World Mental Health Day falls on October 10th and comes as a timely reminder of the struggles that people have faced in the workplace – especially over the last 18 months.
From the challenges of furlough to the hardship of business closures and unemployment, globally, there has rarely been a time like the covid-19 pandemic, and as such, the landscape of ‘the workplace’ has changed significantly. Working from home is now ‘the new normal’ for a lot of office-based staff, and whilst some businesses have started to venture back to life in the office, 9-to-5 has been replaced with a more flexible and accommodating schedule.
However, for those of us who were classed as ‘key workers’ throughout the pandemic, such as healthcare workers, carers and emergency services, retail and like Glossop Cartons – manufacturing, – the burnout hit these sectors hard.
Along with the ongoing issues of Brexit, the container ship that got wedged in the Panama Canal (of which the effects of the delayed shipments are still being felt) and now the HGV driver shortage, it can feel as if it’s just one thing after another. If you don’t have a strong support system in place, it can really start to take its toll.
We’ve already started to see support systems put in place in other sectors, such as the NHS’ Healthchain – an online hub set up by Health Workers’ Foundation (HWF) to offer help to all healthcare staff when they need it, be that free or discounted services from HWF, including financial assistance, childcare grants, PPE, and counselling and therapy sessions.
And Glossop Cartons is no different. As an employer of more than 100 people, Glossop Cartons has a responsibility to ensure that all staff are happy and healthy – both physically and mentally, and as such, the senior management team have put structures in place to support the mental health of our people, including:
• creating an open door policy at all times, with staff encouraged to talk through any concerns or issues they may have.
• holding ‘team talks’ between the senior team and representatives from all departments regularly which offers an opportunity for staff to discuss progress and make suggestions for any improvements, with everyone encouraged to participate fully.
• a focus on staff training, from introductory health and safety and induction courses to fast-tracking staff through in-house training to further their career within the company. This focus on training and progression helps our staff feel valued and helps Glossop Cartons to retain the workforce’s years of experience, which is then paid forward to our customers via our high service levels and quality of work.
• supporting flexible working where possible. During the pandemic, Glossop Cartons supported flexible working. This helped to meet social distancing needs and any personal requirements of individuals.
• a dedicated mental health helpline set up by the Printing Charity, which we encourage staff to call if they are struggling.
Perhaps because of this approach, Glossop Cartons enjoys excellent staff retention with around 40% of staff having been with Glossop between 5 and 30 years.
This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’ but we hope that by working together and listening to our team, that Glossop Cartons can lead the way in creating an equal and empowering work environment for all our staff.