S4R News / 8th Oct 2018

World Mental Health Day 2018: Mental health in the marketing industry and how we can promote positive workplace well-being

Mental illness in the workplace has become a big topic of discussion recently and rightly so, with figures from the Mental Health Foundation suggesting that nearly 1 in 7 people have experienced work-related mental health problems. Unfortunately, when looking at the stats for marketing and advertising this number is even bigger; with a 2018 Mind and Nabs survey revealing that 64% of workers in the industry felt work negatively impacted their mental health.

Fortunately, with increasing awareness, more and more employers are looking at ways to provide better support for their employees, and with the return of World Mental Health Day 2018 this week (Wednesday 10th October), Solutions 4 Recruitment are taking a look at what the industry can do to promote better workplace well-being:

1.Promote a work/life balance
Promoting a healthy work/life balance is one of the best things you can do for you and your employees.  Whether it’s encouraging them to take up a hobby outside of work, or offering benefits to your colleagues, such as a lunchtime workout sessions, simple actions such as these can go a long way in helping your employee’s wellbeing. For example, in France, a law has been passed meaning companies with more than 50 employees have to guarantee workers the “right to disconnect” from technology when they leave the office at night.

Ironically, employees who engage in hobbies outside of work and take time to care for themselves are quite often the most hard-working!

2. Encourage discussion
One of the biggest reasons people continue to struggle with work-related mental health issues is because they simply don’t know how or who to talk to. Talking about topics such as stress management, self-care, and mental health openly can help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Of course you don’t want to force the issue, but simply asking someone how their weekend was or talking about your own feelings, can open up the discussion.

3.Provide wellness resources and training
Whether it’s wellness workshops, health insurance, or training for managers, by providing these resources to your employees you not only provide them with a better understanding of mental illness, but also demonstrate your willingness to provide support to employees who may be struggling. For example, PR agency Forster Communications, have developed a mental health ‘toolkit’ to help employers build a culture in which good mental health thrives and those who need help are supported.

4.Spot warning signs early on
Persistent absence and reduced work-productivity may indicate an employee is struggling. By being proactive and spotting signs early on, you can give staff an opportunity to talk about what problems they might be encountering and be in a stronger position to offer support.

5.Brighten up the office
The environment in which you’re working can also affect wellbeing. Simple things like having an area in the office dedicated to taking time out, or offering fresh fruit and having the radio on, can help create a more positive workspace for your employees.

Whilst we in the marketing and advertising industries still have a long way to go in improving workplace well-being, it’s encouraging to see so many employers showing willingness to reduce the stigma surrounding workplace mental health. Improving workplace wellness is definitely a process, and not an overnight change, but implementing these small, simple steps can go a long way in helping your employees with their mental health.