Guerillascope recently attended NABS’ first ever Wellfest, a new workplace wellness conference designed specifically for the advertising and media industry.
The day kicked off with a panel discussion titled ‘Bringing Your Whole-Self to Work’, with experts exploring some of the ways we can all help to improve both individual wellbeing and wellness across the industry as a whole.
It began with a simple question to the audience: ‘have you ever experienced stress due to work?’ Unsurprisingly, every hand in the room went up.
No matter the industry, many of us feel stressed-out due to work at some point. However, despite the majority of us feeling this way, it’s unlikely that we have spoken to a manager about it.
With 1.3 million people in the UK suffering from workplace stress it is not surprising that it is the reason for 45% of lost work days over a year. These frightening statistics highlight the point that wellbeing within the workplace is not only important for staff but also for the company to run as efficiently as possible.
NABS delved deep into these stats to shed light on exactly why there is a stress epidemic within the industry and what we can all do to improve workplace wellness. Some of the issues raised were creative demand, unsociable working hours and deadlines.
However, the catalysts that emerged repeatedly were social concerns we can all work to change, such as relationships with co-workers and feeling comfortable enough to approach management about issues we might be facing.
Stress within any job is normal, but what the panel emphasised was that there has to be balance, and the opportunity to speak out when it becomes overwhelming.
Although they can manifest physically, issues with our mental health often go unseen. This can make it difficult to speak out, leading to misunderstanding and stigma. Encouraging conversations about mental health is the first step in creating a work environment that values employee wellbeing.
Here is our top five tips from the NABS Wellfest that leaders can implement in the workplace:
1. Start the conversation: Everyone should feel comfortable talking about mental health and also have the skills to respond when issues arise.
2. Everyone is different: Not everyone works the same. For some, flexible working reduces stress and for others their desk is their preference. Trust your employees to get work done in their own way.
3. Leadership: Senior management needs to invest time into understanding the correct ways to respond to mental health issues. Look at changes in behaviour and show support when needed.
4. Breaks: Encourage breaks away from desks, have team lunches and suggest walks that give employees a time to relax. Leaving on time and turning off emails when outside of work is also important.
5. Health: Offer healthy food options and physical activities like yoga or running. Physical health is a huge contributor to our mental wellbeing.