Spending 11 days in complete isolation has given me substantial time to think about where I am on my journey with Breaking the Silence, a crusade that began four years ago to create kinder cultures of trust in the workplace that are free from the stigma of mental health.
I have read so much in that time about how businesses are having to adapt to survive the coronavirus and keep remote workers emotionally engaged. I will admit to having moments of genuine panic about how much I will need to adapt my content.
My four key messages to business leaders will remain the same if you want to optimise performance and engagement during this crisis
Although I have seen evidence that many employers are now pro-actively trying to understand more about mental health in the workplace, too many are still simply ticking boxes and in reality have made it no easier whatsoever for employees to feel safe to open up about their wellbeing.
Many Senior Execs openly boast that they now have a team of Mental Health First Aiders but have not addressed their culture. The role of a ‘wellbeing champion’ can make a difference but I am yet to see it work in isolation. Businesses that are seeing the biggest reduction in stigma are those who are taking a more holistic approach that involves the training of all managers. Businesses who are authentic in their approach to kindness will also see the biggest improvement in the engagement of their employees.
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