Exclusive statistics released today from a recent YouGov report, supported by Mental Health at Work, show that a staggering 58% of retail workers have experienced mental health problems due to work or where work was a contributing factor. Worryingly, 84% have not disclosed mental health problems to their line manager.
We are fast approaching the Christmas season, a time of year that can put pressure on us all. For those who work in retail, this is a time when mental health issues can increasingly come to the fore.
Compounding this is a challenging work environment. A recent report by PwC ‘Total Retail 2017’ found that UK retailers are currently facing one of the most competitive environments in decades due to the shift towards online and mobile shopping, plus a higher demand for technological sophistication in store. At Christmas, the demands placed on employees can increase, with many working longer hours in a hyper pressurised atmosphere. This, combined with the personal challenges that many may be feeling at this time of year, could be overwhelming for people.
We believe that more needs to be done to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace and training is key to this. Retailers must identify these cyclical pressure points as part of a wider mental health review, to prepare line managers accordingly. Employees in the retail sector want this too – the research reveals that 36% of them specifically say that training within their organisation on how to manage employee wellbeing would be useful.
At such a hectic time for retailers, developing a considered mental health training programme may need to be put on hold until the new year. However, there are still simple actions that can be taken now, such as taking a moment to ask a colleague ‘How are you?’; and then listening to what they have to say. This straight forward question could really make the difference in helping someone manage their mental health at this, or indeed, any time of year.
Mental Health at Work can help by engaging with the organisation, and its senior team who are often time-poor, helping them create a bespoke programme with a flexible delivery in content and duration, including learning blocks. This will ensure that the relevant awareness and skills training will support the particularly business, it’s demands and objectives.