Today, the R U OK? movement will mark the 9thAnnual R U OK? Day. This incredible company has established itself across Australia and beyond as a beacon of hope for many individuals and families suffering from loss and grief and has brought the topics of mental health and suicide into the public conscience. These are incredibly complex subjects, with the R U OK movement helping us to simplify our responsibility to one another – to ask, to start a conversation, to encourage people to act in times of difficulty.
Duty of Care
Never has the role of businesses and Managers been so critical as a contributor to an individual’s health and wellbeing. In an age where it is almost impossible to ‘switch off’ from work, where emails, phone calls and social media can almost literally follow us home; how do we ensure that we are meeting duty of care requirements? How do we ensure we practice the open workplace communication approach, that is so important in identifying and understanding any critical issues with your team members?
Start a Conversation …
As Managers and business owners, you are most likely interacting with, chatting to, working alongside your employees most days of the week. You’ll therefore be in a position to notice if someone is acting unusually or has become withdrawn or agitated. Before jumping to conclusions about someone’s lack of commitment, or under-performance, take the time to start a conversation.
We are all juggling multiple priorities and issues, performance and commitment concerns could very well stem from something that is not work related. Your ability to have a conversation and support someone through tough times could be the difference in how this person feels on that particular day, that week or longer.
Do you need further support?
The R U OK? Website has some great tips for starting conversations of this nature – take some time to have a read and add these skills to your Manager’s toolbelt. https://www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask
It is just as important to know where to turn when you feel things may be out of your realm of capability. We are lucky here in Australia to have some incredible organisations supporting individuals to deal with mental health concerns, and also to help the people who are supporting them. Think about having information available in your business relating to these organisations, and always refer your colleagues or team members to these places for further information and support.
Some of our favourite resources include:
Duty of care is a technical term for a responsibility that is far more personal, no matter the size of your business. Take the time to reflect this week with your team and to reassure them that they have your support, and the support of the business should they ever need it.