We are all very familiar with the Health & Safety obligations that companies are required to manage. Some are mandatory requirements and others are best practices depending on the industry.
Audits, drills, mandatory training, Health & Safety posters and agenda topics at meetings remind us of those obligations on a regular basis.
From day one, new employees are made aware of their first aid representative, where the first aid kits are located and the process for responding to a first aid incident. Typically, these are all first aid responses to a physical injury.
What isn’t spoken about as openly or freely in the workplace – is Emotional First Aid.
What is the band aid for stopping the spread of negative thoughts? How do we educate or influence our people and ourselves about situations which may impact our mental health or thoughts?
How do we develop our leaders to manage situations like this especially as they could be the most influential person to their team member? Most importantly, how can we support or comfort our people in their time of need without judgement and expectation?
Some things to consider as you start to build mental resilience and wellbeing strategies in the workplace:
- One of the basic needs we have as a human is Connection. Connection to others, connection to a purpose, connection to goals/aspirations and connection to ourselves.
Assess if it makes sense for your company to have a specific strategy dedicated to building connection and if so, what does that look like for your company and culture. This can be anything from structured goal planning to buddy programmes to personal life coaching and everything in between.
- According to the Observer (www.observer.com, 2020) Our brain generates approximately 70,000 thoughts per day. 98% of those are repeats from yesterday and 80% are negative thoughts about ourselves or others. Effective Mind Management tools and strategies will be critical to wellbeing strategies in the future. Simple reframing techniques can be powerful in changing a person’s life and outlook.
- People like structure but they also need flexibility. ‘Feeling Stuck’ is something most of us feel at some point in our lives. People like the option of choosing different paths that interest them. Our Talent Management strategies and Career Mapping paths need to allow for more flexibility. If a person is on one path they need to be given the opportunity to go off course and explore other paths or even change course depending on the different influences they have in their life at that point in time. A supportive backdrop with encouraging (no judgement) leaders is critical to this.
- Labelling emotions in a more accurate way will help us understand the cause of the emotion in an accurate way. For example, there is a big difference between stress and disappointment or stress and fear. Educating leaders or influential people in your company to ask the right questions and understand the stimulus and response to emotions is critical. Understanding the true feeling behind stress will help build the mental resilience quicker and with more impact.
Recent times have put a significant emphasis on the need for and power of mental resilience and strong and impactful wellbeing strategies in the workplace. One size does not fit all and a deep understanding of your peoples’ needs and challenges is important. Perhaps a good starting point is to develop your own Emotional First Aid Kit.