Marco Pezzani: Could employers do more to support the mental health of staff?

Mental health is complex. It can be affected by several factors, and there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach that works for everyone. We all experience mental health in a different way, depending on our identity.

Ricoh UK’s wellbeing strategy has been designed with this complexity in mind. It takes a robust view of what wellbeing means to different people and incorporates aspects of emotional, physical, social and financial wellbeing.

In my view, financial wellbeing has been overlooked in this debate. The well-documented ‘cost of living’ crisis has left many feeling anxious about their finances, impacting people’s mental health and overall wellbeing. I am proud that in 2019 we launched My Eva: a free digital financial advisor, that co-coordinates employees’ spending and helps with financial planning. Our employees benefit from a 30-minute free consultation with an independent financial advisor, and access to free mortgage and pension advice. All our tools and platforms have really gained momentum in recent years, and from the feedback we are getting we know that our people trust and want to use them.

While perceptions are changing, fostering an open and inclusive workplace remains key to reducing the stigma around seeking support for poor mental health. In 2022, we signed the Mental Health at Work Commitment, endorsed by Business in the Community and Mind, helping us to ensure we are carrying out all the necessary actions to drive an open culture around mental health and wellbeing.  Ricoh UK’s key initiative in this area has been the wellbeing champions programme, designed to give our people the first point of contact if they’re struggling.

Ongoing communication around these issues is important. I’m glad that just today we have launched an employee guidance pack containing useful information on how to have supportive conversations. This is particularly important for organisations that have adopted hybrid working policies with teams distributed across offices and remote locations.

I believe it is important for all of us to take a proactive stance towards wellbeing, so we can all be our best at work. Organisations that provide their employees with the right support and tools will reap benefits of a more engaged, productive, and resilient workforce, that can contribute to the long-term success and growth of the business.

Marco Pezzani is national customer service director and executive sponsor for mental health and wellbeing at Ricoh UK

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