Mental Health at the Workplace

While mental health in the workplace has become a hot topic in recent years, there’s no doubt some stigma still exists around discussing mental health in a professional setting. With the ongoing effects of the pandemic, increased remote working and blurring of lines between home and work life, addressing mental health in the workplace has become increasingly difficult.

Positive mental health at work helps us flourish in our roles, manage stress and improve our resilience. In the long run, it allows us to reach our highest potential.

What is causing the increase of mental health issues in the workplace?

  1. There are many factors to consider including the impact of the lockdown.
  2. Some employees will be anxious about their family and friends.
  3. Many will have suffered bereavements, often without the chance to say goodbye or attend funerals.
  4. Fears about job security, returning to the workplace (including using public transport for commuting) and financial concerns.

However, there are still many other work-related factors that can harm mental health, such as excessive workload, financial difficulties, poor communication and workplace bullying.

Survey (see appendix 1)

A survey of employees from 129 UK businesses carried out by Wildgoose, which is a team building and virtual events business, discovered that:

  • Two in three people experienced worse mental health at work over the last year, compared to the previous.
  • One in three employees feel less able to raise mental health concerns during remote meetings.
  • 86% of employees feel that their workplace is not a safe environment for employees to be open about mental health concerns.

What can businesses do to support employees with their mental health?

It starts with knowing the signs of mental health. Even with a healthy work culture in place, some employees may struggle with underlying mental health conditions, with or without the added stress of the pandemic.

It’s easy to miss some of the early warning signs of mental illness in the workplace. Common signs that you should look out for are:

  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability
  • Extremely high and/or low moods
  • Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic changes in eating and/or sleeping habits

Communicate more than you think you need to

Meet with employees often to check-in, not just regarding work, but also on how they are doing in general.

By simply asking an employee, if there’s anything that they need can be extremely impactful in showing you care, especially for employees who are more reluctant to ask for help. 

Make sure you always keep your team informed about any business changes or guideline updates. Additionally, you can set expectations on workloads or projects and recognise that things may slide from time to time, but it’s how you manage these together as a team.

Make your team aware of mental health resources and encourage them to use them. Be aware that shame and stigma prevent many employees from using mental health benefits to seek treatment, so normalise the use of those services.

Encourage team support

An important part of a healthy work environment is a team that supports one another. As a line manager, encouraging working together as a team and participating in group exercises to de-stress can prove beneficial.

To help employees feel connected while they are physically distanced i.e., working from home, you can organise team-building activities for virtual socialisation, such as:

  • Trivia/game night
  • Group fitness classes
  • Virtual happy hour
  • Video show and tell
  • Book clubs

Both businesses and line managers need to make it clear that discussing mental health is important and nothing to be ashamed of. You should communicate that talking about mental health will lead to support and not discrimination. This could be achieved through normalising conversation around mental health in the workplace and actively encouraging discussion.

If you think your own mental health may be affecting your work, reach out to your line manager or HR team who will then be able to assist you further. You’re more likely to feel better knowing that you have a support group around you who can assist you.

If you would like to know more or take part in mental health events, take a look at our previous blog post on Mental Health Awareness Week for more information and resources.

Reshape HR is here to assist. We work with a variety of clients based across the UK, so if you are looking for HR or Payroll support or simply looking to run something past us, please do get in touch with us via:

T: 0141 471 5510
E: info@reshapehr.com
W: reshapehr.com 

Appendix 1:

Within the finance industry:The hospitality industry:The communications sector – marketing, advertising and PR – saw the greatest impacts from the decline of social contact:
  68% of employees had experienced increasingly poor mental health at work over the last year

Mental health absences were far higher in the financial services than others      
64% increase in reported poor mental health in the last 12 months.

100% of respondents to the survey agree that they don’t receive enough support.

32% of employees feel comfortable raising mental health concerns.  
Two in five employees surveyed feel less able to raise mental health issues during remote meetings (despite nine in ten companies having a process in place for remote employees to raise their concerns).

34% feel that a lack of in-person socialising makes mental health concerns harder to spot.  

Mental Health Awareness Week


Mental Health Awareness Week is celebrated globally on an annual basis. It seeks to inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for everyone. 

This event is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, who have been both organising and hosting Mental Health Awareness Week for the last twenty-one years.

This year the Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from the 9th – 15th of May 2022


For 2022, the theme is “Loneliness”, which focuses on the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing and what steps we can undertake to reduce it.

According to www.mentalhealth.org.uk “Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health and we need to find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness”. 

Mind.org.uk suggest that “Feeling lonely isn’t in itself a mental health problem but the two are strongly linked. Having a mental health problem can increase your chance of feeling lonely”. 

What causes loneliness?

There are many causes that can vary from person to person, depending on their experiences or what they are experiencing at the time. For some it can be certain life events such as:

  • Experiencing a loss of a family member or friend
  • Retiring and losing the social contact which you had at work
  • Changing jobs and feeling isolated from your co-workers
  • Moving to a new area or country without family, friends or community networks
  • Starting at university or college
  • Being unable to see your family, friends and colleagues due to Covid-19 restrictions

For other people, they might find that they feel lonely at certain times of the year, such as the festive period over Christmas and New Year, birthdays or even events such as anniversaries.

What can I do to help reduce loneliness?

There are many ways that are suggested to help reduce loneliness, some of these are listed below:

  • Talk to family and friends – A simple conversation with family or friends can help you to understand how you are feeling. 

According to mentalhealth.org.uk “Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. And it works both ways. If you open up, it might encourage others to do the same.”

  • Looking after yourself just doing some simple things to help look after yourself can improve your general wellbeing such as; taking a break as and when you need to, eating healthily and keeping yourself active. 
  • Joining a social group Having like-minded people around you, that enjoy the same activities and hobbies can help to reduce your loneliness over time, as you become more acquainted with your peers.
  • Get the Samaritans Self-Help app – The Self-Help app was created by the Samaritans with the purpose to provide a type of support that you can use without having to discuss your feelings with someone else, it is a web application which you can download onto your phone or computer. 

If you would like to download the Self-Help app, then please go to https://selfhelp.samaritans.org

If you feel that your mental health is being affected, be sure to reach out to your support system or a mental health support service as soon as possible. 

We recommend that you get in touch with Able Futures which is a government funded charity, which can provide a program/support for all matters relating to mental health, their website is able-futures.co.uk and their direct number is 0800 321 3137.

Reshape HR is here to assist. We work with a variety of clients based across the UK, so if you are looking for HR or Payroll support or simply looking to run something past us, please do get in touch with us via:

T: 0141 471 5510
E: info@reshapehr.com
W: reshapehr.com


Walk to Work Day


We do know with the vast ways of travelling it may be difficult for some of us to walk to work, whether it is the distance, our physical condition and sometimes other factors and priorities may affect our decision.

Most of our day-to-day activities would often require us to sit in one place, with little to no movement due to working in an office chair or at an office desk with your colleagues.

This inactive lifestyle is not healthy, as it can lead to weight gain, heart problems and more.

When is it?

On Friday the 1st of April this year, it is Walk to Work day.
Walk to Work Day is an exciting and valuable day, since walking is one of the simplest and enjoyable exercises in the world, it:

  • burns calories
  • exercises our muscles
  • refreshes our mind.

According to walkingforhealth.org.uk “Walking improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue”.

Do I need to walk to work?

No, you don’t need to walk the complete distance to work, even walking to your bus stop or train station also counts. The focus of Walk to Work Day is to celebrate being more active.

Here are a few tricks which you can use to make your walk to work much more enjoyable:

  • Listen to your favourite music – walking to the beat of your favourite music will make the walk more enjoyable.
  • Slow down and look around – there are a lot of small details which we miss when we are driving to work and are in a state of tunnel-vision, like the blooming of the dandelions and beautiful flowers.
  • Fresh perspective – take this time to admire the sky and the world around us.

Additionally, there are no annoying traffic jams or construction slowing you down, so you can enjoy your
leisurely travel to work without a problem.

What benefits will I gain from walking to work?

There are multiple benefits to walking to work, some of these are:

  • Saving money – By not driving your car to work or taking public transport, you will save money by not using fuel. An additional bonus is that your carbon footprint is reduced.
  • Becoming more physically active – According to the NHS “A brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise”.

How can I celebrate Walk to Work day?

Here’s a few steps which we would recommend:

  • Leave your car at home – By leaving your car at home, you are telling yourself that you will walk to and from work, you will cherish the sunlight, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy yourself. You are not just helping your body; you are also helping the environment by lowering your carbon footprint.

  • Invite your friends, neighbours and colleagues – Make a day out of the occasion by getting your friends, neighbours and colleagues involved. You will enjoy the walk more, stop by a local café or a shop to grab some snacks and a drink on the way.

  • Make a habit out of it – There is no better way to honour the day than by walking to work on a daily or a weekly basis.

    It can benefit you for years to come, and you will also save money on fuel, car maintenance, and costs related to using public transport.

How can I celebrate while working from home?

You can go on a 30-minute walk around your neighbourhood. By breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the walk, you will gain the same feeling and exercise that you would get from walking to your workplace.

If you are not able to leave your home due to certain reasons or restrictions. You could give yourself some
walking breaks throughout the day by getting up from your work desk, stretching and walking to other areas of your house.

Reshape HR is here to assist. We work with a variety of clients based across the UK, so if you are looking for HR or Payroll support or simply looking to run something past us, please do get in touch with us via:

T: 0141 471 5510
E: info@reshapehr.com
W: reshapehr.com


Time to Talk Day

Time to Talk day was launched in 2014 and is a UK campaign to get people talking and opening up about their mental health.

It’s the day that friends, families, communities, and workplaces come together to talk, listen, change lives and end the mental health stigma.

If you need support or just need someone to speak to, please call the Samaritans on 116 123.