At Delmec, keeping our employees safe and healthy is at the heart of our daily operations. Sometimes this is relatively straightforward: we employ health and safety experts, we use cutting-edge safety equipment and we continuously strive to ensure our offices, sites and client towers are secure places to work.

Protecting our employees’ mental health can be more challenging, but there are steps that leaders can take. These are often broken down into three stages:

Pre-Emption

The most effective way to safeguard the mental health of your team members is to foster a supportive, engaging and fulfilling work environment. Every business will have its own pressures, and every office will have stressful moments, but prioritising self-care and practicing flexibility where possible will help to support employees’ mental health through their daily work.

This includes encouraging employees to use their full allocation of annual leave, ensuring they don’t work too many hours, and engaging them in non-work-related conversation and social activities.

Regardless of whether our team members are based in our Irish HQ or our offices in the DRC, Tanzania or Poland, they’re all juggling busy work and home lives. Our understanding, support and flexibility will help them achieve a better work / life balance, improving their overall mental health

Detection

It’s not easy to detect mental health issues among staff, but the key is communication. Completing Pulse surveys is a great way to get a snapshot of our overall work environment by asking employees about their opinions and views on their roles and responsibilities, as well as company communications or management decisions. They’re designed to be quick and easy, for regular use in helping to identify areas that require immediate attention.

While technology like this can help, particularly in large organisations, there’s still nothing as effective as an old-fashioned chat. I try to make a point to speak directly to as many team members as I can here at Delmec, just to touch base and get a sense of how they’re feeling, if they’re okay, and how valued they feel by the company. We also strive to make employee wellness a part of our regular appraisal system. Of course, listening is only one part of the process: a good leader must be willing to act on the feedback received.

Intervention

There are a number of different ways that an employer can actively intervene to improve an employee’s mental health.

Encouraging open and honest conversation about mental wellbeing is important; here at Delmec we’re big fans of talking, whether that takes the form of peer support among team members or help from managers, the human resources (HR) department or a healthcare professional, if necessary.

Technology is at the heart of what we do in Delmec, so we have engaged Spectrum Life who provide an employee assistance programme (EAP), available online. They provide digital tools to help our employees’ mental health. These can include on-line resources, meditation apps and e-books or audiobooks on wellbeing.

Our HR team is well-qualified to help and support employees if they’re going through a tough time. Spectrum Life also provide an excellent resource for employees to get advice, guidance and help on workplace wellbeing.

At Delmec, we know that a company is only as healthy as its team. We’re proud to have been local and international employers for nearly half a century, and we’re committed to continuing to support the health and wellbeing of the people that make Delmec the success that it is – today, tomorrow and for many more years to come.

Last week, I highlighted how motivation and engagement with employees are essential in the era of Covid-19. As a leader, I’ve also learned that protecting employees’ mental health is crucial. At Delmec, we’re doing everything we can to safeguard the mental health of our team members through pre-emption, detection, and intervention.