28 Sep

Mental Health in the Workplace

Last Days of Summer

As we enjoy the last days of Summer, our thoughts return to work and the humdrum of life and approaching Autumn and beyond. The nights are already drawing in and the last of the sunshine and heat is ebbing away…how do we hold all to all the positive things that the summer months provides us?

Wouldn’t it be great if all the goodness of summer could be stored up and slowly released through the rest of year through to next Spring. If you suffer from either S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), depression or anxiety, or know someone that does, Autumn and Winter can have a significant impact if symptoms are ignored. The physical, mental and emotional affects, if unchecked, can build up to become overwhelming, this week the NHS released a report which said 1 in 3 fit notes are for mental health highlighting again the scale of the problem faced by employers.

Taking the time to think about how we respond to the changes in seasons and whether we need to have a plan to cope can make all the difference and enable us deal with the different pressures of life whether at work or at home.

If you employ or manage people then you will know that people don’t necessarily leave their “baggage at the door” and before you know it someone’s attendance and / or performance at work has changed. Having a better understanding of Mental Health and Wellbeing can pay dividends when it comes to being able to spot the early warning signs that someone isn’t coping and having the confidence to intervene early to prevent a problem and offer support.

At ‘Evolve’ we have a wide range of workplace workshops which aim to help employers, managers and their employees. We are lucky to go to many different businesses and organisations to deliver our workshops, such a Mental Health in the Workplace and Coping Under Pressure. One of our rewards is seeing those “light bulb” moments on peoples faces when they recognise something in themselves and more importantly leave at the end of a workshop feeling more informed and equipped with useful tips on what they can do to improve their wellbeing, whether it is physically, mentally or emotionally.

Some of the aspects we cover in our workshops include:

Mental Health & Wellbeing
Memory Issues
Inability to concentrate
Poor judgement
Negative thinking
Anxious or racing thoughts
Constant worrying
Obsessive behaviour

Physical Health Wellbeing
Aches and pains
IBS
Nausea and dizziness
Breathlessness
Poor sleep
Lack of energy
Poor immune system

Emotional Health & Wellbeing
Moodiness
Depression
Irritability or short fuse
Loneliness or isolation
Anxiety
Nervous habits, biting nails or pacing

Social / Behavioural Health & Wellbeing
Comfort eating or no appetite
Sleeping more or less
Isolating yourself at home or work
Procrastination or neglecting duties
Using alcohol, drugs or cigarettes

Bringing a sense of balance and discipline to our lives at work and or home will result in better balance in physical, mental and emotional wellbeing leading to happier and more productive lives.

27 Oct

The Value Of A Good Mentor

What advice would I offer my younger working self?

It would be to find a good mentor, someone who was a positive role model, able to provide me with sound advice and deliver a reality check when needed.

Looking back at my younger self I was full of desire to succeed, but actually had no idea how to do this. I was also full of angst and frustration, a typical state of mind a young person, but this resulted in me carrying a chip on my shoulder, which grew every time I didn’t get an outcome I wanted or expected.

I became more stubborn and would “cut off my nose, to spite my face”. The only person I was obstructing and hurting was myself. What I needed was someone that I respected from a professional perspective to tell me to stop and think! I also needed someone to help me see things from a different perspective, help me navigate and negotiate my career path, developing the skills to enable me to achieve more positive outcomes, ones which would also benefit my employer’s.

Different times…

Don’t get me wrong I worked extremely hard and did achieve things and progressed in my career, but this was without any clear direction because mentoring was unheard of then. Looking back I didn’t reach my full potential and employers throughout my earlier career didn’t take advantage of everything I had to offer. In the end I walked away from a career that I had dedicated my working life to since leaving school because I just couldn’t see how I was going to get where I wanted to go and I had no one to talk to and explore options.

Today is National Mentoring Day and I now find myself in a very different place, a lot wiser and experienced in life and business and providing coaching and mentoring services to businesses. It is so rewarding to work with an individual or team of people and see them develop their skills, grow, learn from their mistakes and go on to achieve in their work and life.

What’s the advantage of someone from the outside being the mentor?

A good mentor builds trust and good rapport with their mentee and having an external mentor can mean this is more easily achieved. Having a mentor that isn’t working directly with the mentee, either managing or directing them can mean a fresh perspective on a situation can be offered and different solutions explored. It can be a very practical way of helping supporting people within an organisation and enabling them to reach their full potential.

So next time you think someone in your organisation needs support to help them develop, think of the value a good mentor can have on that person and your business.

#NationalMentoringDay

Jenny Beech

e jenny@evolveorganisation.com

18 Oct

The Menopause…is it the last taboo in the workplace?

Menopause the last workplace tabooOver the last 20 years many barriers have been broken down regarding a wide range of issues that impact people during their working lives, including gender, race, physical and mental health. Whilst people feel more comfortable to open up about some of these issues there are others that remain “taboo” despite the impact being far reaching. One such “taboo” is the menopause and the symptoms associated with it, often misunderstood and or unrecognised until the symptoms have overtaken a person.

So what, when women have been dealing with the menopause “since time began”? As a therapist I see lots of different people, often referred by their employer. Many are women with careers and families who are struggling with life and work, experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and hot flushes etc. On discussing their issues, it is concluded they are going through peri-menopausal or are in menopause, the majority are shocked because they perceive that “the menopause” is something that happens when you are well into your 50’s or when retired. It can be a revelation to learn that the menopause isn’t something that waits for retirement and as we are working longer women need to find ways to live in harmony with the menopause.

So why do we need to address it now?

According to NHS Choices the menopause usually occurs between the age of 45 and 55 years and in the UK the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51. Given that there are more women in workplace, working longer and juggling the demands of a career and family it’s little surprise that the menopause can have a significant impact. In terms of a woman’s working lifetime, the menopause hits at around the halfway point. Many women have just re-established themselves in the workplace with their career after having children, when they start with peri-menopausal symptoms.

Inform & educate at work

It makes absolute sense for employers to think about this aspect of women’s health as part of any workplace health and wellbeing strategy. By employers taking a proactive approach to raise awareness, the benefit will be felt not only by those women who are approaching or going through the menopause, but everyone whatever gender or age. Whether you are a man or woman, you may work with someone who is going through the menopause, you may have a wife, partner, family or friend who is struggling. Education is the key; there are so many misconceptions about the menopause because every woman may be affected in a different way. Some may encounter physical symptoms; others may experience mental and emotional symptoms, or may experience the whole shebang!

Having a better understanding of the associated symptoms and behaviours enables people to offer support and have more empathy. It’s an unavoidable fact of life; nearly every woman will go through ‘The Menopause’ at some point. To break this last taboo we need to start a conversation…so let’s start that conversation in your workplace today.

Find out how The Evolve Organisation can help start the conversation email clair@evolveorganisation.com

27 Sep

Wellbeing Blog

be-work-live-wellWhere to start with workplace wellbeing

Do you assume to know the state of health and wellbeing within your organisation based on recording factors such as sickness absence? Or maybe you don’t record any statistics? The danger of making assumptions on either limited evidence or no evidence is that decisions about your organisations health & wellbeing may be directed the wrong way and potential benefit of any investment in this area could be limited.

What’s the value of health & wellbeing in the workplace?

There is a wealth of evidence and statistics that highlight the importance of understanding what impact the health and wellbeing of employees has on a workplace.  According to CIPD’s 2015 Annual Absence Management Survey “Organisations that achieved their absence targets were significantly more likely to manage absence through promoting health and well-being than those that did not achieve their targets.” (source www.cipd.co.uk). In the same report “Just 8% of organisations have a stand-alone well-being strategy in support of their wider organisation strategy, while a fifth have a well- being plan/programme as part of their wider people strategy.”

There are few employers who would disagree that a healthy workforce has a positive impact on business outcomes e.g. productivity and growth.

 But where do you start?

The challenge is to have the evidence to hand to show what the current health & wellbeing status of your organisation.  A good place to start is to run a pilot project that will provide you with valuable insight, by contributing towards forming a future strategy with short, medium and long term measurable goals for creating a healthy, productive, engaged workforce and culture.

As part of a pilot project, your first step can be to run a Health & Wellbeing Survey, which will gather evidence on many aspects of a persons health & wellbeing. Collecting this anonymously will encourage and allow your employee’s to be honest with their responses.

 How can Evolve help?

It doesn’t have to be complicated, we provide employee health & wellbeing surveys as a good place to start.

We facilitate a survey, working with you to distribute, gather and collate the results. A presentation of the results will be provided and we can then help you take the next step with building a strong case to take to senior managers / leaders that demonstrate the importance of having a wellbeing strategy that will contribute to future business plans.

Get in touch to find out more jenny@evolveorganisation.com