Here at Prime, we take mental wellbeing very seriously, understanding that not only do we have a duty of care for our employees but also the effect positive mental health has on productivity within the workplace.

It is no secret the accounting profession can be a stressful one. Indeed, a recent survey released by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants showed nearly three-quarters of accounting professionals globally want more from their employers when it comes to addressing their mental health needs.

We have always said our team members are our biggest asset, and a good business needs to protect and nurture them.

To place wellbeing at the forefront of our agenda, director Steve Harcourt launched the Thrive at Work initiative.

Thrive At Work Scheme

Steve said: We were looking at ways to bring together and add to the wellbeing schemes we already had in the workplace around the start of 2019 and I immediately felt signing up to the Thrive at Work programme would be immensely beneficial for us here at Prime.

As part of the Thrive accreditation, we were required to train Mental Health First Aiders within the company, so we decided to train one person for each of our offices in Coventry, Solihull and Birmingham.

Naturally, I attended an Adult Mental Health awareness course to provide an introduction to mental health and the factors which can affect people's wellbeing.

Spotting the early signs of poor mental health is exactly what we did through Thrive at Work, and it's already shown great results for us in that far more of our staff are bringing up any issues they might have, rather than keeping it to themselves.

Taking positive steps to also improve mental health in the workplace through regular exercise and stretching through the day proved popular with the teams at Prime.

I think it's a fantastic idea that workplaces are taking positive steps to improve mental health in the workplace, not just for employee's wellbeing but to improve productivity and reduce absenteeism.

Employers can often be confused about what they can do to help their staff and we found that through the Thrive at Work scheme, it was more about spotting early signs and signposting to professional services for help.

Mental Health Champions

Some of the changes Prime has made include assigning three mental health champions' who are responsible for assisting staff to monitor their own and each other's mental health and spotting any signs something may be wrong. Alongside regular messages on our intranet, a signposting system was also put in place which allowed employees to find the help they needed for their specific issue.

Switching off

Another initiative we have launched is switching off'. We understand whether you're working onsite or remotely, it's important to strike a healthy work-life balance.

That means we encourage our team to take regular breaks throughout the day and switch off screens when the working day is over. Instead of making themselves available 24/7 to respond to work calls, emails, or other messages, we continue to highlight the importance of focusing on friends and family, taking the time to relax, recharge, and enjoy themselves.

Relaxation techniques

We have also launched relaxation techniques. Relaxing and recharging require more than just zoning out on the couch in front of the TV. To reduce the damaging effects of stress and protect your mental health, you need to activate your body's relaxation response. This can be done by practising relaxation and mindfulness techniques.

Mutually supportive relationships

Finally, we feel developing mutually supportive relationships with our teams, has played a vital role in boosting morale and reducing stress and anxiety in the workplace. With an open-door policy, we can help our employees manage their workloads before it becomes a crisis of mental wellbeing.

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