4 Tips to Supporting Your Staff on Time To Talk Day

Time To Talk day happens every year in February and provides an excellent opportunity for businesses across the UK to encourage their staff to talk about mental health. 31% of people have experienced mental health issues at work. Tragically, some still feel ashamed to tell their colleagues how they feel and therefore don’t get the support they need.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare for the 6th February to facilitate as many conversations as possible about mental health on the day. If everyone in your business feels able to openly discuss their mental health, then they will know that they will never be alone when confronting mental ill-health.

1. Tea Anyone?

Arrange to give everyone a longer break next Thursday. You’ll give everyone more time to put the kettle on and chat about how they are feeling with colleagues. This quintessentially British drink is a brilliant platform for all kinds of conversations, as it allows people to properly take a break, put the world on pause, and say what’s on their mind. The fact that a colleague has taken the time to put their phone on silent, put the five emails they just received to the back of their mind and sit down with a colleague to ask them how they’re feeling will mean so much to that person, particularly if they’re going through some tough times. Forgetting about timesheets for the day and facilitating these conversations could give a few of your staff members some much-needed light as they attempt to find their way out of a very dark place.

2. Genuinely Ask People How They Are Feeling In Meetings

Meetings might often begin with a general question like ‘How is everyone today?’ which isn’t meant sincerely and is only asked as a road into wittering on about results, statistics or another thoroughly impersonal subject which may not make your staff feel valued as people. Why not use Time to Talk Day 2020 to open your meetings with a 5-10-minute chat about how people are really feeling that day? Showing your team how much you care about them is a great way to encourage open and honest conversations about mental health.

3. Buy Everyone Lunch

All too often, lunch turns into the process of grabbing a sandwich from the local supermarket as quickly as possible, in between work and some more work. Why not mark Time To Talk day 2020 with a series of team lunches across your organisation? Then everyone can sit down, take a genuine break from work and have long conversations with their colleagues.

Life as an employee can be daunting even at the best of times. When you’re rushing around and grabbing food on the go, you’re often powered more by adrenaline than by the moderately crunchy lettuce you’re munching. Being able to sit down with your manager and tell them that next week’s deadline is making you really stressed allows them to take actions which improve your quality of life without compromising on the overall quality of the project you’re contributing to. That conversation over lunch might just have saved the company thousands of pounds. From an employer’s perspective, these conversations can only be good things.

4. Work With Your HR Team To Develop A Mental Health Strategy That Works

You could use Time To Talk day 2020 to start planning your organisation’s approach to mental health over the next few years with your HR team. Together, you can do an audit of your organisation. This audit will show how many of your staff might be experiencing mental ill-health, the cost that this mental ill-health brings to your organisation by way of absenteeism and presenteeism, and exactly what you need to do to address these issues. Then, you and your HR team can work together to perform stress risk assessments and find ways to reduce workplace triggers/stressors. You can also create policies that will reduce any stigma around mental health in your organisation. You can even survey your staff to find out what stigma surrounds mental health in your teams so that you can draw up an action plan that addresses specific areas of stigma which need to be tackled.

As well as creating a general atmosphere of openness about mental health, you can also establish procedures to help staff members who are suffering from specific mental health issues. Downloading our free guide 'Guide to Developing a Workplace Mental Well-being Strategy' which will help you and your HR team to plan all of this while not just staying in budget but increasing the effectiveness of your organisation.

How We Help

As part of your overall mental health strategy planning, Altruist can train your managers and HR staff to spot the early signs of mental ill-health, start the conversation and provide the appropriate support and signposting. Not everyone is comfortable about openly discussing their mental health, particularly with their boss. By asking simple questions, your managers and HR team can elicit answers that will allow them to provide employees with the support they need, when they need it. This support can come in many forms and often acts as a crucial intervention which prevents mental ill-health from becoming a crisis. A crisis could leave your business facing expensive long-term employee absenteeism as well as costly recruitment fees as you hire staff to replace absent friends in the immediate-term. To find out more about how we can help you to look after your most valuable asset, your employees and your bottom line, please give us a ring on 0121 271 0550 or take a look at our mental health courses, such as Mental Health Training For Managers, Mental Health At Work Training For Employees and more.

Katie attended the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy where she set up Altruist in 2013. Since then, Katie has won various awards including Birmingham Mail's Young Achiever of the Year 2017, New Entrepreneurs Foundation 'Future Face of Business' and Entrepreneurial Spark's 'Most Accelerated Business'. She has also been a finalist in nine other award categories and in 2014, Katie was invited to attend the prestigious 'Women of the Year Lunch' in honour of her work raising awareness and reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

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