Good jobs that transform wellbeing

Post author image. David Oldfield
David Oldfield, Chair of the Wellbeing Leadership Team at Business in the Community (BITC), reflects and discusses inclusive approaches to wellbeing at work.

Overnight, the pandemic has changed the nature of work for many of us. We now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine ways of working that transform mental health and wellbeing at work. There is no escaping that work is part of the problem: 41 per cent of employees experienced a mental health issue due to work or where work was a contributory factor in the past year1. However, work can, and I believe, must also be part of the solution.

In my first year as Chair of the Business in the Community (BITC)  Wellbeing Leadership Team, in partnership with the Thriving at Work Leadership Council, we launched the mental health at work commitment.

Working from home and hybrid working create opportunities for a more inclusive approach that enables people to co-create their own ‘good jobs’.

David Oldfield, Wellbeing Leadership Team Chair at Business in the Community

Before the pandemic, Standard 2 of the commitment, Proactively ensure work design and organisational culture drive positive mental health outcomes, was seen as the most challenging but it is also the most important, in terms of transforming mental health at work. So, how do you ensure good job design, and a culture that champions mental health and safety, alongside physical health and safety at work?

BITC’s groundbreaking What if your job was good for you? report sets out to address these critical questions. It offers evidence-based practical actions for implementing Standard 2 and it moves beyond ad-hoc initiatives to a systemic approach to tackling the root causes of poor mental health. 

Working from home and hybrid working create opportunities for a more inclusive approach that enables people to co-create their own ‘good jobs’.

With the importance of listening to employee voices, mental health and safety needs to be established on a parity with physical health and safety so that everyone can speak up without fear of negative consequences.

The report has a strong focus on preventative measures but it does not shy away from recognition of issues, like domestic abuse, at the severe end of the mental health spectrum.  I am particularly proud of the work Lloyds Banking Group has done in this area, you can find out more about this by watching our video case study safeguarding employees experiencing domestic abuse.

As we transition into new ways of working, we don’t have all the answers. BITC has convened a collaborative movement which will enable businesses to test and learn together. We are building knowledge and insights to help everyone navigate the journey ahead, recognising that we can’t achieve change on our own.

I strongly urge all organisations to make the mental health at work commitment, a public declaration of putting mental health at the heart of post-pandemic recovery.

PUT WELLBEING AT THE HEART OF BUSINESS PLANNING AND JOB DESIGN

References:

1BITC and BUPA Mental Health at Work Survey 2020