Member News

Wellbeing in the Workplace

Nowadays it feels like there is more attention than ever, especially in the media , about the importance of looking after employees wellbeing, especially their mental health, as this effects employees contribution in work, not least upon sickness.

All employers have their own approach to managing HR, a culture as well as policies and procedures. Not all employers are clear how to best support their employees, including themselves as Managers, with their wellbeing, with their mental health, yet there can be real rewards for employers who do have a strategy in their workplace.

We all want to do the right thing but knowing where to start, how to address what can feel like a thorny issue can feel tricky. Well for employers of all sizes, the Time to Change Employer Pledge may provide a very useful framework.

Time to Change is a national social movement, which for over ten years has been working to change attitudes and behaviour, to reduce stigma and discrimination, regarding mental health.

The Suffolk Hub is one of the first Time to Change Hubs in England, Healthwatch Suffolk are the lead partner in the Hub. Partners in the Hub, along with other organisations in Suffolk, have created their own wellbeing action plans, using the simple framework freely offered by Time to Change, have signed their own Time to Change Employer Pledge, including Healthwatch Suffolk, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk MIND, Sue Ryder and 4YP. The Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board also recently created their own action plan and signed their Pledge.

Organisations of any size can use this handy framework – from ‘one man’ bands to national organisations like NHS England and Tesco.

Before signing a Time to Change Employer Pledge an employer uses a template to create their own Action Plan, encompassing seven domains, and thereby decide how best to support their own employees, including volunteers, mental health, as a very important part of their wellbeing.

We are encouraging employers to seriously consider taking this established route to improving wellbeing in their workplace. This approach fits with employers being able to choose from other resources available in this regard, for example health topics within the current Suffolk Public Health campaign. 

The potential benefits of working to support employees and volunteers with their mental health as a key part in their wellbeing, with signposting to resources which could help not only the employee but also help the employee to source support for their families, was emphasised recently in the October 2017 government report (Stevenson/Farmer), Thriving at Work, which advocates for employers to put a plan in place to support their employees with their mental health https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/thriving-at-work-a-review-of-mental-health-and-employers.

 For more information please visit https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/get-your-workplace-involved/employer-pledge or contact Gill at Healthwatch Suffolk (gill.jones@healthwatchsuffolk.co.uk).

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We are Healthwatch Suffolk and are here to listen to your experiences of health and social care services in Suffolk so that we can use your views to make services better. We also provide information and signposting to help you navigate the health and social care system and understand what to do when things go wrong. We have the strength of the law behind us. It means that the people who run and pay for health and care services must respond to our concerns explaining what action they will take, or why they are not taking action. We get your voice heard where it matters; where decisions are made.

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