R U OK Day is a key mental health event in Australia hosted on September 12. It encourages individuals to check-in with colleagues and loved ones that might be struggling with their mental health.
The workplace is one of the best places to check-in and asks R U OK with those around you. Many people spend the majority of their time at work and stressors from work or home have a significant impact on their quality of life.
However, there are key challenges in asking R U OK in the workplace including stigma, time, inadequate training or resources and its reinforcement over time.
– Stigma: unfortunately, the same stigma that prevents people from asking for help affects us asking others if they need help. It forms a cycle of struggling and avoidance that can continue indefinitely or until someone is severely unwell.
– Time: if one person at work is stressed or overloaded with work, it’s likely that the rest of the team may feel that on some level as well. This could limit an individual’s awareness of the people around them and the time to actually reach out to those who may be struggling.
– Inadequate training: most people may feel they do not confidently know whether someone is struggling or not and may feel uncomfortable which what to do if someone is not okay.
– Reinforcement: asking R U OK is not a one-time thing but something that should be in-build to the operations of a team and company. Unfortunately, most companies may ask R U OK on R U OK Day but will fail to follow up and support the people who they initially reached out to.
To overcome these barriers to checking in with employees at work, companies can attempt to build Wellbeing Checks into their companies’ workflow. By doing this, companies can aim to make mental health a more common conversation, so that asking for help is more normalised when employees do start to struggle.
Donesafe is a risk management platform that has partnered with Uprise to prevent mental health hazards from arising in the workplace. Uprise is a proactive employee assistance program that prevents the development of mental health hazards by reaching out and offering timely support to employees before they are in crisis.
To ask all of your employees R U OK? You can use the Uprise Wellbeing Check tool for free in September.
The Wellbeing Check is a questionnaire that calculates an individual’s wellbeing score out of 100, relative to the population.
Participating organisations will receive a de-identified report including:
Register your company!
Uprise surveyed HR and WHS professionals and found that the majority believed that communications about mental health should come from senior leaders and HR.
To offer a baseline level of support, it is recommended to send out employee wellness and engagement surveys each month from senior leaders or HR. This should be framed in a way to check in with employees anonymously about how they are coping at work. It shows employees that your senior management is talking about mental health and wants to improve on their workplace experience.
However, it is important that the findings from these surveys are used in a way that attempts to correct whatever feedback employees are sharing. If the issue cannot be resolved, it at least offers an opportunity where senior leaders can explain why something is a certain way rather than ignoring it.
If you would like an automated engagement survey sent out to all of your employees, book a demo of the Uprise program.
Most of the time, responsibility for asking R U OK is given to line managers. This is reasonable as line managers are often the first point of contact for employees and they should be regularly checking in on individual employees in their team.
However, recent reports have found only 17% of managers feel confident in supporting employees with mental health issues and an even greater proportion have never received training to identify mental health issues.
Before expecting a line manager to check-in with their team, senior leaders should be investing time, resources and training into up-skilling their line managers in this aspect of their role.
A key part of this training should encourage talking about mental health, stress and coping at team meetings. This could be scheduled as a mental health meeting once per month where managers talk with the team about their workload, time pressures and how they are managing with the requirements of their role.
This kind of check-in can ensure it happens more regularly and open up more of a conversation between team members. It can be less daunting in a group setting and also have a greater impact on the overall culture of the workplace because mental health is talked about more often. Plus, managers themselves may be feeling stressed and opening up this conversation means peers can offer support back to them as well.
The best way to ensure that wellbeing checks are fully integrated into your workflow is by using a wellbeing check software. Used in conjunction with check-ins from surveys and manager and team meetings, wellbeing check software can assist in tracking wellbeing over time and maintaining a higher level of confidentiality.
Uprise is a digital-first employee assistance program that assesses employee wellbeing, stress and causes of workplace stress. The Wellbeing Check is digital and confidential. It links employees directly to the appropriate level of support based on how they score. Uprise steps up high-risk employees to immediate call-back support and low to medium risk employees are offered proactive training and coaching.
Companies using wellbeing check software like Uprise, can track their impact over time and ensure that employees get access to support when they need it. They receive quarterly reports that show improvements in scores and reductions in risk across turnover, stress and mental health.
This article was provided by Uprise, a proactive Employee Assistance Program and Donesafe certified partner. Uprise and Donesafe offer an integrated platform to manage all your health, safety, compliance and wellbeing management for all employees. With our combined solution which can be accessed for all workers with one login, removing disconnected systems and enabling consolidated reporting.
If you want to learn more about the Donesafe and Uprise partnership, contact us here.