Work Happy, Be Happy
by Lisa De Silva
Lisa de Silva discovers how to enjoy mental wellbeing at in the workplace and the huge benefits this has not only to the business, but to the individual as well
With many British workers feeling stressed, overworked and overtired, it has never been more important to safeguard our mental health and wellbeing within the workplace. In 2016- 17, research by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that over 500,000 British workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, resulting in the loss of 12.5 million working days. Clearly, there is not just a personal cost involved in workplace stress, but also a business cost in terms of absenteeism and unproductivity, both of which impact on profitability.
Working long hours under sustained pressure, skipping lunch breaks and not taking annual leave will inevitably result in stress and burnout. What’s more, it reduces your ability to be productive, creative and motivated, but the good news is that there are measures you can take to improve your mental wellbeing at work.
If you are struggling with your workload, talk to your manager about delegating work to others, extending deadlines or having extra training. You can also encourage the company to appoint Mental Health First Aiders to support those struggling with issues, such as bullying and talk to your company about the possibility of flexible working. Flexible working has been proven to keep staff motivated, healthier and greatly improve mental wellbeing and since 2014, all employees that have worked at a company for at least 26 weeks have the right to one ‘flexibility request’ per year.
Most importantly, do work sensible hours and take regular breaks. We all know that our digital devices need to be recharged, well so do we. If you feel stressed during the working day take a break for a cup of tea, listen to a favourite piece of music, talk to a colleague or go for a short walk. Do take your full lunch hour and if possible, use this time for relaxing and socialising, by organising a group activity like taking a walk or starting a book or a craft club. It can also help to improve your working environment, so declutter your workspace, get a plant and decorate with personal photographs or pictures.
It is important to keep a clear delineation between work and home life. At the end of each day write a To Do List and leave these tasks at work ready for the morning. Try to use your commuting time to unwind and when you get home change your clothes, do not check work emails, turn off all digital devices at least two hours before bedtime and try to prioritise exercise, good food and sleep, all of which will boost your mental wellbeing. By taking steps to ensure you stay recharged and refreshed, it is possible that work becomes a source of healthy mental wellbeing and less of a stress.