Mental Health Matters: The Importance of Employee Wellbeing

11-12 Minutes

How are you doing? And how are you really doing?Wellbeing is a word that gets thrown about a...

By Emily Davies

Senior Content Writer

How are you doing?

And how are you really doing?

Wellbeing is a word that gets thrown about a lot these days, but what exactly does it mean? In Layman’s terms, it means how we’re doing – yes, really doing. It encompasses all the elements that affect our happiness, health, and sense of purpose, but usually, it’s split into three main areas: physical, mental, and financial.

Just like physical health, we all have mental health and we need to look after it all the same. However, the thing with our mental wellbeing, is that it is intertwined with so many other aspects of our world.

For example, did you know we spend more than a third of our lives at work? So, it’s effects on our wellbeing are extensive and continue long after the working day is done.

As a people-first business working within Recruitment and Life Sciences, employee wellbeing is top priority for us at Meet, as it should be for every organisation. As employers, we have a duty of care over our employees, and that includes their personal wellbeing.

In the past, a company culture that supports and encourages employee wellbeing might have been considered a ‘nice-to-have’, but in today’s world, it’s more important than ever before (and even more so if you want to attract and retain the right kind of talent!).

In fact, the latest data from WHO estimates that nearly one billion people live with a mental disorder – that’s one in every eight people! What’s more, Mental Health America reports that each year the number of adults reporting serious suicidal ideations is increasing, so if a member of your team is struggling mentally, it must be taken seriously.

Mental health is important each and every day, and with today, October 10th, being World Mental Health Day, it’s a chance to talk about the importance of looking after it and seeking help if you’re struggling. It’s up to us, as individuals, businesses, and society, to do everything we can to prevent mental ill-health.

With that in mind, we wanted to take this opportunity to be part of the conversation throughout the business world about how we can best support our teams. After all, employees are every business’s best asset, and without them, we simply wouldn’t have companies to run!

So, without further ado, this article will talk through 10 different ways you can support your employees and promote a more wellbeing-conscious workplace.

1.    Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

Anxiety, stress, depression and burnout are becoming increasingly common concerns for employers. Even still, two thirds of workers say they would not feel comfortable raising a mental or emotional wellbeing issue with their employer (Nuffield Health’s Healthier Nation Index).

Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPS, are confidential services that enable employers to support their staff suffering from personal (or workplace) issues that are affecting their overall wellbeing. In fact, since 2008, the use of EAPs has grown by 68% as more employers are becoming progressively more aware of the importance of good health across their teams.

Here at Meet, we provide LifeWorks to both our team and their families. Once signed up to the app, our team is able to access support from outside professionals to talk through whatever issues they’re facing, such as financial hardships, family issues, or legal challenges. Basically, anything impacting their overall wellbeing.

LifeWorks offers five calls per issue per employee. After the five calls have been used up, the healthcare professional will then refer the employee to the best therapy or treatment service for them and their needs.

Blaze McGuire, Head of People here at Meet comments, “Launching LifeWorks was really important to me. It’s not a one-stop shop that will fix everything, but I think to have something external and completely anonymous to our business that gives our staff 24/7 access to healthcare-credited psychologists and therapists, in their language of choice, that they can walk to and go see is really important. Meet covers all of those health and wellness counselling sessions.”

2.    Provide Support and Training on Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, although in general, the conversation is much more candid than it used to be, with some major breakthroughs over the last ten years, there’s still a way for us to go before it’s normalised to the same extent physical health is.

With that said, as an employer, if a member of staff is suffering with their mental health, it’s your duty of care to be able to support them. Providing your workforce with the right training and education surrounding mental health and wellbeing equips team members with the right tools to deal with it whilst also helping to reduce the stigma attached.

If your management team can go through in-depth courses, it can help them spot symptoms, open conversations with their team, and be better prepared to deal with any mental health struggles. By having a company-wide mental health plan in place, and communicating it with everyone, it encourages more open and positive communication surrounding the topic.

Hannah Haigh, Meet’s CEO says, “I’m a huge advocate of coaching and therapy for both professional and personal wellness, which for me are often very overlapped. This comes from first-hand experience of how much this support can optimise mindset and performance while ensuring you can find joy in life’s experiences.”

3.    Promote The Benefits of Physical Fitness

It’s no secret that mental and physical wellbeing are interlinked. In fact, it’s been proven that physical activity can reduce the risk of depression by 20-30%!

But, as anyone with a gym membership knows, looking after your physical health comes at a price. No matter how important it is to stay active, for some, it can be an additional and unaffordable cost (particularly in the current climate!).

Here at Meet, we’ve made these facilities more accessible to our team by offering subsidised gym memberships, virtual exercise classes, cycle-to-work schemes, and comprehensive healthcare packages.

But that’s not all you can do… Some companies have regular nutrition and fitness specialists to come and educate their teams about the impact of a healthy, balanced diet. Others organise regular group exercise classes..

For those on a tighter budget, you can still motivate your team to move with incentivised fitness challenges, such as ‘who can walk 10,000 steps a day for 30 days’. This gives employees a goal to work towards while also encouraging colleagues to spur each other on in healthy competition. What’s more, research has shown that spending time in nature reduces stress levels, anxiety and depression, so pushing outdoor activities can benefit your team in more ways than one!

4.     Show Appreciation and Help Employees Work Towards Their Long-Term Goals

For most of us, work is a huge part of our lives and our personal identity, so of course, we want to be recognised and appreciated for all the hard work we put in. Without it, employees can easily come to feel stagnant and bored in their roles. Plus, a lack of progression can have extremely negative impacts on our mental wellbeing.

Learning and Development is a huge part of any Meet employees’ journey – no matter what stage of their career they’re at. It fulfils the need for growth and with the right tools and support, your team will be motivated to succeed and reach their goals.

Without a Learning and Development plan in place, over time it can lead employees to feel stress, hopelessness, anxiety, and even depression. To find out more about how Meet prioritises our employees’ Learning and Development, head over to In Conversation with Claire MacLeod, Head of Learning and Development.

5.     Introduce Workplace Benefits That Focus on Wellbeing

Humans are all wired differently, so like everyone has different problems, each person needs different solutions to suit their unique needs. Nowadays, thanks to benefit-based platforms like Juno, employees have the ability to select their own benefits to suit their own needs. This can range from things like subscriptions to mindfulness apps and stress management services, to budgeting advice and discounts on leisure activities.

Providing employees access to personalised benefits not only shows that they matter to you, but nudges them to take control of their own health and wellbeing. Like they say, prevention is better than cure!

From Meet’s point of view, when speaking to our talent, we’re noticing that they want more control over their work-life balance and better autonomy over the benefits they receive. Backing this trend, Juno’s Employee Happiness Study found that 58% of respondents stated that improved access to benefits and wellness tools would edge them to go with an alternative role at a different company.

6.     Bereavement Leave

Grief is a strange thing and one that affects us all differently. For some people, busying themselves with normal activities is a needed distraction from their sorrow. For others, everyday life can be a real struggle and even the thought of work can add to their stress in what is an already difficult time.

But death is very much a part of life, so it’s inevitable your team will at some point need some unexpected time off to deal with a loss. While you’re under no legal obligation to do so, having a policy in place to deal with these kinds of eventualities is important to let grieving employees know that you support them, and they can put work aside to take time to process their difficult (and often confusing) emotions.

Of course, grief is subjective so outlining criteria for a bereavement leave policy can be tricky. Still, being empathetic helps build stronger relationships and can impact employee engagement, productivity and loyalty. Here at Meet, we pride ourselves on being a compassionate, flexible bunch and supporting our employees with whatever they need!

7.     Arrange Social Events

With hectic days and looming deadlines, when our teams are in the office it’s all about our partners, clients and candidates. Still, social gatherings are a big (and quite regular) thing in all of Meet’s offices, and something each of us looks forward to.

It’s spending time together outside of the office that helps us get to know each other on a more personal level, and we believe that building these bonds outside of work can help employees feel more supported inside of work.

If you think about it, relationships are incredibly important for our wellbeing, and the average person sees their co-workers more often than not, so without having meaningful relationships, work can feel like a lonely place.

In fact, research suggests that when we build friendships with our colleagues, it can improve our productivity as those who work within a team with friends are more likely to work harder as they feel accountable for their teammates. Not only that, but employees feel more support from their colleagues when overwhelmed and well, it just makes work much a more enjoyable experience!

While we prioritise all kinds of social events, we also want our team’s hard work to be recognised. That’s why we hold Lunch Clubs in top restaurants for our best-performing employees each month. 

8.     Introduce Wellbeing Leaders

Actively creating a wellbeing-conscious workplace requires a lot of effort and a ton of action. So, while it’s all well and good implementing wellbeing initiatives, without anybody being directly responsible for them, standards can easily slip.

Having dedicated Wellbeing Leaders means that those in charge can monitor what the team thinks of your wellbeing initiatives, how they’re engaging with them, and how you can improve them to reflect your employee’s needs. As your company grows so should your offerings, so you cater to all the different types of people in your business.

Here at Meet, we have a dedicated global People function that focuses on the wellbeing of our team across all of our offices. They promote regular discussion around mental health and wellbeing, provide external resources, build relationships and catch up with the team regularly one-on-one, and like everyone at Meet, they promote an open-door policy.

Blaze (Head of People) says, “I think mental wellness, mental health, is really important and it shouldn’t be taboo – it should be an active conversation. What we’re trying to do is create a safe culture where people want to give feedback and we ensure that that feedback is valued.”

When our CEO Hannah was asked what she hopes to see in the future for Meet’s employee wellbeing programme, she said, “As we scale and become even more diverse, I believe our wellbeing programme must do the same. The support I’ve received over the years has evolved significantly and my ambition is that every employee will feel the same way in the future.”

9.     Promote Work-Life Balance and Offer Flexibility

Since the pandemic, there’s been an increasing amount of focus on the importance of healthy work-life boundaries. After all, I’m sure most would agree that once our living rooms became our offices, it’s became much more difficult to strike a balance between home life and work life.

As an employer, it is our responsibility to encourage healthy habits among our teams. That involves things like reassuring employees not to take their work home at the end of the day, clearly communicating your expectations, encouraging them to use up their holidays, limiting their overtime, and restricting usage of work-related apps after work hours. If staff prioritise their own time as well as time on the clock, in the long-run, it reduces the chances of burnout and helps employees remain productive and motivated.

Of course, we all have different priorities as well as different habits. Some people’s motivation comes in the afternoon while others wake up at the crack of dawn and are ready to take on the day. Because we have upmost trust in our team to get the job done, we’ve adopted a flexible hybrid-working model here at Meet, so employees can work when and where suits them best. By doing so, they don’t need to worry about issues surrounding childcare, parent care, and other life priorities.

It seems to suit us and our line of work best, while also supporting the team’s overall wellbeing. Still, we understand that some days things take us by surprise and so we offer a number of ‘duvet days’ to our team too, just in case they need some extra time to recharge!

10.     Provide A Good Working Environment

Our environment has an enormous impact on our overall wellbeing, and so if we’re spending most of our waking hours at work, we need a comfortable space we can thrive in!

Comfortable chairs, working technology, light spaces and greenery all contribute to workplace wellness. Even if your workforce is remote, they should still have the correct equipment to ensure that they can do their job comfortably at home.

At Meet, after the gang delivered on their targets, we invested in some fun bits and bobs for our awesome team, so they have the chance to stretch their legs and socialise throughout the day. 

Between working, sleeping, families, friends, hobbies, finances and social commitments, life can be exhausting! Juggling all these responsibilities takes great skill, and if one ball drops, it’s all too easy for the rest to come crashing down.

Having supportive surroundings helps us take things in our stride. As an employer, looking after your team and helping them become their happiest and healthiest self has benefits for you too! Countless studies demonstrate that when you invest in your people not only does your team flourish but so does your business.

In fact, good employee wellbeing is said to increase productivity by 20% and have a positive impact on motivation, absenteeism, and staff turnover. Our CEO Hannah comments, “I believe that if we create a business where people can bring their whole selves to work and feel supported and engaged, the service we provide to our clients and the Life Sciences industry will be best in class.”

So, with that in mind, let’s look to the future and become more empathetic in our endeavours, create more open conversations around mental health, and promote more wellbeing-conscious workplace cultures.

Book in a call with one of the team about your hiring needs.

Meet Recruitment 2022. Meet Recruitment Ltd., Meet Recruitment Inc. and Meet Personalberatung GmbH are all subsidiaries of Meet Group (No. 13556131) a company registered in England and Wales at Irongate House, 22-30 Dukes Place, London, EC3A 7LP.
Site by Venn