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World Mental Health Day 2022 – What can businesses do to support their employees

With today marking World Mental Health Day, experts share their opinions and thoughts on how business can prioritise employee mental health and wellbeing.
Chelsea Coates, Chief People Officer at GWI
“Whether it’s political turbulence or changes brought on by the pandemic, in recent years everyone has had a lot to deal with. And now with the cost of living crisis acting as an extra stressor, it’s critical that mental health support is prioritised in the workplace.
This means real, action-based support. For companies today, superficial strategies aren’t enough. An important element to any mental health programme is training, both for leaders and managers – recent data from GWI found that 34% of employees want to see this type of training across the business. A manager that’s had this training is much more likely to spot when a person is struggling with their mental health and put plans in place to best support them. The right level of understanding and training around mental health is no longer a nice-to-have but necessary.
We also found that 51% of people want employers to provide mental wellbeing leave or days off. As the line between our work and personal lives blurred during covid-19, giving employees this headspace can help to safeguard their mental health and create a positive, productive working environment.”
Andrew Filev, CEO and founder at Wrike
“This year’s World Mental Health Day has never been more relevant, especially given our increasingly hybrid work landscape. While some individuals have embraced the flexibility that comes with this, many are finding it increasingly difficult to switch off and restrict working hours. This can lead to feelings of overload and burnout. In fact, our research revealed that 60% of knowledge workers are stressed because their job is eating into their personal life.
Ongoing stress at work can have a huge impact on mental health, which has consequences for productivity and talent retention. And data shows that lack of mental health support can reduce business productivity by a quarter.
With the number of full-time, office-based employees continuing to decline, it’s critical that organisations set out detailed support strategies to help staff adjust to remote working. At the heart of this, they must make mental health a priority by promoting work-life balance and ensuring that employees have the tools they need to effectively manage their workload. Modern technologies – such as collaborative work management tools – can also help by enabling employees to manage work and time on a daily basis, limiting overtime whilst maintaining transparency and productivity.”
Alison McClure, UKI HR Leader at Kyndryl
“We are all familiar with the term physical health and what this means. Similarly, we also have mental health, which changes throughout our lives having periods where there is more, or less impact on our day to day living. Summarised, the World Health Organisation provides a great description of wellbeing as being a state where an individual can realise their own potential, can cope with normal stresses of life and can thrive in work and the community. This considers mental wellbeing as well as, physical and social too, all interacting and impacting one on the other as we move through life – equilibrium or balance being the place we want to be.
At Kyndryl, we put people at the Heart of Progress, and you might ask – what does this look like? Well, it is in creating and living-out a culture of empathy, empowerment and understanding through clearly expressed values that are defined through The Kyndryl Way. Building a successful workforce starts with an inclusive, safe environment, where all feel that they can bring their authentic selves to work, express themselves without facing stigma. Initiatives such as World Mental Health Day provide an opportunity to focus on this area of health and wellbeing, raise awareness and highlight stigma. It doesn’t stop there either, as we can take away the learning and experience into home-life too for a truly holistic approach.
At Kyndryl we have our “Kyndryl Inclusive Network” (KIN) for Wellbeing, which is a passionate community of Kyndryls from all areas of the business, all walks of life with a wealth of experiences and stories, who are coming together to drive wellbeing as “everybody’s business”. We have our thirty-two “Wellbeing Ambassadors” who have identified themselves as being open to a conversation, will signpost to both the range of Kyndryl provided and external resources, also, raise awareness of initiatives and events that speak to mental, physical and social wellbeing – they are confident and supported in asking – are you OK? Again, this extends beyond the workplace, which is the aim, to have that reach in our wider community too. Appointing these in-house advocates provides employees with the tools to address problems early, build resilience and access the means to recovery across the UK and Ireland. Some of our Wellbeing Ambassadors are Mental Health First Aiders too and we continue to look to ways that we can make the training more accessible and bespoke to our business. All our members make a valued contribution through their skills, experience and feedback, simply by being, which we all value in each other.
Whatever level of participation in the wellbeing agenda, cultivating this from the inside out, recognising the uniqueness of our own, personal journey is what we are committed to. With this in mind, the resources offered by Kyndryl move with the demand for having information and access 24/7 that is individualised, so Kyndryls can tailor their preferences to their own emotional, physical and financial needs, and use it on a regular basis to reflect on – and spot areas for improvement in – their wellbeing. We continue to grow and change, putting our people at the heart of our business; powering human progress. So good day or bad, we are giving each other a little support with the intention that it will go a long way.”