Bosses and staff urged to look out for stressed colleagues over festive period



Bosses and employees are being urged to look out for the mental health of colleagues over the festive period.

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) and mental health organisation See Me have teamed up to offer advice on how business owners and managers can look out for their staff who may be under stress tying up work before the ed of the year.

Eamonn Keane, head of cyber and Innovation at SBRC, said: “Given the workplace is where the majority of us spend a great deal of our time, it should be a supportive environment where people look after one another. In cyber and digital we regularly use the expression ‘people, process and technology’ in improving our position. However, it’s the people who are the very heart of everything we do.

“Employee wellbeing is a key element of overall business resilience. For an employer, creating a healthy working environment can be important in ensuring a productive and effective organisation. So, while these tips will help staff, they also impact across the business to make it a much safer environment for everyone.”

As the temperatures drop and the nights get longer and darker, it is important that staff members take time to check on their other colleagues. Christmas and the New Year can be some of the most stressful weeks for employees.

Wendy Halliday, interim director at See Me, said: “There’s a significant problem with people in Scotland not being able to speak openly about their mental health in the workplace, which can lead to people feeling like they’ve nowhere to go if they’re struggling. It’s really important that in all areas of our lives we’re able to say we’re not ok – especially in work.”

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See Me encourages workplaces to have three key things in place which can help tackle stigma and create mentally healthy cultures:

  • Leadership role models: when leaders can talk openly about mental wellbeing issues, take part in learning events and lead sessions with other employees, this all impacts the perception and practicality of the working environment.

  • Good internal communication: if employees aren’t aware of the existence or purpose of support in the workplace they can’t access it. See Me encourages regular communications across multiple channels to raise awareness of available support.

  • Line management: all managers need to know what supportive conversations look like within their various roles.

Halliday added: “If you’re worried about someone, you can help by asking if they’re OK and showing you care. The fact that a tenth of people wouldn’t recommend someone for a job if they had a mental health problem shows the need for more education on mental health in work.”

See Me’s aim is to end mental health discrimination. Their programmes challenge discrimination and stigma at its roots, encouraging colleagues, friends and family to take part in efforts to support the mental health of those around them. It runs a See Me in Work programme, a four-step improvement plan for workplaces to make continuous improvements to their culture, practice and policies to directly tackle mental health stigmas.

The SBRC works to create a secure environment where business can thrive. A key factor to making Scotland a more resilient place to live and work is ensuring workers feel safe and protected in the workplace.

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