According to Sheerluxe, rates of depression in British adults have more than doubled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. In early 2020, before the virus took hold, around 10% of adults suffered some form of depression. By the start of this year, this had risen to 21%. Rates among those aged 16 to 29 experienced one of the largest rises – climbing from 11% before the pandemic to 29% at the start of 2021.
Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that we look out for one another and we all have a part to play in each other’s mental health. As an employer, it’s up to the leadership team to look out for your employee’s wellbeing at work (and your own), and as an employee, it’s important to be aware of when you are feeling stressed or burnt-out. Honesty and communication are key, any respectable company will understand when you feel the pressure and are unlikely to support you if they are unaware of how you feel, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help. This is particularly important as a leader, we often feel like we have to display ourselves as strong and immortal but it’s normal to feel the heat under pressure. Be truthful to yourself and with other leaders within the business, they’ll be more understanding than you think.
We have created a list of 5 useful tips for employee wellbeing, all trialed and tested by deverellsmith. The list was curated by our wellbeing ambassador, Sally Ellis, and Managing Director, James Campion, who are both advocates for happiness in the workplace!
Tip 1 – Ask ‘How are you?’, twice
We often brush past what is, ultimately, the most important part of any conversation: asking how someone is. We often respond quickly, subconsciously and without going into too much detail saying, “Yes fine, you?”
Slowing down and taking the time to ask someone how they actually are – “But, how are you really feeling?” – could have a massive impact on someone’s mindset. Building deeper connections with your staff, colleagues and peers will not only actively deliver support, but it will provide individuals feeling low with an outlet and safe space to talk.
Try it – you never know who you could help!
Tip 2 – Build team strength through activities
As the world has firmly grabbed the way of working digitally by the horns, building team morale and an authentic culture isn’t as easy as enjoying a pint at the office local.
Throughout February, deverellsmith hosted virtual team events like a murder mystery, cocktail classes and pizza making; as well as a virtual walking mission, where we aimed to collectively walk to Ibiza by the end of February (we could only dream). Physical activity has a huge effect on how we feel, so we knew it was important to encourage our teams to get away from their home offices and outside. You can create your own completely free virtual fitness challenge using My Mission here.
Now lockdown laws have lifted, we are excited to have our summer party booked, a CSR day and several other team focused activities scheduled. Not every activity needs to involve alcohol, some staff members might not drink, and it doesn’t necessarily create the strongest foundation for supporting each other’s wellbeing, so try affordable events like softball and grass boules or give back with group volunteering days.
Tip 3 – Feedback, feedback, feedback…
Understanding how your employees are feeling as a group and how your company is performing as an employer, is crucial for shaping your employee engagement strategy.
Pushing out anonymous surveys monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually – whatever works for your organisation – provides your staff with a vehicle to voice their feelings honestly. There is no point hosting HIIT sessions if your staff would prefer Yoga and you will avoid spending money on an activity which is under appreciated.
Do the research and you’ll get the right results, a happy and focused workforce.
Tip 4 – Actions speak louder than words
Mental health is often spoken about but taking tangible steps will show your staff that you really care and are serious about the subject. deverellsmith partnered with wellbeing specialists, Mental Health in Recruitment, it allowed our employees to not see mental health as a taboo subject, open-up, educate and feel safe and supported. We also asked Niamh Keane, ex real estate professional and now performance and life coach, to host meditation sessions. Encouraging the team to slow down and adopt healthy habits.
On Friday 21st May, we’re looking forward to treating the team to an early finish (excluded from annual leave) and a team activity away from the office.
Another action your business can take whilst working virtually is doorstop drops. We sent pancake mix on Shrove Tuesday and chocolate treat deliveries for Easter. It didn’t require a significant spend, but it let our staff know that we cared.
Tip 5 – Nominate a wellbeing committee/champion
Having a dedicated wellbeing champion or group provides a voice for your company which is not coming from the top. They will understand what wellbeing measures are truly beneficial to employees as they’ll share mutual feelings, behaviors, and attitudes with their colleagues.
Our wellbeing ambassador has organised most of the events mentioned throughout this article, as well as educational talks for International Women’s Day and anything else that crops up!
We hope you found this article useful for creating an employee focused firm that takes worker wellbeing seriously. If you are a leader in your business, always remember to take time to look after yourself and make you a priority.
If you are feeling low, you can use the following helplines to speak with someone: