During Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, take care of your own wellbeing… and that of your employees
To say the past year has been challenging would be an understatement. But as we look back on the challenges our organisations have overcome - and the ones we expect to face going forward - it's important to not lose sight of the fact that people are the lifeblood of any company.
COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of looking after our mental health - and that of our friends, family, and colleagues - on an ongoing basis, equipping ourselves with the tools we need to stay healthy, happy, and productive. Consider the following statistics from the UK's Office of National Statistics, based on a survey of more than 2,000 professionals in January 2021*. Of those surveyed:
- 69% had experienced moderate to high levels of stress throughout 2020
- 63% experienced some form of anxiety
- 73% regularly had trouble relaxing
- 58% had experienced some level of depression
- 90% cited the pandemic as having had a negative impact on their mental health, with 40% describing this as a moderate to severe impact, and 54% citing this as having had a negative effect on their work
It's clear that the challenges of 2021 have taken their toll on our nation's mental health, which means organisations have a moral obligation to provide their employees with the support they need, whether they're working remotely or at the office. At the same time, it's important that we, as individuals, make effective self-care a part of our daily routines.
To this end, Exponential-e have partnered with Care First to create an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), offering a range of online and counselling services to all our employees. Some of the wellness initiatives that make up this programme include:
- Mindful Mondays. A chance to spend thirty minutes in the company of leading mental health experts, exploring proven, powerful mindfulness strategies that help us stay present and engaged in all areas of our lives.
- Wellness Wednesdays. Weekly tips covering all aspects of wellness in our personal and professional lives, including nutrition, finance, and managing our emotions.
- Regular keep-fit sessions. As physical and mental health are inextricably linked, Care First have run weekly Pilates sessions and regular sessions with Vitality Coaches, ensuring employees have been able to keep healthy throughout lockdown, even with minimal equipment.
- Feelgood Fridays. A chance to interact with a range of coaches, experts, and guest speakers, covering all aspects of health, wellbeing, and achieving our personal and professional goals.
- Hands-on counselling and emotional support. A range of Care First services, providing employees with remote access to counsellors and a comprehensive library of resources covering the most common daily challenges, big and small.
- Management support. Tailored support for those in positions of leadership, helping them navigate the singular challenges they face on a daily basis, and serve as inspirational leaders for their teams.
- David Smith sessions. Inspirational talks from David Smith MBE, covering everything from embracing change to understanding our personal values, developing healthy sleep patterns and good nutrition, and optimising our performance levels in everything we do.
More than anything else, the fallout from COVID-19 and the various challenges it has presented across all areas of our lives has made it clear that mental health is more a process than a goal - something that we must nurture every day if we are to deliver our best. Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, we would encourage you to look closely at your own mental health 'toolkit' and some of the enhancements you could explore, both in and out of work. And at the same time, consider different ways you can support your team at work, to optimise your collective happiness, efficiency, and productivity.
While it certainly takes time, the rewards are great, and so we wish you good luck!While it certainly takes time, the rewards are great, and so we wish you good luck!