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Business Careers Future of work Mental Health

Mental Health First Aiders in the Workplace

As it is Mental Health Awareness week, Find Your Flex wants to do its part in raising said awareness. We are calling on all organisations to prioritise having Mental Health First Aiders on site for their staff at all times. We wish to help Mind.org.uk spread the word on mental health and how as a society we can bring further awareness and support to this matter.

Why it is an employer’s Responsibility to Provide Mental Health First Aiders.

Thankfully, society is moving forward in recognising and supporting people’s mental health. Something that was more or less a taboo subject not that long ago. However, now that mental health is a top priority, we must take steps to support this. At present employers must have an onsite First Aider to deal with any physical issues that can occur. However, it is now just as important that businesses provide Mental Health First Aiders for their staff.

At all times there are people struggling with their mental health. Whether due to ongoing issues in this area or in response to some traumatic or stressful event. Employers cannot expect their output and quality of work to be of the highest standard during this time. Therefore ensuring the company has a trained Mental Health First Aider equipped to support people is just as much an investment as anything else. However, it is more of an obligation. Mental health issues can be just as damaging and debilitating as physical health issues. Therefore businesses have the obligation to keep their employees as safe as they can in this regard.

What is a Mental Health First Aider?

It is important for a Mental Health First Aider to set boundaries. Just as a physical First Aider is not a doctor, a Mental Health Frist Aider is not a psychologist. They are not there to diagnose people on their mental health. What they are first and foremost, is someone who will listen. A Mental Health First Aider is a good listener; understanding, empathetic and approachable. They are given tools to properly respond to certain situations regarding mental health. While they are not meant to provide diagnosis or ongoing support, they are shown how to recognise symptoms. And can advise seeking further professional help, or in severe cases report concerns to the appropriate manager.

Fundamentally, a Mental Health First Aider is there to provide reassurance, information and acknowledgment. Sometimes all a person needs is to talk to someone about the issue. In more serious circumstances a Mental Health First Aider is able to provide information to get the professional help they require. Mental Health First Aiders are often the first point of call for people who may not know they have a serious mental health issue and need professional help. Therefore it is imperative that we have more Mental Health First Aiders on the workforce in every sector. Just like with physical First Aiders, there are training courses to become a Mental Health First Aider. MHFA England are one such course providers, look here to find out more about becoming a Mental Health First Aider and what the role entails.

Mental Health and the Future of Working

As we head toward the future of work, we are claiming to be a more diverse and inclusive society. Organisations are also claiming that their working environment is diverse and inclusive. In order to prove this, having adequate Mental Health care is a must. We know now how important this is and it is vital that the proper support is in place for workers and even their families if need be. Businesses are taking the steps to accommodate mental health issues; flexible working, mental health days, stress related leave etc. This is the next step to ensuring people have the support they need personally and professionally in this area.

For companies that don’t have these support systems in place, that is no longer acceptable. The Future of Work is having the correct support for mental health in place. One day this could become a legal obligation rather than a moral or ethical one. It would look far better if businesses already have this in place when that day comes.

For a further look into what employers need to do to accommodate people, check out one of our other blogs on what changes employers need to make concerning neurodiverse people.

Categories
Business Flexible Working Future of work

How Do We Develop The New Normal Of Work?

Placing people and their performance at the
heart of organisations in our new world of work.

It won’t have escaped your notice that we are gearing up for a return to ‘normal’ or the ‘new normal’ as it has been termed by some. Many are questioning if they will be returning to the office. Will they be offered a hybrid and be able to remain working form home? However a recent Yougov survey commissioned by PUSH, 40% of people suspect employers want them to return to the office as soon as possible, because they think their employees achieve less when working from home.

But what is this new normal?

Will it be better or worse than before? Have organisations learned and adapted or have they simply focused on surviving with the intent to return to normal practice? How many of us have preferred working from home? Those who had to take the responsibility of education at home may have had a different experience to those who didn’t. It’s clear we’ve all had a wide variety of experiences.

However we all feel about the changes imposed on us we can’t ignore the fact that change drives innovation. Or at least it should.

However a recent Yougov survey commissioned by PUSH, suggests that 36% of the working population think they will work nearly 100% of the time from the office once the pandemic is over. Yet, 35% of people felt they achieved more when working from home. 

We at The Find Your Flex Group believe that one size doesn’t fit all. The discussion of flexibility and productivity is best done as a mature conversation between employer and employee.

Under what circumstances will they be most productive? What measure can we put in place to ensure support, cooperation and collaboration?

PUSH founder, Cate Murden, suggests it’s a new form of presenteeism: belief that even with the proof we are willing and able to work from home, employers still feel the physical presence of an employee in the workplace equates to better and more valuable deliverables.

According to the 3,037 surveyed, 32% believed those who return to the office when asked are more likely to get promoted. That rises to 42% in the under 35s!

What about mental health?

Murden believes that mental health and wellbeing are being put on the backburner as new figures suggest we feel pressured to return to the office in spite of the fact we achieve more at home.

Murden advises companies to instead use lockdown as a baseline for learning how we can protect the fallout from a sudden return to work: 

“The numbers that came back from this survey were shocking, but not surprising. If nothing else, it shows that we are still a long way from placing people at the heart of the organisation and not just bottom lines. Why, if we know we are doing better from home, are we feeling pressured to go back into the office?

Overlooking old behaviours and not learning from the past 12 months will be the downfall of many companies. Over the course of the pandemic alone we have supported some of the largest household names, including Whitbread, Toyota, Urban Outfitters and Rightmove, as they prepare for the wave of mental health issues that come with the new era of work. It is these companies, the ones that have used this time to adapt and grow, that will succeed.”

Perhaps, when we talk about a ‘new normal’ maybe we need to look beyond how a company functions. Maybe we need to get to the heart of any organisation, it’s values and its people.

About PUSH

PUSH specialises in corporate wellness, mental health, leadership and professional development. Working with clients to create tailored solutions to the challenges felt by their teams. Having seen 15% YoY growth during the pandemic PUSH decided to commission and publish the Human Element Report outlining our views on the return to work.

Read the full report here: The Human Element Report

For more information on how PUSH can support you during lockdown and beyond, visit www.pushmindbody.com or contact cate@pushmindandbody.com