Mental health is a growing issue for thousands working in hospitality, retail, healthcare and logistics. According to our report The State of the Deskless Workforce 2020, nearly 40% of the UK’s deskless workforce say their job has had a negative impact on their mental health in the past 12 months - a figure that topped 50% at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A combination of long hours, low pay, concerns over job security, fear of having to take sick days and poor communication have created a perfect storm of stress and poor mental health.
These problems are echoed across the globe with nearly half of employees in the UK and at least 1 in 3 deskless workers in the US, Germany and Sweden saying they didn’t feel valued by their employer.
A whopping 80% across surveyed markets also say they are contacted by their employer when they aren’t working, blurring work life balance. The numbers are particularly high in the US, UK, and Netherlands while Denmark is the exception to the rule with only 36% of workers contacted off-hours.
So is there any good news? Yes, there is.
As an employer you can help to boost your workforce’s mental health by implementing simple solutions. You just need to approach the problem differently, since grabbing 15 minutes during a shift to practice mindfulness, enjoying a Swedish fika or playing a quick game of ping pong isn’t as easy for workers who aren’t in an office with their own workstation.
Here are five tips on what you can do instead:
1. Prioritise flexible schedules
Our report showed your employees crave flexibility and having flexible schedules goes a long way to making sure your employees are happy at work. On top of that, good schedules can also reduce labor costs, keep customer satisfaction high and generate more sales.
But even so, shift workers rarely have control of their schedules and, more often than not, only get on average three days' notice of the next week’s schedule. This can have a huge impact on their lives outside of work making it challenging to plan their time.
For part time workers, or people working in the gig economy, this also greatly increases the challenge of working multiple jobs. By creating more flexible schedules, you can make your employees lives better while simplifying your staff planning and management.
2. Practice ‘Happynomics’
The concept of Happynomics and happiness at work isn’t about gimmicks; it’s about recognition, communication, wellbeing, having a sense of pride, feeling empowered and having job satisfaction.
As our culture shifts from being based on materialism to experimentalism, your employees will also:
Be less concerned about how much they earn.
Be less inclined to work long hours to earn more money.
Be more concerned about the quality of their work life.
Want to work for an organisation who has values that align with theirs.
Want their work to have a strong purpose and meaning behind it.
In short, creating a happy workforce is an essential ingredient in creating a happy and successful business.
3. Protect time off
Time off means time off. Unless your employees have explicitly stated they’re happy to hear from you when they aren’t working (which they can do, for example, with a WFM app). As an employer, you should actively work to give them a strong work life balance and stress the importance of recharging, switching off, and not worrying about work when they aren’t working.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to them. Great communication is a true game changer. Encourage staff at all levels of an organisation to talk freely, openly and honestly with each other, making them feel that they are in a safe environment where they can share their concerns or experiences with confidence and without judgement.
4. Promote wellbeing at work
From practicing mindfulness to encouraging healthy eating and regular activity, promoting wellbeing at work is a sure-fire way to improve mental health in your workforce.
These are even better when they are group activities - either in person or virtually. Weekly workouts, team breakfasts, or half an hour of group yoga are all examples of the different activities that we at Quinyx loves and you could implement to improve happiness and wellbeing.
5. Praise often
A study carried out in the UK found companionship and recognition are more important than high salaries in promoting employee loyalty and making employees feel valued. Being kind to colleagues creates a culture where warm, positive and respectful relationships are highly valued. Simple acts of kindness on a regular basis will benefit you and your team as well as reducing stress.
Thanks to the latest tech, like a mobile-first WFM solution, improving mental health in your organization doesn’t have to be hard. Technology is your friend and can be a great enabler in helping you boost wellbeing in your workforce - whether that’s making it easy for your employees to embrace flexible working or giving you an easy way to survey your workforce and see how they are feeling at any given moment.
Download our report on the state of the deskless workforce in 2020 for more insight and analysis.