In 2021, Mental Health Week will be recognised by more organisations than ever before. The pandemic has taken its toll on employees throughout the country, whether they’re working from home or in the office. From the 10th-17th October, businesses will raise awareness for mental health through a range of activities. With remote working still in place for many organisations, those who plan these activities may need to be a little creative so that employees can participate from home.
Look through the list below to see some ideas that you could implement at your organisation during Mental Health Week.
#1 Lunch and Learn
Encourage staff to take their lunch at the same time as they attend an information session about mental health. If your employees are working in the office, hold the session in a lunch or meeting room. For remote staff, you can hold the session over a Zoom call or similar digital method. Tailor the topic to one that suits your workforce - you may like to give your employees a choice of three topics to find one that resonates most. Alternatively, you can run multiple sessions during the time slot you allocate.
#2 Promote Physical Activity
There are strong links between physical activity and mental health. In addition to this, sitting all day can have some negative effects on physical health. So, encouraging staff to look after their mental health by getting out and doing some exercise can help to reduce the risks associated with sitting at a desk for the day. Furthermore, ask your staff to submit a photo of themselves doing their favourite exercise or their favourite location to get some exercise. You could also set up a challenge to see who can do the most steps for the week. The competition could be individual or team based.
#3 Encourage People to Talk About Mental Health
The organisation might not be able to hold a morning tea for staff, but you could ask everyone to bake or buy their favourite goods and hold a virtual morning tea. This could be done through a digital call, where you’ll be able to ask each employee about their morning tea treat and what they’ve been doing to look after themselves and keep their mental health in check during challenging times.
#4 Work from Home Mascot
Ask employees to show colleagues their work from home ‘mascot’ - something or someone that keeps them company during the day. It may be a pet, their child, trinket, artwork they’ve been working on or even the home office plant! Employees could send in a photo or introduce their mascot during a Zoom meeting.
Send out an eLearning module about mental health to improve awareness and acceptance of mental health issues. The eLearning program could be targeted depending on the type of job a worker does. For example, members of a management team could complete different modules to their employees. Field and office employees might have different work-related stress, so the program could focus on each one. Additionally, the module could have the same content for all staff, such as how to ask a colleague if they’re ok, or explain steps that everyone can take to improve their mental health.
#6 Launch a Wellbeing Program
Place a call-out for staff members willing to champion mental health and wellbeing throughout the year. It will be their job to come up with initiatives that focus on improving workplace wellbeing and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. They may organise speakers to talk about a range of topics that impact the wellbeing of staff such as financial stress and relationships, as well as healthy ways to unwind after a hard day. When employees are back in the office, your organisation’s mental health champion may organise an area dedicated to breaks or somewhere to contact colleagues who want a chat.
#7 Ask Staff How the Organisation Can Help
Being mentally healthy means something different to everyone. Send out a short survey asking for employee’s ideas on what the organisation can do to better support them and their colleagues throughout the year. High levels of stress and anxiety will no doubt continue as workers navigate the reopening of workplaces, cities and international borders. Organisations can do their part by supporting employees where possible and helping to ease some of the pressure.
It may also be worth asking employees to submit any general questions related to mental health, as well as the organisation’s mental health initiatives. Encourage employees to look on the intranet for answers to questions such as how to access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
If your organisation would like to implement some initiatives to assist staff during Mental Health Week, call us on 1800 258 487 or get in contact online.