Making Mental Health Matter - Why Dotty About Paper Took On Mental Health Coaching in the Workplace.
As an owner of a small business Lisa Forde of Dotty About Paper knew that she needed to stay aware of her team’s mental health.
With a few members of staff, working very closely together, Lisa couldn’t ignore the fact it is harder to cover for absent colleagues. If someone is experiencing problems the effects could often be felt throughout the whole department.
That’s when she started considering the impact of mental health support in the workplace.
“Because the effects of mental health are so visible when working in a small business, I’ve quickly learned how important it is to support your team emotionally. I wanted to create an environment where mental health is just as important as physical health.”
A benefit with impact
In 2018 it was reported by Health & Safety England that stress, anxiety, and depression now makes up 43% of all workplace illnesses. This accounts for 6.6 million lost working days.
While many organisations are paying lip service to employee wellbeing, Dotty Paper took action on an issue, providing a true, tangible benefit to their team.
“My team know that they will receive respectful treatment regarding any mental health issues. My managers and I keep an open-door policy, which welcomes people to approach us at any time with their concerns. We don’t limit our support to work-related problems, it’s just as important to offer help for personal issues, as these will also impact on job performance. Honest and empathetic communication is the key to building up trust and working together to find the best way of handling a mental health problem.”
“Team members have expressed how reassuring it is to work in a business which will offer support for their conditions, be they long or short term. We aim to create tailored ways of dealing with each person’s case, finding solutions that fit the individual rather than forcing everyone through an ineffective ‘one size fits all’ program.”
Making work human
“The team trusts that their feelings are valued and that any problems will be handled respectfully and privately. We also work hard to let everyone know that their managers can be approached with any concerns. These factors mean that we can often solve problems before they grow into a serious issue. This not only benefits the employee but also helps the entire department, as they are less likely to end up covering for an absent team member.”
“It’s much better to address health concerns as soon as possible than let them grow to a point where the person must take time off.”
“The atmosphere of trust and respect also creates a happier workplace culture for everyone. When mental health is cared for, people can relax, minimise distractions, and focus their attention onto their work. This has helped us become a more productive team.”
It makes business sense
When it comes to mental health in the workplace many organisations often want to know the numbers before they make any investment, despite the human need being so obvious.
However, Lisa makes a valid point that supporting mental health at work isn’t just doing right by your team, it makes business sense.
“Treating mental health seriously isn’t just the right thing to do. It also has palpable benefits for your business. Not only will your team respect you and your efforts to support them, but you’ll also be able to prevent bigger problems from developing in the future. Positive mental health support also builds up your employees and enables them to give their best at work, leading to increased productivity for your business.”
Five things to learn from Dotty About Paper about mental health in the workplace:
- Create an environment of trust and respect within your company culture.
- Be open to discussing all issues that affect people, both personal and professional.
- Making mental health matter means you’re proactive rather than reactive to issues.
- A supported team is happier and more productive.
- It takes everyone to be onboard, both leadership and managers have to support mental health.