Five Ways to Build Up the Mental Health of Yourself and Your Workforce

By Human Capital Group
22nd April 2020

In our latest podcast, Human Capital Group’s managing director Gerard Ball speaks to mental health campaigner and business transformation consultant Geoff McDonald.

Geoff has a fascinating career and has been working tirelessly over the years to end the stigma of depression and anxiety in the workplace.

Coronavirus is currently affecting many different industries across the world and the housebuilding sector is no different. Alongside the more obvious negative effects of the virus, the mental health of many people is also being impacted. Social distancing is causing undue stress and anxiety about Covid-19 can be all-encompassing.

Geoff and Gerard talk about how cultural change can normalise mental health, why businesses should make this a strategic priority and why there is a need to open up the conversation about anxiety and depression. Further to this, Geoff also offers some great practical advice and techniques for housebuilding companies who are looking to better support their workforce.

These really are unprecedented times so Geoff advises that it is important for businesses to recognise and acknowledge the potential psychological effect that coronavirus is having on their employees. Leaders need to understand what factors could contribute to psychological ill health at the moment (general uncertainty and disruptions to social connections) and be more compassionate and alert.

So, what five steps can your housebuilding company take to build up the mental health of yourself and your workforce in general?


1. Encourage others to talk

When Geoff suffered with ill mental health, he was determined not to be burdened by the stigma. Instead he talked about it with his family, friends and colleagues and received an outpouring of love. He says that it was the power of this love that got him through.

Workplaces need to create environments where people can have conversations as just one open and honest conversation could save a life.

The more people share their stories of mental health, the more the subject is normalised, and the stigma removed. At the end of the day, mental health is just part of who human beings are and sometimes you can have good days and sometimes you can have bad days.


2. Reprioritise and normalise mental health

It is so much easier to talk about physical health rather than mental health, but the two really do go hand-in-hand.

Companies need to start looking at the health of their employees in a more holistic way by looking at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual fragments together.

Realistically, these facets of health will affect how people are thinking and feeling and will have an impact on the decisions they are making. The capacity to make good judgements and build meaningful relationships in the housebuilding industry is essential – both of which rely on good overall health.

Keeping people’s emotional and mental wellbeing a priority at the same time as their physical safety is a great way to protect their cognitive abilities.


3. Learn best practice from others

Learning best practice from what others are doing in regard to mental health is a great way to educate yourself and your workforce.

Housebuilders in general are amazing at protecting their employees and keeping them physically safe so therefore they have the capacity, resources and processes to be amazing at looking after mental health as well.


4. Invest

Invest in training to ensure people know how to look after others’ mental health and educate them to remove potential stigmas.

The more we educate people, the more we create a more compassionate, empathetic and understanding relationship with mental ill health. Part of this could be celebrating those who have overcome mental health challenges and are now flourishing. Another way to do this would be to invest in awareness campaigns and wellbeing sessions such as meditation, mindfulness and yoga.


5. Get started

It’s never easy to start a new practice in the workplace and it’s down to leadership teams to become advocates and to make the health of their people a strategic priority.

However, it should be an inclusive process within each organisation. Create a wellbeing group of different people from different parts of the business so they can decide how the workforce would benefit and what the priorities should be.

Coronavirus has clearly demonstrated that when people are not healthy, world economies grind to a halt. Focus on the physical and mental wellbeing of your workforce and you are guaranteed to see the benefits for everyone.


For more on mental health and mindset, take a listen to our podcast episode – Geoff McDonald, mental health campaigner and founder, Minds @ Work: ‘Protecting and prioritising the mental health of yourself and your workforce through the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.’

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