Team Eames: What more could employers do to support their employee’s mental health?
Mental Health Awareness Week
This Mental Health Awareness Week, we interviewed some of our team asking them to share their thoughts on taking care of their mental health, what more employers can do to support their employee's mental health and some ways in which they can encourage staff to walk more and sit less.
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week this year is nature. Research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.
We asked #TeamEames: What more could employers do to support their employee’s mental health?
"Perhaps have all managers trained in mental health first aid, provide access to tools to encourage mindfulness and rather than an arbitrary “let’s do this” approach, it may be easier to ask them." Abigail Moss, Associate Director, UK
"We have to seek to understand, listen, be empathetic, and direct people to those qualified to help. That, and having lots of resources available internally, as well as fostering a culture where people feel they can seek solace internally and not have to be ashamed or afraid of talking about it." Ruth Foster, Chief People Officer
"I think employers can play their part in encouraging people to speak more openly and not feel ashamed." Liam O'Mahoney, Partner & Associate Director, UK
"It’s a slow shift in changing culture. Ensure there are anonymous helplines for people to contact, and that tools are available via places like the intranet and build in more of a focus into 1-2-1s and employee catch-ups around their mental health." Daniel Navazesh, Partner & Director, UK
"Make sure people have a person outside of their direct reporting line to discuss how they feel, confidential with no repercussions. Make sure managers are trained to discuss mental health in 121’s, look for warning signs and know how to provide support." Danielle Rainert, Head of People & Performance
"Raising more awareness around mental health, offering or promoting services to support people with their mental health and training managers so they can support employees experiencing a period of mental ill health." Sophie Daniel, L&D & HR Consultant, UK
"In the work environment, making sure employees have regular one-to-ones with their managers to talk about any problems they're having. Encouraging ‘positive mental health’, for example, arranging mental health awareness training, workshops or appointing mental health 'champions' who staff can talk to and even encouraging managers to qualify in relevant courses to better equip them to identify and deal with situations that may arise." Matthew Eames, Founder & CEO
"Employers could schedule wellbeing days to remind employees to take a break from work. As we all know, when we are busy with work, we tend not to take breaks." Jasper Ang, Associate Consultant, Singapore
"Regular check-ups with the employee with group activities, such as a group quiz night, movie night, book club which will allow people to interact and build those connections with each other." Jojo Yeung, Operation Manager, Hong Kong
"A lot of the stuff that we’ve been doing in fairness. Make it part of the culture for people to take breaks for their well-being, encourage people to think and talk about mental health either with colleagues or our Employee Assistance Programme and to organise a range of virtual events to help people exercise, socialise and switch off from work." Richard Williams, Director Finance & Operations
"Employers can help promote a strong work-life balance, private and confidential support systems if someone wants to talk about their problems and encourage exercise/walks to keep a healthy mind and body." Nigel Ma, Senior Consultant, Singapore
"Talking about mental health is key so that employees feel able to talk to their employer about their feelings and needs, both physically and mentally. There should be a focus on ensuring we feel we can take the time to prioritise this as it is so easy to forget to take a break or step outside the house when working from home. Top tips for wellbeing are also always welcome!" Lauren Seal, Head of HR & Operations
"The Wellness Week we had at Eames was a really nice thing to do for the company, allowing a day off and having particular themes to the day was lovely." Jessica Hartley, Senior Contracts & Compliance Officer
"More sessions, maybe monthly to talk about how things have been pre and post covid." Robin Muir, Partner & Senior Principal Consultant, UK
"Many companies have embraced action in supporting their employee’s mental health, it is an evolving world and I feel that companies can offer better access to confidential advice and counselling outside of their organisation." Daniel Warwick, Managing Director, Singapore
"Having regular catch-ups with their employees, making sure they know that if support is ever needed that they can comfortably reach out, and reinforcing that everyone goes through tough periods (avoid romanticising this topic, which in reality it’s made out ups and downs)." Rafaela Fakhre, Principal Consultant, UK
"Encourage employees to cut off from work. I’d even argue that employees should be forced off email and their phone when they’re out of the office occasionally. Even thinking back to when I started working in my first proper job in 2005, you could ‘escape’ the office in the evenings and on the weekend unless you had a Blackberry (showing my age…) Not anymore and technology has made it possible to be available all of the time." Glen Roberts, Partner & Director, UK
"Understand that every employee and his/her circumstance differs, eg: some might have a preference to work from the office and others at home. Business in most industries have slowed in the last year and employers should have the empathy to recognize that and hopefully give them more time to perform." Abigail Lee, Principal Consultant, Singapore
"I am going to use my personal experience here so this is unlikely to be close to everyone’s experience. My current organisation and previous employer both gave me great support when I was suffering from mental health challenges and asked me what I needed. Where I think some employers could do more is accept that mental health issues are generally ongoing and can’t always be fixed quickly. Something I have experienced further in the past is an employer attempting to be helpful by giving advice when that advice has not been requested, however well-meaning this advice is supposed to be a person who has not been asked for advice and is not a medical professional should be very careful in offering it as this will not necessarily be the right course of action. I have heard this from other people with their employer trying to give advice they do not have the expertise to give. In my opinion, better to listen and ask the person suffering what they need if this is the situation. If they don’t know what they need then offering empathy and space can still be helpful." Matthew Jones, Head of L&D Asia