When you hear the words Mental Health what do you think of? Some things positive and some negative. Mental health is a subject that has long been ostracised due to the notion and uncertainty that follows. It is essentially our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, act and feel and therefore determines and influences everything that pertains to us; how we relate to others and the way in which we view ourselves and others. Affecting our psyche, mentality and our general lives, this in turns effects our workplaces. As professionals, we aspire to work productively, interact well with our colleagues and clients because we desire to be consistent in how we work, consciously making an effort to contribute to our practices, workplaces and spheres of contact.
Although the stability of our mental health may fluctuate continuously, it usually rises and falls. Considering a variation of factors such as stress, pressure, fatigue, experiences, etc; these affect our mental health and may cause us to experience ill mental health from time to time. It’s perfectly okay to not always be okay. Based on a wide scale, ill mental health can range from feeling a bit down, to conditions such as anxiety and depression to more severe conditions. Within our society, we have built and followed patterns of social constructionism. One that paints a picture, that we must be constantly be on cloud nine or appear to be so due to the fact that our peers, colleagues, family and friends all seem to be doing okay, appear to be happy and content. In a society where we have made perfection the epitome of life, we feel as though we should have the perfect life, as relative as that may be. The perfect family, job, partner and so forth. These ideals, constructs and expectations plague as with the fear of failure and constant bouts of anxiety, putting immense pressure and stress particularly on our minds. As stated before, we all experience stress, pressure, depression, etc, but it is also our duty to draw awareness to it and to find and create solutions in which these can be reduced especially within the office environment.
We must begin to make our wellness a priority whether employer or employee, client or designer.
Within the office environment we undoubtedly experience these from time to time, as we may be overwhelmed with stress, deadlines, meetings and high expectations from our clients, colleagues, our managers and particularly ourselves. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the cost of mental health to employers within the UK is between £33 million and £42 million each.
Ill Mental Health within the office environment can have detrimental effects such as
Finding it hard to concentrate therefore reducing levels of productivity
Finding it hard to juggle and balance tasks
Feeling demotivated therefore affecting other colleagues and the atmosphere within the office
Taking longer to complete tasks, delaying completion dates and deadlines
Being impatient with others therefor creating tension and an uncomfortable environment
We need to develop a workplace culture where the topic of mental health becomes a normalised open conversation that employees can have with their colleagues and even their managing directors.
Below are just a few steps and processes we implement here at WILL+ Partners taking our wellbeing seriously.
Planning a range of activities and outings particularly out of the office that break up our routine which can be mundane and monotonous
Educating staff and directors hence removing any stigma attached to mental health
Encouraging healthy behaviours, taking breaks when needed and having lunch away from their desks.
Having a personal business coach that sees each employee frequently to discuss personal development plans, personal growth – that both affects them, the company and overall wellbeing. This ensures that they are able to meet with a professional who coaches them, creates an open dialogue for improvements within their workplace and generally encourages them to continue to do what they do whilst being great. Why? Because wellness matters and its about time we took it seriously.