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Written by Ripe London on January 26, 2024

How to Prioritise Workplace Health

Fostering workplace health is great for the people working at the company and the company itself. promoting mental wellbeing can help reduce stress, create positive working environments and build lasting relationships. All of which can allow individuals, and therefore, the organisation to thrive.

We're Ripe by the way. We supply fresh fruit boxes and other healthy snacks to offices around London. You'll hear more about this later, but on with the article! Below we have the best ways to prioritise mental health in the workplace - some for employers to ensure that good health and wellbeing practices are in place and some for employees to help you manage your health.

The best ways to prioritise mental health at work

Supporting the wellness of people at work is vital for their mental health issues. If anyone at work is struggling with ill health, having good practices in place can make a massive difference. It creates an environment that promotes contentment which benefits employers and employees. Before we discuss what individuals can do to help with their mental health, let's explore what companies and line managers can do.

Ways managers can help employees

The holistic approach to workplace health

A holistic framework should be in place to support people's mental and physical health. This support should be available to everyone within the business suffering from any health issues.

Line managers should have ongoing guidance on how to correctly support their team, and training on new practices put in place. This will ensure they can have sensitive conversations with people in their team and recommend the help they need. Health services should also be put in place. More on these below.

Provide and promote wellbeing training and occupational health services

A holistic approach should include various resources for your employees to lean on when they need them. This may include:

While support for physical health issues should be included in a holistic approach to managing wellness at work, a study from CIPD did find that many organisations are focusing their wellbeing approaches on mental health issues because this is the biggest area of concern.

Of course, this doesn't mean that things like first aid and health and safety training should take a backseat. These should be included in a holistic approach to work wellness. This ensures that any issues your workers have during their employment can and will be addressed quickly and effectively.

Effective management

Along with a holistic approach to physical and mental health issues, your employees need strong leaders. Strong leadership skills and great line managers can go a long way in helping employees feel less stress at work. Here's a few ideas that you can use to support your colleagues:

Deadlines and workload

Try not to drop short deadlines on colleagues. Instead, work together to solve problems. This will mean that employees don't feel alone with a huge workload piling up.

When it comes to workload, try to ensure that tasks are distributed evenly throughout the team. If this isn't possible in a team with different skills, try to include training in an employee's work plan to ensure that skill gaps are reduced and that one or two members of the team aren’t swamped with work and stressed.

Talk to employees regularly

Keep the discussion open. Talking with your employees regularly, either in one-to-one meetings or just an informal chat can be invaluable. You'll quickly see where they are struggling, how busy they are and how happy they are. From there, you can distribute the work evenly throughout the team and discuss issues further to ensure the negative effects don't start to affect their work or home life.

Take care of yourself

Managers are under just as much pressure as their employees. Taking care of your mental health is important to you and your employees. If you are stressed, this is going to affect the people around you and make them stressed and depressed. So, make sure the support system in place can help you too, and take advantage of that help whenever you feel you need to.

The best managers are ones that are cool, calm and collected. So, set an excellent example for your team and get the help you need when you need it.

Build awareness of self-awareness

One of the biggest difficulties managers face is not recognising when someone is suffering from health issues. This is made even more difficult by employees not being about to spot signs that they are struggling.

There could be signs like not working the typical working hours they usually keep or taking advantage of flexible working opportunities more than normal. They may also take more sick days, be quieter or more withdrawn.

If you notice that a colleague's behaviour has changed, this could be a sign that their mental health isn't the strongest (even if they don't realise it). Reach out, have a chat over coffee and see what's going on. It might just be enough for them to recognise that something needs to be addressed and that they need to work with the support in place to get back into the groove.

Ways employees can improve their mental health

With a holistic wellbeing approach in place at work, you can depend on your workplace when you need it. Which is fantastic. However, wouldn't it be great if we could put things in place to not have to rely on these services as much? Well, that's what this section is about.

Of course, if you are suffering from depression or other mental health issues, please seek professional help from your employer or a healthcare service.

Get out into the sun

With so many of us staying indoors so much nowadays, we miss so much time in the sun and all dream of a hot holiday with sunshine, sand and a couple of cheeky cocktails. Well, dreaming of sunnier times may mean that your brain is craving some vitamins.

Heading out into the sun for a while can be brilliant for your mental health. You'll get some much-needed vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to depression symptoms, so having plenty of that stuff in your system is a wonderful thing.

You may have heard of Blue Monday and Seasonal Affective Disorder. These conditions are, basically, the winter blues and can be linked to us not getting enough vitamin D, and living in the dark for months on end because the only time it's light is when we're at work! So, heading out of work for a while and enjoying the sun in the winter or any time, can lead to great things.

Why not go for a walk on your lunch break? Grab some of that vitamin D, get a bit of exercise (which is also very good for you, more on that in a bit) and feel better for it!

Make time for things you enjoy

Do you always work through your lunch break? Do you never look up from your laptop to enjoy a quick chat with a co-worker? Are you working all evening or even at the weekends?

Taking the time for a quick laugh with a friend at work, replying with a clever GIF in a group chat with friends, or picking up an old hobby to enjoy in your time away from work can do wonders for your mental health. Being so focused on work that you don't have any time to enjoy yourself is a great way of causing yourself more and more stress. Having some times throughout the day when you aren't thinking about work, and instead, having some fun and relaxing is a sure-fire way to reduce stress, smile and laugh!

Eat healthy

Healthy eating and exercise are great ways of reducing stress and depression. And you're in luck, we know an amazing company in London that delivers healthy snacks and fruit to offices! That's us by the way, told you you'd hear about us again!

If you'd like to make your office snacks as healthy as possible, grab one of our office fruit boxes for your team, and all the healthy snacks they love too. That way, your team can snack away all day, enjoy the goodness of fruit, add some nutrients and minerals to their diets, and feel a bit better because of it.

Healthy eating can reduce anxiety, reduce the risk of illness, and benefit you in so many ways. However, one of the places we let healthy eating slip the most is at work. We often go for what's convenient, rather than what's healthy! So, pack a healthy lunch and have some delicious and healthy snacks in the office, you'll feel better for it.

Exercise

Did you know that exercise can reduce stress, depression, anxiety and loads more! Whether you walk for 30 minutes on your lunch break, hit the gym, lift enough weights to make Dwayne Johnson jealous or go for a cycle in the countryside, try and get exercise into your weekly routine.

Ask around at work and see if there are any fitness initiatives available. You may find that your work offers discounted gym memberships, for example. Exercise can contribute to lowering cholesterol, reducing heart rate even stopping snoring! It can also allow you to focus at work, and make you a happier part of the workforce! So, adding some exercise into your week can enable you to focus, feel better and address underlying health conditions that could be contributing to your stress levels.

Are you stretching yourself too thin?

Recognising when you are starting to get stressed out at work is key. Overloading yourself to help others manage their workloads is not good for you. If you feel that you are always missing out on fun events outside work because you are always working, it's time to change your routine.

Of course, this can be tricky as you won't want to let anyone down at work, but honesty is the best policy. Let your coworkers know that you’re struggling with your workload and that you don't have any time to enjoy yourself outside of work. You may just be surprised with the offers of help that come in!

The importance of employee wellbeing

Everyone benefits when employees are happy - including the business. A business with happy, hardworking employees is going to be more successful than one with burnt out, unhappy staff. So, implementing an employee wellbeing programme at work is a sure-fire way of improving the lives of your employees, getting them the medical help they need and creating a healthy working environment where people can thrive, grow, laugh, learn and work hard!

In conclusion

Take steps in your daily life to make yourself happier. Recognise the signs that you are stressed, and take action to stop things getting to boiling point. If you are the owner of a business or a line manager, put a holistic plan in place so that the people you work with can get the help they need!

Oh, and don't forget about healthy snacks! Ripe has everything you need to cultivate a healthy snacking experience at work. We'll build an office fruit box for your employees with hand-selected fruit from the best vendors in London, and together we'll make sure they are healthier and happier than ever!

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