Baltic Hub Day* #3 (in partnership with Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce) brought businesses together to discuss two vital topics – mental health and workplace culture.
First up was Jane Holland from MerseyCares Life Rooms – a range of community spaces which offer a variety of learning programmes and support which challenge the stigmas and promote positive mental health and wellbeing. The Life Rooms currently have spaces in Southport, Bootle and more recently, Walton – all providing welcoming environments which value and respect every person who steps through the door – complete with library, café and quiet spaces to contemplate.
The Life Rooms have over 30,000 visitors and operate with 45 volunteers who provide support to individuals and groups needing advice, guidance, learning activities or just someone to talk to. It’s open to all and, as some of us stated in the session, it would be amazing to have a similar prevision in Liverpool City Centre (L1fe Rooms?)
We then heard from Linda who works on the Individual Placement Support (IPS) programme and Pathways – an evidence-based approach that supports employment for people with mental illness in their efforts to achieve steady, meaningful work in mainstream competitive jobs, either part time or full time.
30% of line managers have taken part in mental health training
Then, to conclude the first session with Merseycare, we heard a very brave and moving talk from Paul – a recovered heroin addict who has utilised not only MerseyCare Life Rooms but also the IPS Programme. Paul’s story is nothing short of inspiring – from being at rock bottom to getting clean; raising his 4 year old child; running and curating addiction meet-ups; volunteering at The Life Rooms to help other people struggling with mental health and now, as he moves into employed work at the Liverpool Crown Court. “Being in court, for the right reasons” – as he proudly put it.
Some striking figures for mental health in the workplace were also highlighted in the session:
- 1 – 3 people formally diagnosed with a mental illness
- 30% of line managers have taken part with mental health training – More strikingly, 70% of line managers haven’t partaken in Mental Health awareness training.
- 81% LGBT+ have experience Mental Health issues with 72% occurring as work related.
- Further statistics on Mental Health can be found here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics
MerseyCare’s Life Rooms are a valuable resource for individuals and also employers alike – offering advice to businesses on how they can better perform as mental health and wellbeing advocates.
The second session was delivered by Donna Dibbert at Hoyake and provided insight into the culture of the workplace. Donna has worked for a number of large scale tech companies included Siemens.
The group participated in activities exploring what workplace culture is. It’s a cocktail of different things – discourse, ideologies and actions. What became evident in our discussions was how some employers don’t necessarily understand their workforce and how this ultimately leads to lack of productivity and wellbeing amongst a employees.
What does your workplace culture look like? Is it positive? Is it one that truly supports and empowers your staff to be the best they can be – creative, valued and productive?
Donna shared a number examples where negative workplace culture has, in the past, been evident various incidents of unconscious workplace sexism for example. On the contrary, Donna also shone a light on companies that promote a positive culture around their product and workforce – that’s what we like to hear!. A brilliant example of this is outdoor clothing retailer, Patagonia. Patagonia shut their US operations on election day to allow their workers to vote – promoting the importance of democracy, individual decision making and life outside of the workplace, making their staff feel valued and supported.
The session challenged us to think about our own workplace culture and how we can contribute to making our businesses a positive and empowering place to work. It’s obviously important not to lose sight of the significance of staff, both in terms of productivity and also, in their wellbeing and contribution to making your company a great place to be – day in, day out.
So, if you’re a business with a number of staff members or if you’re looking to employ more staff, then what does your workplace culture look like? Is it positive? Is it one that truly supports your staff to be the best they can be – creative, valued, healthy and ultimately super productive?
Or if you a member of staff who has ideas on how to better your work culture and staff wellbeing? Then speak up, share your ideas, make changes and continue to promote positive work environments.
*Baltic Hub Days are a series of FREE workshops designed to provide advice on specific issues faced by businesses working in the creative and digital sectors. Delivered by expert delivery partners, Baltic Hub Days take place on the last Thursday of every month, comprising of two tailored workshops along with the option to network at lunchtime. The next Baltic Hub Day takes place on Thursday 25h April.