Five Steps to Nurturing a Happier Workforce

As Mental Health Awareness week prepares to launch across the UK on 14 May, Contractor Willmott Dixon has offered some simple tips that all businesses can use to help make life at work more pleasant for their employees.

Society’s awareness of Mental Health is at last on the rise, with more and more initiatives and resources being dedicated to an issue which has silently blighted the lives of millions for as far back as we can remember.

One such initiative, All Safe Minds, was launched by major UK Contractor Willmott Dixon in 2017, offering support to tradespeople in the construction sector struggling with depression – and it has been receiving masses of positive attention and feedback from industry colleagues.

14-20 May 2018 is national Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Mark French, Head of Health, Safety and Environment for Willmott Dixon, has constructed five simple steps that employers can implement to provide their employees with a supportive and happy work environment. Completely cost-free, all of these steps work on the basis that when employees feel cared for and appreciated.

Keep work strictly to work hours
Work-life balance is an incredibly important factor in helping to avoid work-related stress and anxiety. By allowing your staff to ‘switch off’ at the end of the day, and respecting their family/private life, they will ultimately feel more inclined to work harder during work hours. Avoid sending late night emails and don’t expect them to sit up until midnight writing reports – mutual respect and common sense go a very long way.

Be Flexible
Life rarely runs to plan. School emergencies, ill-health, hospital visits etc – they’re all stressful enough, without the added worry that your boss is going to penalise you, or even worse, prevent you, from dealing with them. Be realistic – if someone needs time off for a valid reason, make it an easy process. Communicate your company policy, explaining clearly what the expectations are on both sides so that you’re all on the same page – not only will it be massively appreciated but could also help your business function more effectively when emergencies strike.

Make it personal
Small acts of appreciation can go a very long way. For example, at Willmott Dixon we give all our employees a day off on their birthday. We find that remaining staff members don’t mind covering their colleagues for one day, because they know they’ll get their turn when their own birthday comes around. If it helps create a happier workforce, what’s one day between friends?

Encourage personal development and career goals
It’s cheaper and easier to keep the employees you already have, as oppose to recruiting new ones. If your staff become disillusioned, bored or unfulfilled in their work, the likelihood is sooner or later they’ll move on. This is costly for your business in terms of recruitment, interviewing and training time, not to mention the decrease in productivity that can take place while you’re busy getting a new member of staff in place. If you understand what your employees are hoping for in the long-term and help them progress, you’re far more likely to keep them.

Add a simple page to your website
There are already a huge number of professional resources available for people who might be struggling with their mental health. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel – we just need the people we care about to be aware of those existing resources.



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