As Mental Health Awareness Month begins this week, we had a discussion with Astrud Lotz, Global Head of Human Resources at ZEDRA, on how important good mental health at work is and how employers support mental wellbeing.

By zedraadmin

The good mental health of Employees is paramount to any company’s success. Stress does not only fuel absenteeism but also affects employees’ performance and engagement towards the company, which may then perpetuate and increase stress. More recently lockdowns, quarantines and working from home may have exacerbated our levels of anxiety due to isolation from friends, fear of the health implications of a pandemic but also a lack of in person day to day interaction with colleague.

Poor mental health triggers such as stress or anxiety can derive from, and impact, personal and working lives and it’s only natural that there will be a cross over between the two. Where Employers support mental health it will have a better outcome for its Employees across both these areas.

The stigma once associated with mental health has, quite rightly, become less and it is really important to me as Global Head of Human Resources, our CEO and ZEDRA’s senior leadership team, that all employees knows that as colleagues, and as a company, we will support them in the best possible way we can.

How does ZEDRA implement mental health in the workplace?

During lockdown, as a business, we thought very carefully about our responsibilities as an employer from a physical and mental health perspective. We chose not to implement a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to supporting physical and mental health, not least so because it was such unchartered territory for everyone. Managers checked in with their staff often, in both a group and a personal setting. This included regular one to one catch up calls, virtual social events and sport initiatives so colleagues remained part of a team, albeit virtually.

Based on the positive feedback from our employees and their continued engagement, we have recently introduced ZEDRA WellneZ, a comprehensive global wellbeing strategy and annual programme.

As part of this, we launched an internal campaign to encourage ZEDRA’s employees to volunteer as ‘Champions’ for their jurisdiction, working closely with the wider wellbeing team to facilitate, engage and sign post all wellbeing activities within each jurisdictions.

Wellbeing is one of your core people initiative for 2021. Why do you think it matters so much?

We are living the most in uncertain and ambiguous times. We want to create a space where each employee can sit down, share their concerns and discuss together. This minimises any anxiety or stress they may be feeling remaining committed to openly communicate these themes to become an even more thriving organisation for our employees.

Can you share 3 of your personal tips to deal with anxiety / stress at work?

  • Always remember there are people out there whether a colleague, friend or professionals who are willing to listen and help so you are never alone. You would be amazed at how many other people may have shared experiences or can offer practical or emotional advice.
  • Close your eyes and visualise a safe and happy place, now breathe deeply, hold in your breathe for 10 seconds and then deeply exhale slowly. Repeat several times until you feel calmer.
  • If you are finding work a little overwhelming I find writing an action list allows me to refocus my priorities not to mention remove all my negative thoughts (or chaos) going around in my head. Failing that get up from your desk and go for a walk.

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