Business leaders must look to mental health and wellbeing at work to ensure future success

We’re all too aware of the effect global events have had on practice, process, and profit. But there’s one aspect businesses cannot afford to forget – their people and wellbeing at work.

The past 18 months have been challenging.

At a time when only 30% of UK employees had ever experienced working remotely, you were plunged into a state of isolation and uncertainty.

  • More than 50% of managers are struggling with employee mental health
  • Nearly 1/3 of remote managers and employees find health and well-being a challenge
  • Staff motivation, happiness, and productivity remains the greatest challenge for managers (45%), while 15% of employees struggle with habits they formed at home and 13% feel less productive

Then, through the ensuing months, you have had to adapt and adopt new processes, practices, and technologies.

You did so brilliantly. In a collective effort from business leaders, managers, and employees alike, you rose to each challenge and turned them into opportunities. But this long battle has created a new priority. One which is now crucial to address: our mental wellbeing at work. It’s time for business leaders to bring unity and calm to the workplace. To learn from the past and proactively build for a better future.

And it all starts with being consciously aware of how your people are feeling.

There are four key things that are affecting our wellbeing at work.

First, we must understand what’s affecting the mental health and wellbeing of your people. Research by Ricoh and in collaboration with leading clinical psychologist Emma Kenny has identified these four:

Confidence of control

Communicating our actions, thoughts and feelings is a way of controlling a situation. At work, we used daily signals, language, and actions to demonstrate our purpose and value.

But now our environment has changed. So too have our signals and language. And this has led to misunderstanding and frustration, undermining our wellbeing at work.

Misplaced validation

People need validation. Historically this has been given through pay raises and promotions. Today we know that a person’s sense of achievement extends well beyond financial gain.

So, how do you learn how your people want to be validated on an emotional level? In an office environment, it’s easier to identify and deliver. But remotely, it can be a clunky, misplaced, and often even patronising affair.

Unanchored authority

We’re creatures of habit; in the office, we could rely on routine. Start and finish times, lunch hours, health, and safety guidelines. These anchors helped us plan our day and reach our goals.

Now we’re remote working, this solid structure has become fluid. And while this has benefits for our work/life balance, it can also lead to working longer hours, difficulties switching off and fatigue.

Apathetic employee experience

Employee experience is as important as the customer experience. It isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ bonus offered by any given company, but a necessity if you want to keep wellbeing at work and your people productive.

Business leaders have to find a way to remain empathetic – despite today’s challenges – if they want their organisation to be successful.

But we can’t make fixed plans for our people.

If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s the importance of being agile and flexible in how we work. Without this, we cannot quickly and effectively meet new challenges and opportunities.

Nobody could have planned for the pandemic, and you can’t plan for whatever happens next. We’re on an unknown journey with a destination that’s yet to be discovered. But you can develop stronger business resilience by adopting a more conscious approach – one which puts your people first and keeps your finger on the pulse of change.

The solution? Take the conscious approach.

Taking a conscious approach means constantly monitoring and supporting your people. It’s about being aware of their mental health and wellbeing at work through open communication. And being proactive when you identify problems and solutions.

Reach out to your colleagues before the emotional fatigue of remote working sets in. Put the right support in place before anyone even needs it. And understand that plans are just sketches – things you can adjust and tailor as you make each decision along the way.


Find out more by reading our report on The Conscious Workplace here.

If you’d like to hear more insight on how to protect and enhance the wellbeing of your people working at home, you can watch our webinar here

Watch on-demand: How to protect and enhance the wellbeing of your people working at home

Marco Pezzani

Ricoh UK National Customer Service Director