Here are some Tip from Jodie Hill, Founder and Managing Director of Thrive Law, on how she strives to keep her workforce healthy and is keen to practise what she preaches!
Accessible support and resources
At Thrive Law, it’s our firm belief that mental training should be mandatory in the workplace. Our view is that this should start with a risk assessment where you identify in your business where the gaps in your business exist and then put in place a bespoke strategy to meet the needs of your workforce. This in turn will help you identify the key areas where you team need training.
Our aim is to ensure our employees are trained to be able to spot if someone is struggling with their mental health or is in a crisis, so we can offer the right advice and support to them. As well as this, we always have resources on hand such as leaflets and contact information for anyone who comes into the office, and we encourage them to pick them up for themselves or a friend, in case the need for those resources ever arises.
We all have access to Mente, an online mental health tech platform which provides the whole team with ongoing e-learning. The research driven material it comprises means we aren’t just ticking a box but are also providing costs effective and high quality support to every single member of our team. This is especially important as some of our team work from home.
Mente can be accessed anywhere on any device and is part of our mission to continually improve the wellbeing of our team. (for more info please seehttps://www.mente.co.uk/ )
It is a proven fact that open communication leads to a happier workplace, but it’s often forgotten that this doesn’t just stop at workload or daily tasks. Having a conversation with your colleagues and knowing that your workplace is a safe place to discuss your mental health and wellness is key in ensuring that wellbeing in the workplace remains a top priority. One of my key aims in setting up Thrive Law was to create a psychologically safe environment to work. This is very important to me and can be achieved with some very simple steps such as facilitating an open and honest communication and a collaborative environment. Breaking down the stigma when it comes to mental health is so important to me, the sooner this happens the better.
I also encourage my employees to have days where they work from home if they feel they will be more productive with their time, and I do the same if I have a large workload or reading to do. Our employees take extended leave if they want more time off and we can work this out to suit the business and them. For example, one of our team is going to India for 6 weeks on a retreat over summer and we are working with her to accommodate this.
It is understandable that this isn’t the option for all workplaces but making sure employees know that they can take a breather or speak to you about their workload concerns to avoid them overworking themselves is a great step forward. We all work best in very different ways, and it’s important to establish how we work best and what our team need to feel good. We also vary our start and finish times to suit each individual, as we acknowledge that one size doesn’t fit all.
Working Smart is the way forward.
Having regular meetings to monitor employee progression and wellbeing is key. It is important to monitor how your employees are dealing with their workload, whether they are meeting their targets and, if not, to explore the possible reasons. Appraisals are great but often only done annually, so having something more regular would allow for better monitoring and spotting potential stress triggers if someone is struggling. At Thrive we have meetings at least once a week and ensure that development reviews are completed every 6 months which identify more formal training needs.
We have an open door policy which means the team can always raise issues on a particular matter and workload with me. We discuss how to prioritise work too as sometimes this can be difficult for people to manage when they have a list and don’t know where to start.
In our weekly meetings we order lean lunch (https://www.leanlunch.co.uk/ )who provide healthy balanced lunches and we encourage healthy eating as it really makes a difference to physical and mental wellbeing at work. It’s also nice to eat together and really appreciate what we are eating.
Exercise and taking a break
One of the best strategies to help ensure mental health wellbeing is to take regular exercise. In fact, frequent ‘downtime’ has been proven time and again to help combat stress, to bolster the immune system and to boost cognitive function.
As a firm advocate of physical exercise as a busting regime, I try to encourage my staff to go walking during their lunch breaks, even if it is only to the shops or a local green space as our office is based on a beautiful park. Furthermore, I also recommend that we encourage our colleagues to indulge in some meditation during their lunchtime or, if they need, during other times of day. I classify this as positive time, as it helps to make us all more productive, aiding our clarity of thinking and mental acuity. In this regard, a few minutes of self-investment in meditation provides an excellent return on investment. So, as an employer, I’d certainly recommend it from a staff wellness and productiveness perspective.
Education and networking
To this end, I firmly feel that networking among like-minded people is a good way of bolstering business contacts and reducing the stress often associated with a wide range of job roles. So, we at Thrive Law have launched Thriving Minds, a regular event where professionals can meet to hear keynote speakers discussing their careers and their tips for effective working, sharing experiences and how to manage mental health effectively in the workplace. We seek to educate and empower employers to out mental health and the wellbeing of their workforce to the top of the agenda
The next Thriving Minds Conference is taking place on 30th September, with speakers including Tom Riordan (CEO of Leeds City Council), Leeds Rhinos team member Stevie Ward, we will have a panel of employers who are leading the way in Yorkshire as well as myself, MP’s such as Paula Sherriff (MP for Dewsbury and Kirkburton) and other leading specialists.
To be added to the invitee waiting list, please email us at [email protected]
Practise what you preach
There’s nothing, more annoying than businesses who says one thing and does another. You must practise what you preach and be consistent.
Here at Thrive we certainly do that and this is reinforced through my campaign to change the law to ensure mental health is treated with the same respect as physical wellbeing.
Recently we have updated our #OneMind campaign so please take a look, share and sign https://www.change.org/p/onemind-we-all-have-one-mind-and-we-need-to-protect-this-starting-in-the-workplace