The VERCIDA guide to wellbeing & mental health at work
As part of the Movember movement, we are talking about mental health wellbeing and how this can be looked after in the workplace. Men, quite simply, need to talk, and we don’t just mean a quick chat by the watercooler, even though that is worthwhile for connecting to people in a relaxed way.
Work generally means pressure, corporate deadlines and professional targets. None of which makes it easy to stop and share anything other than work-related thoughts.
But every employer and employee has the means to keep a healthy balance. It just means taking a MO with some of the top tips we have been passed on by the Movember community.
You have deadlines and demanding bosses, even difficult colleagues. So how do you get that mental break?
First, remember that as an employee you have rights, so check those out and see what your line manager and your company HR team says about policy and protocol.
- No Bullying
- No discrimination
- Equal opportunities
If you don’t feel you are being supported fairly by those in authority then get an advocate who is independent to come and help intervene.
But what if you are having problems at home rather than at work? Don’t keep it to yourself. Nobody can help if they don’t know you need it. We get that having a chat is not every bloke’s cup of tea (or glass of beer perhaps), but you need to use your options to get through what may be a temporary challenging time. If it isn’t temporary then you need a strategy to cope with and handle a crisis. After all, that’s what you do in business.
If you don’t want to officially highlight the problem in case your boss thinks you are not up to your job then choose a colleague, a mentor or someone you can trust to sit with for a MO and offload those problems. Make a regular lunch meeting of it, or an after-hours catch up.
If you feel that will leave you vulnerable, get outside help. For example, try turning someone in a sports club. If you belong to a gym then go chat to a coach. They are all trained to keep others motivated and be supportive and exercise is a great way to focus the mind and feel good.
Organise your own MO-tivational ideas at work. Get people to go out and participate in a company sports effort. Fundraise or plan a Movember campaign but remember that your MO-ments need to last more than once month!
It’s all about you, which should help the lone male warrior. So do simple challenges for yourself and keep on doing them. Take that lunchbreak, back away from the keyboard. Go out walking and immerse yourself in what is around you. Ditch the lift and take the stairs. Keep hydrated (another watercooler chat on the way) and be assertive. Remember those rights? Well saying no is one of them.
Sometimes we find ourselves feeling that we are at rock bottom, but there is always someone who can listen and help you back up. It may be that work MO-tivator. Perhaps if you feel uncomfortable opening up then push yourself to talk to one of the support organisations that can help you come up with a personal way forward.
Talk to CALM https://www.thecalmzone.net/ (you can even have an online webchat from your desk). They are open 5pm to midnight every day of the year and they make sure that men don’t think they have run out of options when work stress is overwhelming.
So, all of you brilliant businesses and corporate whiz worlds, you thrive on pressure and challenge right? People do their best when they are on the spot right? Team building days make us closer? Our coffee time team talks mean we have it under control and everyone can open up….
All good intentions but best intentions and best practice may not always be the same thing. We at Vercida choose our clients very carefully to ensure that we work with businesses who know there are candidate rights to be met. We are there to ensure that you understand discrimination and how to be the best example of a supportive environment.
That could mean joining a Movember Business Group or setting up your own initiative.
You, like your employees, need to take a MO-ment to get the best results. That means walking out of your office and outside. Making sure that employees take their breaks and leave the building. You know they will come back refreshed and ready to go.
Don’t have a watercooler they can chat around? Get one. Or give out water bottles and encourage your team to socialise. We understand you want to ensure maximum productivity and hydrated brains are active, creative brains.
Think about setting up a MO-mentor scheme. Give someone the role of being the one people can turn to when they need a chat. Don’t enforce the HR connection too soon. Get your best employees to be the ones who encourage others.
Have a look at Movember’s Business Club; a great idea for businesses.
Make sure that the employees who need a voice have a way to have their say. Create an internal forum or regular sessions where Chatham House Rules apply and problems can be discussed without fear of weakness.
Take a MO to walk around and engage with everyone on a more personal level. After all, even bosses need people to talk to.