coping well with their workload. We always remind our employees that a work life balance is healthy and a way to stay mentally healthy and happy. We regularly check that our employees are comfortable with their routines and try to accommodate for all individual needs and demands.
Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development
One of the great things that I’ve found about working at Law Staff Legal Recruitment is that it’s like a family. It’s a small enough company that I quickly got to know everyone here. The company also organises regular social events, which, if anything, only encourages the tight-knit culture. They have a strong belief that good relationships outside of the office encourage good working and social relationships within the office.
Promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors
Law Staff Legal Recruitment has a clearly structured office chart, circulated to everyone in the office on a regular basis. As a result of this, everyone knows who their line manager or supervisor is. This makes it clear for employees to know who to talk to should any problems come up, professional or otherwise. On top of this, communication lines are kept as open as possible for easy access to managers and supervisors.
Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing
Managers constantly check on employee’s wellbeing and mental health. If there are ever any concerns or potential problems, they are addressed immediately. Employees attendance is also monitored with “Back to work" meetings, ensuring that mental health is always being looked after.
We strongly believe that a happy work environment is half of the battle towards keeping a healthy mind. An environment where the freedom to talk about feelings and challenges is promoted. A problem shared is a problem halved.
If you are struggling with mental health, please get help. There are several confidential services that offer support to those struggling. The NHS provides an extensive list of helplines that you can call for help. If you're a legal professional, do not hesitate to get in touch with LawCare