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Mental Health Awareness Week puts focus on relationships

People urgently need a greater focus on the quality of their relationships: that is the message that The Mental Health Foundation is championing during this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

It is a message that is underpinned by recent research carried out by the Foundation, which reveals that the majority of people cite maintaining healthy relationships as the biggest contributing factor to their wellbeing.

Despite this, 46% of the 2,000 adults surveyed said they regretted not giving more time to their relationships.

In a bid to address this issue, the Foundation is lobbying employers to promote positive relationships and tackle any barriers to forming them. This includes addressing the mounting pressures on employees to neglect a healthy work-life balance.

But what measures can businesses take to ensure their employees don’t overwork to the detriment of their social relationships and mental health?

Helping staff achieve a healthy work-life balance

Employers can take a number of measures to help their staff maintain a good work-life balance:

  • They can make it clear to employees that they are not expected to work beyond contracted hours and that doing so will not curry favour with the company.In particularly competitive environments, it can be quite common for employees to try and outdo each other in terms of the length of time they spend in the office. However, research has shown this tends to lead to both burn-out and reduced productivity, which is of benefit neither to the employees nor the employer.
  • Employers can offer Time off in Lieu to staff who work beyond contracted hours. This means that whilst staff might put in longer hours than expected at particularly busy times, they will not sacrifice any free time in doing so.
  • Companies can offer incentives to give staff more opportunity to build those all-important relationships with family and friends outside of work. For example, they could sign employees up to a Reward and Recognition Programme giving them access to discounts on everything from theme parks to restaurants.
  • In some cases, employers might find that flexible working arrangements can help employees get a better work-life balance, restructuring their week so they can be fresher and more productive at work, whilst also being around for their family when most needed.
  • There may also be instances where particular employees are staying a work longer than required in order to avoid a difficult situation at home. By signing up to a counselling service which employees can access for free, employers can help their staff address these issues and create a better balance between home and work.

How Mental Health Awareness Week can help your business

The Mental Health Foundation has put together a host of useful graphics, posters, leaflets and guides, which can be shared with your employees to help raise awareness about mental health issues and the importance of positive relationships. Just click here to see their collateral and start sharing.

Even if you don’t feel that your staff are struggling with mental health issues or their work-life balance, Mental Health Awareness Week provides a good opportunity to show your workforce that you are genuinely interested in their well-being and are ready to help if needed.