Quirks at Work – Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

Anyone who reads any news source will have noticed the recent popularity in the topic of mental health. Mental health has always been a ‘thing’, however, why are we suddenly so comfortable talking about what was once such a taboo?

All 7.5 billion of us have a brain. That’s 7.5 billion original, complex brains, all with a different mental capacity, therefore, who are we to judge which ones are normal and not, no one has the capabilities to do a scientific experiment that large….

Trust me, 1 day on Tinder and you will realise no one in your 40 mile radius is ‘normal’! We all have our quirks. But thank god we live in a society now that accepts us for who we are.  The majority don’t care what race, sexuality, religion, gender or disability anyone is, so why has it taken so long for us to accept mental health too? Maybe it is because we can’t physically see mental health, or maybe we are all just too ignorant to learn about it.

One of the things that affects mental health greatly for the general population is work stress. It is estimated 3 in every 10 employees will experience mental health issues each year. Our work-life balance is becoming increasingly demanding, we spend too much time checking emails and not enough time doing the basic things that make us healthy humans. In a world where everything happens instantly, apparently so do we… PR is typically one of the industries that requires you to be responsive 24hrs.

So what can PR agencies do to help employees switch off? We have thought of some solutions. Let’s start with our favourite…

  • Bring your furry friends to work (we mean dogs not husbands). A survey by Purina revealed that staff are happier and healthier when they are able to bring their pets to work. It boosts morale, encourages physical activity and makes employees smile! & If puppies don’t make your employees smile – call emergency services.
  • Regulate work emails. The French Government want to give employees the ‘right to disconnect’, by banning the sending and receiving of work emails after hours and at weekends. Sort this out with your technical team. The employees may have withdrawal symptoms for a while, but they will thank you.
  • Boost employee morale with internal events and team building. Make sure you always praise people for their hard work, even saying ‘thank you’ can go a long way.
  • Set up the option for on-site counselling with a professional once a month.
  • Make sure line managers are confident and comfortable to have conversations about mental health with their team. This can be done through training.
  • Last but not least, talk to your employees! This is so simple, often those suffering with mental health just want someone to talk to. Organise regular catch ups and make it a point to ask about employees’ well-being.