The Mental Health Foundation UK claims, ‘The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in the UK is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to the mental health of the general population.’ This is indeed a sobering statement to read.
You would think in today’s technology driven world that we would be more likely to achieve this, many people no longer need to be confined to offices in order to carry out their roles. Working from home and on the move are common place in today’s society. Need a coffee? Grab your laptop and set up in a coffee shop. Need to pick up the kids from school? Grab your smart phone everything is right there.
But is that the very problem itself? Are the lines between work and life becoming so blurred that we are becoming unable to separate the two? Do we as employees, need to address this balance and start to put away the laptop and turn off the work mobile. To begin to once again embrace the joys of home-life, and fully amerce ourselves in life outside of work. Surely our mental health demands it.
In a recent survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation a staggering 40% of employees said they had neglected other aspects of their life in favour of work. With many employees feeling that they simply must be available 24/7, what can companies in the UK do to help restore the healthy balance between work and life? It is a question that needs serious consideration, as a happy workforce is a productive workforce and that’s the path to a successful business.
A few simple steps can be taken by businesses to help to improve the balance for their employees:
- Promoting a culture of positive mental health through open conversation between staff and management
- Training management to understand and see the signs of employee poor mental health or lack of balance
- Encouraging staff to leave on time at the end of the working day
- Offering flexible working opportunities
- Home working
- Promoting and encouraging employee participation in activities outside of work
- Company days out
- Childcare voucher schemes
- Benefits such as gym membership or restaurant clubs
So, it seems that in order to restore this balance, there needs to be commitment by both the employee and the business itself. Taking time away from laptops and phones whilst not in your work hours. Spending time enjoying other pursuits, will have a positive effect on your outlook towards work and, in turn, a positive effect on your mental health.
Businesses should encourage this leisure time in their employees, actively participate in finding opportunities for this to flourish. Offering a flexible approach to work to suit their employees needs, when possible.
Everyone has a duty to protect their own mental health and the mental health of their employees.
Let’s work together to achieve a happy and productive working population.