Home Business News Blue Monday: Are we the unhappiest we’ve ever been at work?

Blue Monday: Are we the unhappiest we’ve ever been at work?

by LLB Reporter
11th Jan 24 5:19 am

As part of My Whole Self – MHFA England®’s campaign for workplace culture change – the social enterprise is calling on employers to create cultures where people feel able to bring their whole self to work to help improve workplace wellbeing.

New research from MHFA England, released ahead of so-called Blue Monday, shows 59% of employees do not regularly feel joy and satisfaction at work. 1 in 5 (22%) workers feel their sense of purpose, satisfaction, and joy at work has decreased since the pandemic.

So called ‘Blue Monday’ is often billed as the ‘most depressing’ day of the year. The reality is that poor mental health can affect anyone, at any time in the year, and it impacts people in different ways. MHFA England’s latest research, among 2,000 employees, finds a third say they often feel unhappy, stressed, or worried in the workplace.

Concerningly, despite this, almost half of workers say they have never had a wellbeing check-in from their employer. The data reveals that since 2021, almost double the number of employees say their workplace failed to check in on their wellbeing in the past year. (48% in 2023, matching 2022 figures, and up from 25% in 2021).

In 2024, we should feel safe to bring our whole selves to work, without fear of prejudice or consequence. That includes background, sexuality, religion, gender, health and mental health.  Yet the research shows only 61% of employees feel they can do so. Despite a growing understanding of the importance of psychological safety in the workplace, this is a decline since 2020, when two thirds (66%) of workers felt able to. If we don’t feel safe to bring our whole self to work, it will limit the joy and satisfaction we are able to feel in our work, as well as our performance.

My Whole Self is the campaign for workplace culture change. At its heart, My Whole Self aims to create workplace cultures where people have the safety and freedom to choose which parts of their identity they share at work, without fear of judgement.

Employers who create an inclusive and open workplace culture will see the results in their staff satisfaction, productivity and performance. Since its inception in 2020, hundreds of organisations including Ford, The National Crime Agency, and several NHS Trusts have embraced the campaign.

Ahead of My Whole Self Day on the 12 March 2024, organisations are encouraged to access MHFA England’s free resources including the new, My Whole Self:  Guide to creating inclusive workplace cultures, to create an inclusive and open workplace culture.

Simon Blake, chief executive of Mental Health First Aid England said, “We are most joyful and satisfied at work when we feel safe and able to be our whole selves. Yet our research shows a significant number of employees do not feel this – this impacts the way we feel at work, and about work, our wellbeing and creativity, which of course affects performance.

Employers must build cultures where people feel able to bring their whole selves to work. When people feel free to be their self, to express opinions without fear of criticism or judgement, they are more likely to contribute fully, which can help to create thriving and productive organisations.

As our ways of working become increasingly flexible, supporting human connection and developing psychological safety within teams is more important than ever. If we work to build cultures where everybody is valued and safe, it will let people focus on the job in hand, support their wellbeing and joy at work, as well as boost creativity and productivity.”

Daisy Walker is Retails Operations Lead at leading design, manufacturing and furniture company Neptune Ltd. Neptune has taken part in My Whole Self annually since 2021 and marking the day plays a key role in the businesses’ wellbeing programme.

Daisy said, “Taking part in My Whole Self has helped us continue to build an inclusive culture across the business by providing an opportunity for all of our staff to open up about who they are inside and outside of Neptune. Our mental health champions and MHFAiders® have led the way with this, supported by our leadership team, prompting conversations about similar interests and breaking barriers to discuss physical and mental health conditions.

We know that our people and teams are at their most effective and creative when everybody feels psychologically safe and is seen, heard, and valued. We continue to strive to break the stigma and ensure every person feels supported, safe and able to thrive in the workplace.”

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