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Fostering mental health in the workplace

Today, we celebrate World Mental Health Day – an international day for mental health awareness and initiatives. How can organisations participate in championing the importance of mental wellbeing in the corporate world?

Visma Aarhus

In many companies, employees often find themselves juggling numerous projects, tight deadlines, and high stakes all at once. On top of that, they’re also balancing everything happening in their personal lives. It can be a lot to hold, which is why it’s so important for companies to have initiatives in place to help take care of mental health. Creating a work environment that is supportive, empathetic, and understanding makes all the difference. 

When a company dedicates resources to mental health support, they ensure that help is always available to balance work with everything else. Here are some of the initiatives that we have implemented to amplify mental health awareness internally and offer any support that’s needed.

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Hosting a wellness day, week, or even month!

The importance of mental, social, and physical wellbeing should be front and centre all year round. A company’s commitment to supporting their employees’ health should not only be confined to World Mental Health Day – it should be embedded in their everyday operations, interactions, and long-term strategies. With all that in mind, there’s something to be said about recognising and doing something special on days like World Mental Health Day. It shows employees that work is a safe space, and it might engage those who normally wouldn’t discuss such topics with coworkers.

Today, Visma Sweden is hosting a Wellness Day. The goal is to increase awareness about available resources and support systems, stress management, mindfulness, and other coping mechanisms. It’s also a way to break down barriers by allowing colleagues to speak more openly and reduce the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues. To mark the importance of this day, there will be a series of webinars given by speakers, authors, and our own colleagues who are passionate about mental health.

In addition to these webinars, we’ve set up an internal Wellbeing page for all of our employees with the following resources:

  • Visma Stretch Sessions/mini breaks on Youtube, which will also be sent out as calendar invites so employees can block off time to take breaks during the day.
  • Walk’N Listen podcast, which encourages employees to get away from their desk and go for a walk outside while they listen.
  • Other wellbeing webinars and seminars throughout the year.

Measuring health and wellbeing among colleagues

Considering that mental wellbeing and work-life balance are such important factors for the collective performance of a team, they should be measured regularly. At Visma, we send out an internal survey to all employees on a monthly basis. This includes a “Health & Wellbeing Index”, which allows us to take a proactive and preventive approach to employee health and wellbeing by investigating how our initiatives, professional relationships, and internal support affect the everyday employee experience.

The index specifically measures how employees perceive our efforts to support them in taking care of their mental wellbeing and physical health. It also measures whether they think that mental wellbeing is important to senior leadership, and if they’re satisfied with the benefits that we provide (such as health insurance, healthy food options at the office, etc.)

Teaming up with other organisations for preventive initiatives

If your company lacks expertise in managing mental health, there are many organisations you can team up with to provide mental health services. At Visma, some of our partnerships include: 

  • Employee insurance by Euro Accident in Norway, a provider of health insurance for over 400 000 people in Scandinavia. They combine insurance with health preventive services and expertise, so that employees maintain a good quality of both their private lives and work lives.
  • Auntie in Finland, which provides services to create a healthier work environment with happy employees. Auntie Professionals are trained psychologists, solution-focused therapists, or psychotherapists that provide support beyond traditional therapy. 

Our best advice is to explore and tap into local resources to find out how they can assist your organisation specifically – whether it’s a large corporation or a small start-up. Attend seminars and other events in your local area to learn more about maintaining the mental wellbeing of colleagues and employees.

Designating areas for relaxation in the office

Designated relaxation zones offer a place for employees to take a break and unwind. It also creates a social space for coworkers to hang out in a more casual and relaxed setting. Whether it’s an area designated for peace and quiet, meditation, physical activity, or breastfeeding (or, preferably, areas for all of the above), providing relaxing places to retreat to signals that the organisation values their employees’ wellbeing.

Remember: Mental health is an ongoing journey

People are the heart of the company. That’s why their mental health and wellbeing should take centre stage. Leaders and managers should be equipped with the right tools for recognising signs of mental health struggles, and how to approach them with empathy, professionalism, and support. 

Today, and every day, the importance of mental health and work-life balance needs to be advocated for. As we work to create environments where every individual feels seen, heard, and supported, we set our sights on a future where mental wellbeing is not only recognised but embedded in the core of every company’s culture.

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