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Promoting good mental health practices in the workplace

May 13th 2024

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In today's fast-paced and demanding work environments, the focus on employee well-being has never been more critical. Whilst good physical health often takes the spotlight, the significance of good mental health cannot be overstated.

You see, according to the mental health charity, Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem this year, with 1 in 6 experiencing common mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, in any given week.

These numbers are even higher for people who identify as LGBTQIA+, Black or Black British people and women aged 16-24. [Source]

Therefore, as an employer, fostering a supportive, healthy workplace isn't just an excellent idea — it's a moral imperative.

Below are three things we think are essential to promoting good mental health in the workplace:

Set Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Discourage your team from checking work messages or taking calls outside office hours.

Encourage or even obligate (as we do at Foxmere) all your employees to go home on time or as soon as possible after closing.

Don't worry; the work isn't going anywhere.

Never-ending pile of work

All those lovely emails will still be there in the morning, and your staff can return to them well-rested and ready to impress.

Encourage an active lifestyle

It should be no surprise that good physical health directly correlates with good mental health. In fact, according to a recent study by Ukactive, as many as 78% of gym-goers have said that regular exercise has improved their mental health.

Happy man commuting to work

Encourage your team to cycle to work, walk to work, exercise, and generally stay active. At Foxmere, most employees use our cycle-to-work scheme. It's a win-win: Our staff save money, and we have happier, healthier staff.

Alternatively, as part of your perks package, you could offer your staff a gym membership with your local gym. This would not only support your local economy but also encourage your staff to work out.

Promote good sleep health

In his sensational book, `Why We Sleep,` Dr. Matthew Walker discusses the effects of sleep health. He states that good sleep health increases concentration and memory, reduces blood pressure, improves the immune system, and improves positive mood regulation, amongst other things.

Foxmere's copy of `Why We Sleep`

Conversely, a lack of sleep creates issues for our health, including increasing our risk of cancer, Alzheimer's, and heart attacks. Moreover, sustained sleep deprivation is so damaging that the World Health Organisation declared nighttime shift work as a probable carcinogen back in 2007.

At Foxmere, we don't have a strong strategy for this other than leading by example, spreading Matt Walker's knowledge, and having a copy of his book in our library for our staff to read.

Conclusion: Lead by example

The relationship between mental health and workplace productivity is undeniable. Employees who struggle with common mental health issues are more likely to experience decreased concentration, motivation, and overall job satisfaction. In turn, this can lead to reduced productivity and increased absenteeism.

While it's essential to encourage a healthy lifestyle, the most important thing you can do as a leader, a business owner, or a manager is to lead by example.

Your strategies simply will not work if you do not lead by example.

You see, being a workaholic is like a disease — it's contagious!

  • If you work late, your team will feel obligated to work late too.
  • If you take calls and answer emails outside of office hours, people will call you and expect email replies outside of office hours.

Instead, go home on time, spend the evening with your loved ones, and talk to your colleagues and peers about it the next day.

Demonstrate that you can be both an excellent team player and a human being — the two aren't mutually exclusive.

Define a culture where mental health is prioritised, stigma is challenged, and open dialogue is encouraged. By openly discussing mental health, demonstrating empathy, and promoting balance, you can quickly set the tone for your entire company.

Get Help

Below are details on services and organisations that offer help and support directly to people with mental health problems.

The Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day in complete confidence. Call 116 123 for free or email [email protected].

SHOUT 85258 is a free, 24/7, confidential support service. Text SHOUT to 85258 or visit

Shout can help with abuse, anxiety and stress, bullying, depression or sadness, loneliness or isolation, panic attacks, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Mind offers an information line to answer questions about types of mental health problems, where to get help, drug and alternative treatments and advocacy.

Call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 or email [email protected].

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