In this article, Artic shares how to improve work culture with mental health awareness in the facilities management industry
Mental health issues are an inevitable part of life and can impact anyone. You need to be well-prepared to help any employees through challenging times.
At Artic, we are always on the lookout for the best ways to support our staff, as happy staff play an important part in our success. It’s our responsibility to provide our workforce with what they need to feel mentally supported.
Wellbeing and mental health in the workplace are big topics for any industry to tackle. According to the HSE, in 2020/21 work-related stress, depression, and anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health. The knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still here two years on. We need to be even more considerate about people’s mental wellbeing than ever before.
Mental health awareness is vital to ensure a healthy and happy workplace in the FM industry. People need a supportive workplace environment but also education on how to help their own mental wellbeing. Talking about mental health in an honest way can eliminate any negative stigmas.
Facilitate simple workplace changes to be well-equipped to support your staff and increase mental health awareness. Give your staff confidence these measures are for their benefit, and they won’t suffer any consequences for being open with their feelings. Everyone is different, so we recommend having a range of mental health support systems in place. Be aware of any noticeable changes in your colleagues’ behaviour and remind people they are always supported – with no judgement.
Here are 6 simple tips on better mental health awareness in the fast-paced facilities management industry.
Having time away from your desk or workspace is important for everyone’s mental wellbeing, giving you time to decompress. Encourage employees to take regular breaks and stretch their legs. And no, taking a toilet break doesn’t count…
Make it a rule they should have a conscious lunch break where they stop any work-related tasks. Suggest taking phone calls on a walk to stretch their legs (either in the building or outside). Getting out into nature is a proven way to reduce stress.
Set up regular support groups to raise mental health awareness. Having “coffee hours” can be a great support and holding these at set times and places for consistency is important. Providing a safe space where people can talk to peers about difficulties they are having, can reduce stress and mental illness. You can recommend other support groups available such as Mental Health UK or Mind.
Rising concerns around mental health awareness across the workplace have created a demand for mental health first aid courses. If you haven’t already, send multiple team members on a course to support your staff. It’s easy to book and they’re available across the country. Mental health first aiders are trained in spotting changes in behaviour and signs of declining mental wellbeing. By noticing these early, you’ll be in a better position to help and support your team.
Set solid boundaries with your employees to help their mental health. Discourage work outside regular hours and prevent late night emails or phone calls. This allows employees to switch off and have all important time for themselves. The Mental Health Foundation has more information around creating a good work-life balance.
The Facilities Management industry can change quickly. Be mindful that dumping lots of unexpected tasks on your employees will increase stress levels. Where possible, provide well-planned days and comfortable deadlines. If you notice someone with a higher workload than usual, offer them extra support.
Show employees how they can effectively manage their time by planning tasks in advance. Use simple methods such as at the end of each day spending ten minutes to plan tomorrow. Being organised helps to reduce stress and allows you to switch off, keeping your mental health in check.
Don’t overlook this simple but effective solution that keeps our brains functioning how they should. Include education around good nutrition in mental health awareness training. Encourage a healthy lifestyle in the workplace where possible, as dehydration is linked to anxiety.
With dedicated mental health first aiders, Artic staff know who to turn to in a time of need, encouraging all the above points. Regular, honest mental health awareness conversations stop employees from suffering in silence.
We also provide a free app for employees, called ‘Health Assured’, where you can add personal health metrics and set trackable goals. It gives useful wellbeing tips for employees with rewards for progress.
Hopefully, this gave you an insight into how you can make a positive impact in your employees. Start prioritising your company’s mental health awareness today. Download our wall graphic for the office.