5 Ways to Make the Workplace More Inclusive.

On 9th – 15th May, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, so it’s the perfect time to discuss what you can do within the workplace to support your colleagues and staff. Making the workplace more inclusive can be as simple as adding in a few minor changes to your day-to-day life; after a while, these will become second nature, and the results can be massive.


So, what can you adjust in your daily routine?


Scheduling Meetings

Something that we have seen more and more of on LinkedIn lately is employees celebrating their line managers (and team) for making one small change when sending meeting requests for an unplanned meeting.

Something as simple as adding a ‘(nothing bad)’ or including an agenda to the description can make a world of difference for many people, especially those who suffer from mental health issues! To someone who doesn’t suffer from mental health problems, an unexpected meeting request might go over their heads, something they won’t even give a second thought to. Whereas an anxious brain or someone who suffers from rejection sensitive dysphoria, a simple ‘Are you free for a chat?’ can quickly be translated into ‘I’ve done something wrong’ or ‘I’m about to get sacked’.

Accompanying your meeting request with something to set those thoughts at ease will go a long way for the anxious people of the world.



Open door policy

Something we’re extremely proud of at Focus 5 is our open-door policy. We’re big mental health advocates and make that clear from day one. We want our team members to feel comfortable being able to speak out if they’re struggling. Once a month we have private (face to face) 1-2-1’s that take place outside the office so the team can discuss anything that’s concerning them, in or outside of work. This 1-2-1 won’t just be about targets, it’s about support – what can we do to help YOU! Is there something you think we could be doing better to accommodate your needs? We’ve learnt a lot from these and adjusted things accordingly. For example, we now have private health care that includes counselling and CBT sessions for our team to use at their discretion. We spoke to one of our wonderful directors, Fiona McCarthy, about this and she said: “To me, it’s all very simple. Once you step into an office or a working environment, you don’t suddenly not become a person with thoughts, feelings & emotions. Why would you treat anyone at work any different to how you would treat your friends & family at home? Be kind & let your team know that your door is ALWAYS open to come and talk to you about anything that they want.”


Opening the door to make your team feel more at ease is another simple change we’d love to see more companies adding to their mental health policies.





Follow up emails

There has been a big increase in people, especially women, being diagnosed with ADHD in the last year or two – TikTok has 100% had something to do with this. It has created a space to talk about things openly, which in turn has resonated with a lot of people and led to them being officially diagnosed.

So how can follow up emails help someone with ADHD? An ADHD brain is always running at 200mph with hundreds of different things going on all at once, so it can be so easy to forget things. Something as simple as a follow up email can be extremely useful, for example, after a meeting just firing something over that outlines what you’ve spoken about can help a lot!

This isn’t just helpful for those with ADHD either; a lot of mental health problems can cause brain fog and forgetfulness. This could be helpful to a lot of different people!





Use Software

It can be hard to keep up with all the different types of software on the market… one that we find helpful is Monday.com. Monday is an online to do list that you can collaborate with your colleagues and create different boards. As well as being able to assign tasks to your teammates, you can add a deadline. Once a deadline is set, Monday will send reminder emails. This is perfect for anyone who get easily overwhelmed. Being able to write down all your tasks with a priority list can really help you feel more organised. Not to mention, it’s always great to get a hit of endorphins as you tick something off your list!




Stay Connected

In this new working world, hybrid and remote roles are becoming the ‘new norm’. As exciting as it is to land a role where you have the option to work from home, it can also become quite lonely working solo. Working and living in the same space, day in day out can really take a toll on your mental health. Staying connected with your teammates is vital for remote working, it reminds us that we’re not alone and there are people we can reach out to.

As well as staying connected over teams’ chats, it’s important for your own mental health to get out of the house. Whether that’s a short walk on your lunch, working from a coffee shop or hitting the gym later in the day – staying inside and isolated can take a massive toll on your mental health. Afterall humans are social beings!



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These are just a few things you can do to make the workplace a more inclusive place for those who suffer from mental health issues. If you’re suffering with mental health problems, there’s a range of different resources online that you can access, including:


MentalHealth.Org

MIND UK



You can also call to speak to someone directly with the below numbers:


· Samaritans. To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email jo@samaritans.org or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Samaritans Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).

· SANEline. If you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).

· National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK. Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (open 24/7).

· Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). You can call the CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) if you are struggling and need to talk. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.

· The Mix. If you're under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (3pm–midnight every day), request support by email using this form on The Mix website or use their crisis text messenger service.

· Papyrus HOPELINEUK. If you're under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email pat@papyrus-uk.org or text 07786 209 697.

· Nightline. If you're a student, you can look on the Nightline website to see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.

· Switchboard. If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email chris@switchboard.lgbt or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.

· C.A.L.L. If you live in Wales, you can call the Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L.) on 0800 132 737 (open 24/7) or you can text 'help' followed by a question to 81066.

· Helplines Partnership. For more options, visit the Helplines Partnership website for a directory of UK helplines. Mind's Infoline can also help you find services that can support you. If you're outside the UK, the Befrienders Worldwide website has a tool to search by country for emotional support helplines around the world.


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