Being mindful in Mental Health Awareness Week

Thursday February 2, 2017

Businesses rely on having a healthy and productive workforce.

So it is bad news all round that conditions like anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress are experienced by one in six British workers annually. Work related mental ill-health costs businesses up to £26 billion every year.

This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week. We have previously written about what can be done to prevent workplace related mental ill-health, why mental health is a workplace issue and what the legal requirements are for employers.

Mental distress can affect how people think, feel and act. As a result, people may behave, communicate or respond in ways that seem out of tune with what is happening around them. In some cases individuals may not disclose a mental health condition, but something in their behaviour may indicate they are experiencing distress.

As an employer, are you aware of how to spot this and what you should do? The charity Mind have a full range of really useful resources and guides for employers that should help take stock of wellbeing in the workplace.

Every year there are up to 70 million lost working days due to mental health problems. This is clearly a huge problem for employers, particularly SMEs. This year the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is mindfulness. So what is mindfulness and how could it assist you and your employees in the workplace?

Mindfulness is a 2,500-year-old school of thought that has its origins in Buddhism. At its most basic it empahsises ‘awareness’. Many companies have been introducing mindfulness at work including Google, KPMG and the Home Office. The benefits were discussed in Parliament, and even the MPs gave it a go!

Staff who incorporate mindfulness into their routines can have a greater awareness of their strengths, their environment and the context of what they are doing. This helps them to manage emotions and ultimately their stress levels.

But the Harvard Business Review has raised concerns about the prevalence of mindfulness at work bemoaning that it has reached ‘cult like’ status.

This way of thinking isn’t for everyone, but its use in business demonstrates that employers are increasingly tackling stress and encouraging workplace wellbeing. For advice on creating a Zen-like working environment, get in touch with The HR Dept.

Preventing People Problems

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