Updated: Jun 26, 2020
I recently attended a workshop led by Illuminate charity - a Cambridge-based charity that offers services to businesses to help them support the resilience of its employees. The figures that were presented around the impact of stress and mental health in the workplace were shocking. According to the Health and Safety Executive (2018), stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest cause of sickness days in the workplace - of course, those are the ones we know about. Not only that but mental ill health costs businesses between £33 - 42 billion per year. It feels like a Titanic-sized issue we need to address. Companies need to start prioritising the discussion around well-being at work and getting to the source of the problem.
When coaching one on one, I find there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to understanding an individuals’ well-being or to the strategies needed to improve well-being and balance. This is the same for creating a healthy workplace. Companies need to engage with their people to understand what works and what doesn’t, at an individual level - to really talk to employees to understand what is adding stress and what the personal strategies are that can help manage this pressure. There are general things companies can do to support, but the big difference comes with real individual engagement. Only when these conversations are happening openly and consistently will we start to make headway against the tide.
"Stress, anxiety and depression are the biggest cause of sickness days in the workplace."
In the meantime, it is really important to understand what ‘well-being’ means to you, personally. Well-being is not an issue we can leave at home, and return to it when we come back from the office at the end of the day. A well balanced life enables you to perform at your best, feel more motivated and get more out of every interaction - in and out of work. On a scale of 0-10, how satisfied with your own well-being today? What does well-being even mean to you? What do you do to manage stress? What helps you to get your well-being and mental health back to a place that you are content with? Can you do one small thing today which will improve your well-being? When you understand yourself and your needs, you’ll be able to talk to your employer more openly about what you need and what works for you.
Gemma Brown is a certified coach who works with successful women, 1-2-1 and in groups, to identify their strengths and build confidence which enables them to have the self-belief to fearlessly bring their whole being into all areas of life. Gemma is based in Cambridgeshire and carries out face to face coaching in the area as well as 1-2-1 coaching via Skype and Zoom. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.