Mridula Pore, CEO and Co-founder of DigitalHealth.London Accelerator company and our SME of the Week Peppy, shares her top 5 steps organisations can take to support their employees’ wellbeing.
During the pandemic, employee wellbeing has become a priority for organisations across the world, including the NHS.
As a workforce, the NHS has faced unprecedented crisis and trauma. Whilst many have struggled with furlough, redundancy, working from home and the emotions that inevitably accompany a global pandemic, healthcare workers have quite literally been battling Covid-19.
Looking after the health and wellbeing of employees has never been more of a priority. At Peppy, we support employees during the “moments that matter” – life’s major journeys such as menopause, fertility, pregnancy and parenthood. We understand that what your people experience in their home and family lives directly impacts their performance, engagement and attitude at work.
Here are five ways that you can take action to support your employees’ physical, mental and emotional wellbeing – now, as we emerge from the pandemic, and for the long-term.
- Focus on family and family health
Trying for a baby, pregnancy, early parenthood and menopause will all have a significant impact on the lives of the vast majority of your colleagues, whether directly or indirectly.
Physical and psychological symptoms of the menopause and the mental and emotional implications of fertility or new parenthood can be debilitating, yet many people lack accessible, impactful support.
Take the menopause. Within the NHS, 76.7% of 1.3 million staff are women – and 100% of those women will experience the natural but often-under-supported menopause transition.
Why? Because 1 in 6 women in the workplace will be over 50 by 2022, 63% of women experiencing menopause say that their symptoms have a negative impact on their work, and an estimated 1 in 10 women leave the workforce due to their menopause experience.
Thankfully, it seems that the tide is turning on female and family healthcare. Five NHS trusts have recently launched specialist menopause support Peppy, meaning that four-hundred women (and counting) now have access to expert menopause practitioners at the touch of a button. In addition, specialist perinatal support with Peppy Baby is currently being piloted in a large NHS trust.
However, in order to fully support our workforces and their families, this level of support needs to become the norm – not the exception.
- Stop referring to ‘women’s issues’
Calling life’s major journeys – like menopause, fertility, pregnancy and early parenthood – ‘women’s issues’ ignores the fact that they will impact your whole workforce. From miscarrige, to pregnancy termination, to difficulty breastfeeding, to menopause symptoms, these issues can touch anyone – partners, family members, colleagues and even line managers – at home as well as at work.
- Get to the root of the problem
When it comes to mental wellbeing, a ‘one size fits all’ approach is no longer enough in the workplace. If Covid-19 has shown us anything, it’s that people’s experiences, coping mechanisms and home situations are as individual as they are.
As an employer, you can review your existing benefits, ask for feedback and look at offering specialist health and wellbeing benefits that get to the heart of the problem that may be causing a mental health issue, instead of or as well as offering a blanket approach to supporting mental wellbeing.
- Increase accessibility
Healthcare should be based on where people actually are, not just the location of GP clinics. During the past 14 months, remote working and home-schooling have become an everyday reality for many, making in-person appointments even harder than before.
For healthcare workers, workplace location and shift patterns can make traditional healthcare options during working hours an impossibility.
That is why it is so important to offer your people remote, accessible access to expert practitioners. Businesses like Wickes – who have over 8,000 colleagues working shift patterns – have already made the leap to give their employees expert-led Fertility, Baby and Menopause support, accessible 9am to 9pm, at home or at work, all via their mobile phones.
Find out more about how they are supporting their people through key life transitions: fertility, pregnancy, early parenthood and menopause.
- Make inclusivity a priority
Despite higher levels of depression than in the wider community, one in seven LGBTQ+ individuals will avoid seeking professional help due to a fear that they will be discriminated against by medical staff.
At an organisational level, you can take action by offering health benefits that are inclusive, such as menopause support that recognises that not all people going through menopause will self-identify as female, and fertility and baby support specific for same-sex couples considering surrogacy or adoption.
To improve workplace wellbeing, organisations must offer support that spans gender, age and background. Peppy is one example of a solution that is there for every employee during some of life’s major journeys.
Taking the above steps will benefit employees and employers alike, helping build a happier, healthier and more resilient workforce, for now and the future.
DigitalHealth.London is delighted to publish blogs by the NHS staff and digital health companies we support through our programmes, as well as sector thought-leaders, experts and academics. Any opinions expressed within blogs published on our website are those of the author and not necessarily held by DigitalHealth.London. For more information, or if you would like to write a blog for our website, please email info@digitalHealth.london.
Peppy is currently one of 20 digital health companies on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.
The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is a collaborative programme funded by London’s three Academic Health Science Networks – UCL Partners, Imperial College Health Partners, and the Health Innovation Network, MedCity, CW+ and receives match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.