​How employers can raise awareness around mental and physical health


With the world plunged into a pandemic and people being forced to isolate and socially distance themselves, physical and mental health has taken its toll on many. It’s important that businesses break down the stigma around mental health and promote healthy living to ensure their staff remain happy and healthy.

If you’re not already creating an environment to promote mental health and physical wellbeing, here are our tips to building a solid support foundation for your employees:

Have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Having an EAP program will help employees to have access to mental health resources, confidential discussions, and guidance. Ensure your staff know about the program and know how to access it easily. Whether your staff are struggling with/at work or issues affecting their personal lives, it’s important to demonstrate that there is additional support for them if needed, and that you care enough as a business to break the stigma and understand that it is okay for people to require extra help when necessary.

Break the stigma

Companies can break the stigma by normalising the concept of mental health. Unlike physical health, mental illnesses or issues are less obvious to identify and diagnosis is not as clearly defined. Although there is an increasing awareness and acceptance, cultural factors can influence how mental health is viewed and it is still considered taboo in many Asian cultures, especially among the older generation. As an employer, some steps to take to break the stigma could include:

  • Be proactive - mental health check-ins with honest discussion

  • Leader-led communication about EAP and other support services

  • Open communication and transparency (especially during times of global crisis)

  • Offer Mental Health First Aid training

Encourage ‘Wellbeing Ambassadors’ or create an employee resource group

At Chandler Macleod, we have created a Wellbeing Ambassadors group which is led by our HR team. This group is made up of people across the business from different departments and business units including Aurion, Peoplebank, AHS hospitality and Vivir Healthcare. The group aims to highlight special initiatives that are about health, as well as to share wellbeing tips and check in with their teams and colleagues. Having members from across the business allows this culture to thrive in many areas and ensure wellbeing remains a priority. Most recently, the Wellbeing Ambassadors created a cookbook that was shared company-wide, hosted a wellness webinar, published daily blogs, and encouraged wellness from every aspect.

Sometimes creativity and implementing regular wellbeing initiatives can be time consuming or exhausting in itself and bringing in an external vendor/company to manage wellness programs can relieve the stress from organising without impacting the effectiveness. However, it’s important not to be too hands off and make sure there is enough involvement and communication from team leaders.

Create a safe and comfortable work environment

It’s important to recognize that the culture of your company can impact an employee’s mental and physical health. If you expect your staff to work under micro-management and remove any flexibility from their workday, they will feel suffocated and unhappy in that role.

Work towards creating a safe and comfortable environment within the business by:

  • Encouraging short bursts of physical activity or movement during working hours such as a quick walk around the block or a lunchtime workout, especially whilst working from home

  • Encouraging regular breaks to refresh

  • Creating a good flexibility policy

  • Ingraining a flexible work culture and ensuring all your team leaders are on board

  • Avoid micro-management and focus on outcomes instead

  • Actively promote and share physical wellbeing initiatives such as STEPtember to encourage movement and the benefits of how such activities can help employees keeping and feeling healthy.

Implement training for leadership

Wellness training can be extremely helpful in cultivating change and awareness from the top down. Not only can training provide a positive impact to your employees, but it is also important to train leaders in how to improve key areas such as employee engagement, unconscious bias and promoting inclusion and diversity. Wellbeing can affect everyone differently and different strategies will be required for different people.

How do you currently support your employee’s wellbeing? What is an achievable goal for you to implement in the near future?

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