Wellbeing at Work last year

Here we are as another year begins. 2018 saw wellbeing at work come to the forefront with board-level discussions and senior leadership teams taking the lead with a focus on mental health in the workplace. For me, the wellbeing at work highlights of 2018 were increased numbers of staff receiving Mental Health First Aid training, financial wellness programmes and digital detoxes,  There was also an increase in workplaces encouraging the use of mindfulness through classes and/or promoting apps.

Trends for 2019

What might we expect to see in 2019 in relation to wellbeing at work? I have put together my top six predictions for the year ahead.

Resilience

There is still a need for organisations to do more to manage mental health and wellbeing in a proactive way.  Resilience can be defined as the ability to adapt following set-backs and difficult life events, whilst maintaining positive mental health. I often think of it as an internal rubber band, so when the shape alters in some way, you have the tools and techniques to bring it back into a workable shape that is unique to you. It also incorporates sustainability, thus providing lasting benefits for our emotional health.

In 2019 I think the use of the Wraw® psychometric tool will a part of supporting businesses, teams and leaders on their journey to support staff with their resilience. Wraw® stands for Wellbeing and resilience at work. It is one of the first psychometric tools to measure wellbeing and resilience, and has been developed by The Wellbeing Project.

As an accredited Wraw® practitioner I will provide the expert debrief and support you need to understand your results. This includes feedback on resilient thoughts and actions, as well a personal development plan to enable immediate action planning.  You can out more about the Wraw® tool here.

Measuring the impact

Over the last five years many organisations have invested significantly into training their staff on mental health, wellbeing and relevant policies. I think 2019 is the year where there will be increasing use of data and evidence to demonstrate a return on investment of this training. It can often be hard to quantify, but I think this is going to be imperative if this important work is to continue and embed. In 2017 the Deloitte Monitor Report : Mental Health and Employers evidenced that the return on investment of workplace mental health interventions was 4.2:1. I think this figure is only going to increase, due to increasing global and personal pressures.

Mental Health First Aid England commissioned the MENTOR Study, which was completed in November 2018. The study asked employees’ views about the impact MHFA England training had in their workplace. Researchers interviewed 139 participants from 81 organisations across England. The organisations were spread across 20 different industries in the private, public and third sectors. Participants were asked what had changed in their workplaces as a result of MHFA England training. You can view the summary infographic below.

Results of the MHFA Mentor Study 2018

Infographic of MHFA MENTOR Study.

Tailored training for all roles in organisations and businesses

During Autumn 2018 I received many requests for bespoke mental health training sessions. As well as MHFA, organisations requested sessions tailored to the needs of distinct teams and staff groups. I think this is going to become the norm  because organisations seem very keen to develop the skills for different levels of the business. It is about ensuring a base-level of understanding, which is then enhanced through ongoing interactive learning.

We are also going to see mental health training being integrated into leadership and management programmes. This ensures that managers know how to spot the signs and have a productive conversation as part of being a manager as oppose to it being, what I like to call, a “nice add-on”. There was a significant increase for this training in 2018 and I think these requests are going to continue.

Supporting international staff

With current Brexit uncertainty looming, supporting international staff is going to be essential. It’s safe to say we are all still feeling dazed and confused about what is going to happen. This can lead to increased levels of anxiety and stress. Support will continue to include practical elements such as legal advice and information about Home Office processes. Employee Assistance Programmes will need to find culturally-specific counselling and support for employees and their families.

An example of a service that has already been launched the Emotional Support Service for Europeans (ESSE). ESSE is a short-term support service offering prospective clients up to six sessions with a qualified practitioner who is volunteering to provide this emotional support. ESSE’s goal is to help concerned EU citizens to explore and better understand their emotional responses to this period of great upheaval and uncertainty, and so allowing them to gain greater clarity and make informed decisions on how to better cope and protect their well being. You can find out more about ESSE by clicking here.

Communication training to reduce workplace conflict

This prediction may not seem directly related to wellbeing at work. However, we all know workplace relationships play a huge part on how happy we are at work. Workplace conflict is a problem that employers should address sooner rather than later. Maintaining the British stiff upper lip and pretending conflict will magically go away doesn’t work. It needs to be addressed continuously by providing staff will skills to communicate and manage conflict. The Confederation of Business Industry estimates that it costs UK business c. £33 billion/annum taking up 20% of leadership time and potentially losing up to 370 million working days. Then add to this the human costs and reputational damage. 

What can be done about conflict? One way to minimise negative conflict is through the use of TetraMap™. TetraMap™ is a refreshing way of looking at your communication style and that of others to maximise personal insight and understanding of others. It uses nature as a metaphor for understanding the different ways we operate based on our preferences. The concept of a TetraMap™ is that no-one stands alone, we are all interconnected and need to support each other.  If you want to find out more about TetraMap™ you can do so by clicking here.

Technology to support wellbeing at work

We have seen the rise of apps and online systems to support wellbeing at work. It had become standard practice to offer discount codes to apps and encourage staff to use them to improve their own wellbeing. There is also an increasing use of wearable tech products that offer an insights into wellbeing and health. This includes sleep and blood pressure through watches, fitbits etc.

I think we will see in-house Occupational Health Services making more use of this data with staff permission to create even more personalised programmes for staff who may be experiencing stress and mental-ill health. The benefit being that the staff member has their own data and will not only feel in control of the changes they make, but also see the results of those changes.

Your predictions?

What are you thoughts about wellbeing trends for 2019? What are your predictions for the years ahead. Please do leave comments in the box below, I would love to know what you think.