Following on from World Mental Health Day last week, I thought it was important to discuss why openness, awareness and support of mental health in the workplace is vitally important. It’s because of this importance that we at Novosco are proud of our focus on wellbeing in the workplace.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) over 300million people suffer depression and anxiety globally, and as many of us spend a large portion of our lives in work, it is unquestionably important that workplaces strive to do the best they can to support all the mental health of all their employees. At Novosco we support mental health in our workplace in various ways.
In 2015 we launched our mission statement, “Fearless Champions of Better.” This extends beyond the Novosco workplace and out into our daily lives as we constantly strive to be better in everything we do and improve ourselves, professionally and personally.
For example, we provide Westfield Healthcare free of charge to all our employees and their children. Westfield Healthcare is not just free provision for eye and dental care, it also provides funding for our employees to get alternative and holistic therapies, independent counselling services, cognitive behavioural therapy. Some of this is actually available for our employees’ families.
In our annual internal reviews we don’t just talk all about work. One of the key questions we ask is, “What are you hoping to achieve in the next year outside work?” – this opens the door for other conversations and for all of our employees to talk freely about what interests they have and what is important to them outside of work.
We also try to do everything we can to improve people’s mental health while in the office. We have recently invested in our Belfast office to ensure that we have as much natural light as possible. We have several break out areas so everyone has a chance to get away from their desk – with a pool table, gym and playstation; if someone needs to switch off they have the opportunity to do this. We also have a library, a low light, no tech, quiet space, where people can go to think or just have some time away.
It is important in an office environment to promote healthy eating and this is something we try to do as much as possible. With daily fresh fruit deliveries, free healthy breakfast options available for everyone, and Nutribullet’s in the office, we do everything we can to give people the option and tools to eat as healthily as possible.
Every employee in Novosco is given a Fitbit, if they would like one, so they can start to monitor and improve their wellbeing. We have also organised Fitbit team challenges, like trek South America, to add a bit of healthy competition.
In an effort to help our staff get the time, skills and the tools they need to improve their mental health, we provide mindfulness and meditation sessions. Having found these sessions with Seventh Heaven extremely beneficial we run them in 6 week blocks several times throughout the year. We also work with Harmony Holistic Healing to provide acupressure massages on a Friday for any of our staff that would like them.
The benefits of encouraging wellbeing in work and putting in practice everything we talk about are clear throughout our business. Our staff are happy, something shown in our regular staff surveys and in our low attrition rates. We average 1.5% working days lost per employee, per year in sick leave, which is a great achievement and shows that our drive towards helping our team improve their physical and mental health is working.
We have used our employee feedback and experiences to continually improve our wellbeing programme. But we realise that we still have much to do, and there is always room for improvement. Over the next few weeks we are meeting with companies including Inspire, a charity who provide a range of support services for mental health, and Moment Health who focus on maternal mental health, to discuss how we can increase our wellness program in regards to mental health.
Your mental health is vitally important and should not be taken for granted. I urge anyone who is feeling anxious, down, depressed, or needs to talk, to reach out and speak to someone in your organisation or one of the many great charities out there who can offer you some support. A great place to reach out to is The Samaritans.