Why supporting employees' mental wellbeing is important

Mental Health Awareness Week is an important time to open the discussion and raise awareness on how companies can create a working environment that supports employees’ mental health.

It’s only natural that when you’re investing so many hours at a place of work, the conditions and environment you work in can have a contributing factor to your mental health. We often talk about the importance of communication and supporting your friends and family, but it’s important to also acknowledge what employers can do to help assist their staff’s mental health. 

At TAB, there is an open-door policy where employees are encouraged to voice any issues they have — both personally and professionally — so that the company can do everything to support them. This makes us feel that our opinions are appreciated and valued. 

As well as having happy employees, there is a tangible benefit also to having positive working conditions. Research from the Mental Health Foundation has shown that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive. It highlights the value of having happy staff that feel supported and are able to communicate on all concerns and issues they have.

With enough attention and staff feedback, there are many ways for companies to help staff feel as supported as possible. I spoke to some of the team members to get their views on the initiatives TAB is implementing to support staff both professionally and personally. 

How TAB supports employees  

Flexible working and office hours

During the pandemic, we saw the rise of remote working at a time when it wasn’t safe to enter an office. In a post-pandemic world, we’re still trying to navigate between moving back to full-time office work and flexible working.  

Listening to employee feedback, TAB implemented a flexible working scheme where staff can book WFH days when needed. It also now provides a flexible working day — so for example, if employees need to come in after the school run, this is possible. This isn’t exclusive to those that are suffering with Covid symptoms, travel concerns or family issues, it is available for everyone.

Yusuf Malik, marketing executive at TAB, said: “Since I've started at TAB, I've felt very supported with my mental wellbeing and have always been comfortable voicing any concerns I had both personally and professionally. At times when I've been unable to come into the office, the flexi-work scheme has been hugely helpful for me and TAB has always been very understanding of any circumstances, which has made me feel very valued.” 

Regular social gatherings 

For obvious reasons, it’s important to stay professional at the workplace — however, that doesn’t mean staff aren’t able to build relationships with one another and get along well. At TAB, we try to promote as many social gatherings as we can.

These may vary from after-work activities to our summer party, where family and friends are welcomed. We also have a clubhouse bar that is open from 4.30pm on a Friday, where we can enjoy a few drinks and get ready for the weekend. 

The aim of having these social events is to create a working culture where employees want to come to work, alongside professional ambitions, and having good relationships with other colleagues is important to building a positive working atmosphere. 

‘Star of the Month’

‘Star of the Month’ is an initiative TAB introduced, where all staff vote for the employee — or employees, as there can be multiple in one month — they feel has gone above and beyond in the month, and deserves recognition for their achievements. The winners are then awarded with a cash voucher and matching donation towards a charity of their choosing. 

Encouragement and positive feedback is clearly important to help all staff feel valued, but it’s equally important to give real tangible incentives for hard work. Having ‘Star of the Month’ helps build confidence in the team and gives the winners company-wide recognition, as well as something tangible they can earn through their hard work. 

Sagar Bharadia, software engineer at TAB, commented: “I find the social gatherings to be really positive —, it gives us time to take a break, talk to each other about things away from work and have some fun! As the ‘Star of the Month’ is peer-based, it’s really supportive to know that what you’re doing is actually having an impact on your colleagues in a positive way and they’re recognising your hard work.”

Officevibe weekly survey

Implementing initiatives and activities is redundant without having proper channels for feedback. One way in which TAB encourages feedback is through a weekly survey that goes out to all staff. These questionnaires are completely anonymous and employees can provide feedback on any topic — from working hours, to support from line managers and work loan management. The weekly surveys let us staff know that their voices are heard and valued, and TAB will try to make real change based on the feedback they received. 

Some of the changes that were brought out following employee feedback include:

  • free healthy food and fruits available in staff kitchen 
  • changes to staff canteen, including more vegetarian and fish options for people with different dietary requirements
  • shorter working hours 

Imogen Paradise, group accountant at TAB, stated: “As a mental health first aider, I’ve learnt how important it is to be engaged and happy at work. Being able to feedback openly is beneficial to having important channels of communication between the business and employees. Since TAB introduced flexible working, I’ve been able to balance my time around the business and my personal life which is an added benefit.

"There’s always more that can be done, and raising awareness about mental health and the challenges workplaces face is only a good thing; if we can share what we’re doing, and other businesses do the same, then there might be clever and interesting ideas we can adopt.”

Mathura Paramjorthy, COO and general counsel at TAB, added: “As well as the internal support TAB offers employees, we also use a HR management system known as CharlieHR, which provides its own benefits for employees, like discounted gym membership and restaurant vouchers. 

“Employers have a responsibility to support the wellbeing of its staff. Health and wellbeing practices should never stand still and we try to keep creating innovative ways to support our employees, such as the introduction of pilates classes this month.”

To conclude, I think it’s important for companies to be transparent and open about what they’re doing to help their employees’ wellbeing. Many of the initiatives TAB have introduced may look like small steps, but they can have huge benefits to one’s mental wellbeing. 

I'm sure there are many more solutions out there that we can learn from other businesses and implement ourselves, and Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity for businesses to raise awareness, and inspire other companies to adopt and learn from what others do. 

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