Mental Health Awareness Week: How MSB’s Social Housing Team try to take care of mental wellbeing in the workplace. 

In today’s modern world, stress and anxiety have become increasingly common, particularly due to the ongoing cost of living crisis. When you combine this with a fast-paced and stressful work environment, it’s no surprise that many workers are experiencing burnout.

For Mental Health Awareness Week, MSB’s Social Housing Team examined Mind charity’s recommended strategies for maintaining mental wellbeing in the workplace and explored how MSB implements these strategies.

Boundaries are important.

When we bring work home or work from home, such as through receiving work emails on our personal devices or engaging in hybrid working, it can be easy for the lines between our professional and personal lives to become blurred.

Therefore, it is crucial to establish clear boundaries. If working from home, it’s recommended to have a designated workspace and maintain regular working hours. Avoid the temptation to work outside of these hours, as it can lead to exhaustion and decreased productivity.

At MSB’s Social Housing team, we emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, as we believe it leads to a more productive workforce. We also advocate for a “work smarter, not harder” approach, as long hours do not necessarily translate into effective work.

Take your breaks.

When we have a lot to do, it’s common to skip lunch to complete an important task. Although there may be times when this is necessary, it should not become the norm. Additionally, when having lunch at your desk, it’s tempting to continue answering emails, which can disrupt your break and make it difficult to disconnect from work. To prevent this, it’s recommended to turn off your computer or move away from your desk during lunchtime. You can also put your phone on “do not disturb” mode to avoid the temptation of answering work-related calls. By taking a proper break, you can recharge and come back to your work feeling refreshed and more productive.

It is important to prioritise taking a break from your computer to drink, eat, or just have time away from the screen and make sure you’re energised and can take on the day efficiently.

If something particularly stressful has happened, take a break from your desk to get fresh air or to make a cup of tea. It’s important to allow yourself time to unwind.

MSB tries to ensure that everyone on the team takes their designated breaks. Colleagues will encourage one another to take time away from their desk, whether that is to go for a walk, have lunch or a coffee together, or just to go and read a book.

MSB’s Cheshire office is also currently trying to create specific breakout rooms, which staff can use for prayer, reflection, or relaxation, to help them throughout their workday.

To-do Lists

Task lists can help you get organised in your own mind about what tasks you need to complete and what should be prioritised. It is also useful for colleagues to know what your capacity is like and whether there is anything they can do to assist.

At MSB we work from task lists and often have team meetings to check how everyone is doing with capacity and if assistance is needed in the team. This takes the pressure from anyone who may be experiencing a busy period.

Ask for Help

Using a task list can be helpful in organizing your workload and prioritising tasks. It also enables your colleagues to understand your capacity and determine whether they can offer any assistance. At MSB, we regularly use task lists and hold team meetings to review each team member’s workload and determine if anyone needs help. This approach takes the pressure off individuals who may be experiencing a particularly busy period.

If you are facing challenges in managing your workload, consider delegating some of your tasks to a team member, allowing you to focus on bigger and more urgent tasks. It’s important to communicate with your team and discuss how they can assist you. Sometimes, people struggle to delegate because they want complete control over their workload. However, spending time training a colleague to take on specific tasks can be beneficial in the long run, as you can rely on them when more urgent tasks arise.

Commuting time is your time

Make the most of your commute time by doing something for yourself. If you drive, listen to music, a podcast, or an audiobook that you enjoy. If you take public transportation, you can do the same or read a book or magazine during your journey. You could also consider getting off a stop earlier than usual to add a little walk to your day and help you feel energised. Another option is cycling to work, which not only reduces the stress of dealing with commuter traffic but also provides an opportunity to exercise.