21st October 2021
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2021 Summit Highlights

The global pandemic has propelled employee mental health and wellbeing to the top of business agendas. Now let’s keep it there. 

“If you care about the mental health and wellbeing of your people and you care about the future of your business, join us – in-person - for our fourth annual Summit”.

Claire Farrow, Partner & Global Head of Content, Make A Difference Media.

MAD World stands for Make A Difference. Now in its fourth year, the MAD World Summit has become the global go-to solutions-focused conference and exhibition dedicated to turning talk into action; creating cultures of care and embedding mental health and wellbeing as a strategic business priority.


Whether you’re just getting started, or you’re looking for ways to build on and bolster your mental, physical, financial or social wellbeing programmes, it’s a day packed with insight, inspiration and the chance to find the answers to your questions with: 

  • 4 tracks of case studies and panel discussions
  • 25 roundtables and 10 workshops.
  • 3 keynote panels
  • 40 suppliers of work culture, mental health and wellbeing solutions under one roof

Key topics we’ll be addressing include:

  • Why workplace mental health and wellbeing matters more than ever and what employers can do about it
  • Dealing with Long-COVID and post-pandemic PTSD
  • Realistic strategies for meeting the increasing demand for a personalised approach to wellbeing support
  • Proactive, preventative workplace wellbeing programmes
  • Equipping managers with the skills to support wellbeing in the new hybrid world of work
  • Supporting the wellbeing of neurodiverse colleagues
  • Data driven wellbeing – why measurement matters
  • Seamlessly integrating wellbeing with diversity and inclusion
  • TechTalking: finding the right digital mental health and wellbeing solution for your organisation
  • Making the most of peer-to-peer networks
  • Engaging the hard to reach with mental health and wellbeing programmes
  • Best practice in financial wellbeing

Find out more here.

We'll Be Sharing


Meet the people developing the most progressive approaches to workplace culture,mental health and wellbeing


Share knowledge in real-time with our cross-sector, cross-function network of like-minded speakers, exhibitors and attendees.


Tell your colleagues and book a group pass. Get practical insights to take back and adapt to your organisation.

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Latest Mad World News

Santa Claus preparing for Christmas and connecting with a laptop, he is working at his desk at home

The festive season is, for the majority, a time of relaxation, happiness and good wellbeing. But that is not the case for everyone.

Those who work for smaller businesses, work extra hours to make up for lost time and any lost revenues.

This is especially the case following the COVID-19 lockdowns, which saw many businesses closing their doors for months.

SME Employers Need To Look Out For These Signs

The added pressure and stress around this festive period could lead to issues with wellbeing.

This could include low mental health and burnout.

RedArc, the nurse-led wellbeing service, is reminding SMEs to look out for signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety and mental health concerns among their staff.

Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says: “The effects of the pandemic will stay with us for a long time to come, and sadly for some, life will never be the same.

“If we add in additional work pressures as small businesses try to make up lost ground, and the financial and emotional strain of Christmas on home life, it’s understandable why some employees could feel overwhelmed at this time of year.

“Small business owners can often do more than they think to help stressed-out staff, but under pressure themselves, they may not always take stock of how their employees are feeling.”

Tips To Help Manage Employee Wellbeing During The Festive Season

RedArc’s first word of warning is that SME owners and managers should avoid viewing things through their own lens.

They need to appreciate that people react differently and cope in their own way.

Christine Husbands explains: “A large new order or a big client win is great from a profitability point of view but might be the straw that will break the camel’s back for a team already working at capacity.

“Be mindful of this before speaking to staff.”

Employees need to take time to talk to employees and listen to their concerns.

Simply being heard and understood is enough to make some employees feel better about a situation.

A well as dealing with specific workplace issues or situations, always take time to ask how things are with employees outside of work.

It could be that home life, relationships, family or other out-of-work issues are affecting them.

Encouraging a flexible and understanding workplace through the company is key.

A sympathetic boss’s efforts are wasted if an employee’s day-to-day line manager doesn’t take the same approach.

Watch Out For Unusual Behaviour

RedArc also warns employers to look out for signs that an employee may be struggling, even if they do not raise any issues when asked.

Unusual behaviour can take many forms. These include slow to respond, poor timekeeping, lack of motivation or unusually short-tempered or withdrawn.

Employees could also have physical symptoms such as sweating or shaking, extreme fatigue due to lack of sleep.

There may be evidence of misuse of alcohol or drugs.

Christine Husbands advises: “Small businesses usually know their team exceptionally well and so should be fairly quick to identify changes in their staff.

“If behavioural changes are identified, the employer should approach that individual and sensitively explain what they’ve noticed.

“Employers may have to ask how the member of staff is several times before they get a genuine response, as most people will initially say they are fine.”

How To Approach Employees Struggling During The Festive Season

RedArc suggests that it is important to have these conversations with the employee at a location and time to suit the individual.

Asking them to attend a meeting in a much-needed lunch break or during a busy shift could only serve to exacerbate the problem.

It’s also important not to make assumptions or pre-judge a situation either in terms of the problem or the solution.

Employers need to be mindful of thinking they know best or taking responsibility for the issue.

They should only do this if it is something in their capacity to control.

Asking the employee what help they think they need is often best. It makes them feel valued and encourages them to take some responsibility too.

Employers should familiarise themselves with their employee benefits programme in order to steer their staff towards any expert help available.

There are also excellent charities for circumstances when an employer has serious or immediate concerns about a member of staff.

These charitable organisations include Mind, the Samaritans, For Men to Talk or WISH for women’s mental health.

Did you find this article helpful? You might be interested in reading Toxic masculinity is stopping boys seeking mental health support, How to turn mental health talk into lasting change and How can employers support workers with ADHD?

How SMEs Can Look After Employees’ Wellbeing During The Festive Season

When athletes need space to tend to their mental and behavioural health needs, are the coaches, parents, teammates, and others in their lives receptive to all facets of their health?

Stress, depression, anxiety, and more are not diagnoses evident on MRI or X-ray machines, but they can be just as debilitating as a physical injury. As a society we marvel at the physical abilities of athletes, but too often, their internal needs are repressed in the name of grit.

Jennifer Rogers is Player Development Manager at the Ireland Gaelic Players Association (GPA). She supports over 4,000 male and female intercountry players and elite athletes from the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). She also plays Westmeath Ladies Inter-County Gaelic Football.

In this podcast,  SilverCloud Health expert, Jorge Palacios, explores with Jennifer the link between the athlete lifestyle and mental health. They also unpack transferable tips around Jennifer’s approach to supporting players’ overall wellbeing and how she helps them to achieve their potential –  both on and off the pitch.



The Invisible Competition: Athlete Mental Health Podcast

Documents about Workplace bullying in a court.

Bullying in the workplace, for whatever reason, can have a big impact on someone’s mental health.

Those experiencing bullying dread going to work and productivity can suffer. It can sometimes result in people needing time off from work or even leaving the business.

It can also impact work culture and make a company toxic to work for.

But then why do only half of UK employers do something about it?

Do Employers Take Workplace Bullying Seriously?

New research from Bolt Burdon Kemp, a specialist law firm, finds that only 50% of Brits believed their workplace takes bullying seriously.

This includes discrimination and harassment.

Of those earning over £55,000 a year, 57% say that their workplace is hot on this.

This compared to 43% of those earning £15,000 saying the same.

Nearly half (45%) of the younger working generation—aged 16 to 24—said they didn’t know where to go to make a sexual harassment complaint.

Sadly, 23% of this same age group say they are most likely to be put off going to the police or a lawyer about sexual abuse.

This is because they think they will not be believed.

Bolt Burdon Kemp surveyed 2,000 British adults to see whether they would want to seek justice or have the means to do so.

Of these adults, interestingly 59% say it’s too expensive to access legal support.

Another 52% believe there are too many barriers to getting this legal support.

Men More Confident Than Women When Making A Complaint

The survey brought to light an imbalance between how empowered men and women are in problematic situations.

Men are more likely than women to say they’d know what to do if something traumatic happened to them.

In contrast, more women than men say they’d hesitate to talk to the police or a lawyer if something happened to them.

For 19% of women (and 14% of men), this is in case they weren’t believed.

For 15% of women (and 11% of men), this is in case they get blamed for what happened.

56% of men said they know where to go to make a sexual harassment complaint. This drops to 52% for women.

More women (55%) than men (48%) believe there are too many barriers to getting legal support.

Younger Generations Confident In Talking To Police But Don’t Know When

Younger people seem to be more confident in speaking to the police than their older counterparts—with 35% of 16 to 24-year-olds saying they’re comfortable going to the police compared to 31% of those aged 35 and over.

However, the younger generation is also less likely to know what to do in most of the situations addressed in the report.

Of those aged 16 to 24, 45% say they know where to go to make a sexual harassment complaint (compared to 55% of those aged 35 and above.

In contrast, 34% of 16 to 24-year-olds say they’d go to the police for help, in comparison to 30% of those aged 35 and over.

The youngest generation is also more likely to be put off going to the police or a lawyer about sexual abuse, with 23% hesitating in case they’re not believed (versus 15% of those aged 35 and above.

Compared to other age groups, a larger proportion of those aged 25 to 34 (15%) said they wouldn’t report sexual abuse in case it negatively affects their relationships or career.

Geography Impacts Legal Outcomes For Victims

Of those from Northern Ireland, 61% say they’d be comfortable going to a law firm if they needed help, support or to make a complaint.

The overall average response is 42%, making the region highly than most regions.

Only 47% of people in the East of England say they know where to go to make a sexual harassment complaint. This is a percentage point lower (46%) in the North West.

In Yorkshire and the Humber, only 36% say they’d feel comfortable going to a law firm for help.

People On Lower Incomes Do Not Know How To Act On Bullying And Harassment

Compared to respondents in other income ranges, those who earn £15,000 or less per year are the least likely to say they’d know what to do if something happened to them.

The same group would also hesitate to contact the police or a law firm about sexual abuse.

Only 50% of those earning £15,000 or less would feel comfortable making a complaint about discrimination at work.

Of those earning £15,000 or less, 43% said their workplace takes bullying, harassment or discrimination complaints seriously.

The average is higher for lower incomes when it comes to contacting the people.

One in five (21%) of those earning £15,000 or less said they’d hesitate to contact the police about sexual abuse. This is because they might not be believed.

Employers Need To Take Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Seriously

While bullying is not against the law, harassment is.

According to the Government website, employers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment. They are also liable for any harassment suffered by their employees.

If you’re an employer and you are unsure of what to do regarding bullying and harassment, you can read this guide compiled by the UK Government.

Employees: your employer is responsible for sexual harassment, bullying or discrimination, you could contact your workplace union.

You can also contact other organisations such as the National Bullying Helpline or the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

If you found this article helpful, consider reading Watch out: untrained managers likely to leave jobs in 2022, Creating a psychologically safe workplace and IoD to provide wellbeing programme for all members.

Only Half Of Employers Take Bullying Seriously, Says Study

People risk is a growing concern for UK organisations as issues including health and safety, DEI, responsibility and cybersecurity move up the boardroom agenda.

It’s critical for companies to understand and address the people risks they’re facing. However, many barriers exist that keep them from solving the issues. 

Discover the key people risks facing UK businesses and why HR and risk teams must collaborate to address these in Mercer’s free report here.


Turning People Risk into a Business Opportunity

Ensuring safety in the workplace is nothing new for HR leaders. From physical safety to cyber security, from training to policy development, safety plays a big part in ensuring the protection, welfare, and ultimate success of the team.

In the last decade, a lot of emphasis has been placed on psychological safety, one of the key hurdles identified in the Kooth Work HR Hurdles report – the belief between employees that they can share ideas, concerns, and questions without fear of judgement or repercussions from others – including management. 

Having such an environment is the foundation of genuine employee wellbeing, an integral part of any organisation. It’s no longer just about staff perks, wellness days, and free fruit in the office – it’s about creating a space where employees feel safe, can comfortably be themselves, and know that their voice is valued. 

According to Abraham Maslow, psychologist and philosopher best known for his Hierarchy of Needs model, it is only once we feel secure in an environment that we can establish meaningful connections with others, grow in self-esteem, and reach our true creative potential. 

It is therefore no wonder that forward-thinking companies who create psychologically safe environments report that their teams are: 

  • More diverse and inclusive
  • Share a broader spectrum of ideas 
  • Clearer on overall goals
  • More likely to take risks and trust one another

These effects then filter into the overall success of the business. 

Creating a Psychologically Safe Work Space

Developing a psychologically safe culture starts with HR leaders and managers. We have put together some ideas on how to cultivate this environment with insight from Alexandra Thompson, Head of People at Kooth Work. 

1. Lead with Curiosity

When it comes to any kind of management or team building, taking a curious approach is one way to stop looking at situations with blame or judgement and create a space where employees feel heard.

Alexandra says: “Approaching situations with curiosity is so important in creating a safe space to explore circumstances. I [was]in a situation, once, where one of my employees was demonstrating poor performance and was consistently late, and I already thought, ‘This guy can’t last’. But adopting a curious approach from training, we approached this situation with ‘What’s going on for you?’, and you could just see his relief. He was a carer, and was travelling long distances back and forth, and he couldn’t make the timing work. He felt he was failing at work and as a carer. By creating a space where we could have that openness of conversation, we were able to make adjustments so that he could keep the job that he needed.

“In terms of approaching situations, without sounding cliché, the ‘whole-person’ thinking is important. What’s under the surface for this person? Be genuine, authentic, and empathetic, and make space to talk.”


Approaching with curiosity helps to reduce the “threat” that some people can feel in the workplace. Additionally, listening to employees and investigating their situation demonstrates interest in them as a person, which can help people feel more appreciated for their whole selves – not just their work. 

Training up leaders to have these conversations is also necessary, according to Alexandra: “You don’t just suddenly ‘know’ how to have these conversations. It’s a skill that takes time and grows like a muscle. Training on taking a curious approach is something that should be embedded into all front line management teams.”

2. Think SCARF

Alexandra also spoke about the importance of using the SCARF brain-based model to communicate with others in a safe way. This stands for five domains that impact behaviour in social situations:

Status: Our relative importance to others

Certainty: Our ability to predict the future

Autonomy: Our sense of control over events

Relatedness: How safe we feel with others

Fairness: How we perceive exchanges between people to be

According to neuroscience research, these social domains activate the same threat response in the brain that we developed for survival. This means that when we feel threatened in one of these domains, we can have strong emotional and instinctive reactions, to protect ourselves from harm or risk. 

For example, if you are left out of important conversations at work, you may feel a sense of threat to your fairness or autonomy. Studies show that such situations activate similar brain regions as to when we are in physical danger. 

The SCARF model can be used to create a safe environment where threats are minimised, rewards are maximised, and communication is clear and effective. For example: 

  • Minimise threats to autonomy by avoiding micromanaging, and instead maximise rewards by handing out responsibilities and the freedom to explore.
  • Minimise threats to certainty by avoiding vague direction, and instead be clear and transparent about goals, expectations, and feedback.

How you use the SCARF model depends on the individuals in your team, and everyone responds to situations differently. 

3. Prioritise Connections Over Productivity

According to research, a positive team climate is by far the number one predictor of psychological safety. Without good interpersonal relationships, it is difficult to form trust – and without trust, people do not feel safe sharing ideas, concerns, and questions. 

To develop a positive team climate and also reduce stress levels, Alexandra suggests approaching each meeting with joy: “People tend to come into meetings with high stress levels, either from being very busy or even from battling traffic in the mornings, and it’s difficult to think clearly when you’re stressed. Taking five minutes at the beginning of each meeting to talk about something lighthearted reduces those stress hormones, meaning we have more effective conversations. When you want to stretch and challenge, you can because people are less on edge.

“You also get to learn little unusual things about each person, which is important for good relationships, especially in a remote environment.”

4. Be Approachable

Being approachable relates to both how reachable someone is and also how open and welcoming they are. 

Leaders can increase how accessible they are by doing the following:

  • Operating an open door policy
  • Providing different ways of receiving ideas and feedback, acknowledging that not everyone works in the same way
  • Organising regular team meetings
  • Modelling vulnerability – from admitting to mistakes and showing emotions to asking for support and feedback
  • Actively listening to others
  • Always offering the benefit of doubt

Creating a psychologically safe workplace will ultimately vary depending on the company and industry you are in, but at the forefront of this culture is a space of acceptance, where people feel comfortable to be themselves, raise questions, and have space to learn. 

Psychological safety is the new driver of employee wellbeing and business success, leading to healthier, happier, and more inclusive teams, where there is a sense of engagement, increased motivation, and better performance. 

For more about the major challenges facing HR teams right now, including managing multiple resignations, handling hybrid working and supporting employee wellbeing, Kooth has created a new HR Hurdles Guide. The Guide offers clinically sound advice designed to support HR teams through hugely challenging times. 

For information on our BACP accredited digital mental health and wellbeing support services, head to work.kooth.com and see how we could help your employees towards better mental wellbeing. 

About the author

Dr Lynne Green is the Chief Clinical Officer at Kooth Work, a digital mental wellbeing solution for medium and large sized organisations. Dr. Green has an extensive clinical background, including being a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with 20 years’ NHS experience.

With Kooth Work, employees can access safe and anonymous support with live 1:1 chats with professionals, extensive self-help resources and community support. Businesses can benefit from aggregated reports and insights that will help maintain a happier and more productive workforce. 

Creating a Psychologically Safe Workplace

In this article, the full version of which originally appeared on their blog, Togetherall – the provider of a clinically managed, online community designed to improve mental health – delves deeper into some of the key questions that emerged from this year’s MAD World Summit in October:

  • What role do managers and business leaders have in employee mental health?
  • How can we support underserved and at-risk employees?
  • Can peer-to-peer communities support wellbeing as part of a wider benefits ecosystem?

The need for evidence-backed solutions

So much work has been done to combat stigmas around mental health, yet limited numbers of evidence-based solutions have been put in place in organisations.

In the morning session Anticipating risks and keeping staff safe: what working in wellbeing hosted by Togetherall, panellist Gregor Henderson said in that “in the public health space, a treatment wouldn’t be given unless it had a robust scientific evidence base, and I think we need to demand the same of any solutions that we’re putting in place for employees.”

The session concluded that just as businesses use data to measure team and business performance – tracking employee wellbeing through data can be just as effective. “You can’t just say you’re doing something for the mental health of your employees, unless you can track it, show it, and demonstrate it. And the way you learn is by [having a clear view of]what’s not working and what’s not,” said Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of CIPD. “You have got to be very clear on the outcome that you’re measuring.”

“We’re seeing a move from a focus on ‘traditional metrics’ on productivity, and now realise that actually having a group of employees that are healthy physically and mentally is as important. It’s important to understand that the underlying risks are real,” Elizabetta Camilleri, Togetherall Chair, said on the C-Suite podcast at MADWorld.

It all starts at the top

The importance of empathy and proactivity from leaders was stressed in sessions across the Leadership and Collaboration talk track. “We cannot create a wellbeing environment if we don’t train our managers to look after their people effectively” said Peter Cheese. “We’ve got to understand how to train and teach managers, and what we hold them to account.”

However, the expectation doesn’t lie solely with managers to support the mental health of employees as Peter elaborated: “We don’t need to make all our line managers mental health experts, but they’ve got to demonstrate and understand that empathetic connection with their team and their people, to see where they need help.”

Engaging underserved and at-risk employees

Many attending organisations shared that they had implemented internally developed initiatives to help open up conversations around mental health, such as sending out newsletters and providing email support, clear signposting to resources, and checking in with regular employee surveys. While these are worthy initiatives for any organisation, it’s based on the assumption that all people are comfortable to open up to and engage with these solutions.

“30% of employees tell no one about their mental health issues. Practically a third of our workforce is going to work with an issue they want to talk about”

– Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Responsible Business Network in a keynote at MADWorld

How can organisations support those who don’t want to share? These employees could have high levels of need and be at risk of self-harm or harming others if they are unable to access support.

The power of peer-to-peer communities

Togetherall’s CEO, Henry Jones, and Clinical Director, Dr Tim Rogers co-chaired a number of roundtables that highlighted the benefits of peer-to-peer communities as part of a wider support network, as well as imparting important considerations in creating effective peer support networks internally.

Examples of peer-to-peer groups within businesses includes physical – such as grief counselling groups and special interest communities – and digital solutions like Togetherall. These can be beneficial in connecting those who want to better understand their emotions with people who have had shared experiences. Peer-to-peer communities work for employees with different levels of need, and can even inspire them to seek further support should they need it.

One challenge that emerged from roundtable attendees who have tried was the need for the “right kind of facilitation.” Ensuring that peer-to-peer spaces remain positive, safe and helpful can mean higher levels of engagement from employees.

Making a long term commitment to mental health

Gregor Henderson shared that “we’re being saturated with awareness, but now we need to focus on action.” Leaders at MADWorld Summit 2021 displayed a long-term commitment to prioritising the mental health of their teams, and were able to collaborate with others to create actionable plans into the post-COVID era.

To hear more insights from this year’s MAD World Summit, you can listen to the C-Suite Podcast here.

Making the Case for Evidence-backed Workplace Mental Health Solutions

Corporate business team and manager in a meeting, close up

Employers looking to retain talent during the so-called “Great Resignation” could benefit from investing in more management training for their staff, according to learning and development experts.

New research suggests that managers who haven’t received any management training are 36% more likely to leave their current jobs in the next year. This is compared to managers who receive regular management training (38% compared to 28%).

A Quarter Of Managers Haven’t Received Management Training

A poll of 1,031 UK adults, conducted by learning management systems provider Digits, found that one in four (26%) people that manage or supervise other people have never received any management training.

A further two-fifths (39%) only received management training when they first became a manager.

Just a third (35%) of UK managers enjoy regular management training.

Notably, one in seven (14%) managers report trying to manage big teams (of 10 people or more) with no management training at all.

Women Left Out Of Management Training

Men reportedly receive more regular management training than women (38% compared to 32%). They are also less likely to be untrained managers.

Only one fifth (21%) of male managers, compared to nearly a third (32%) of female managers, report receiving no management training. For full-time workers, it’s 21% and 29% respectively.

Over half (54%) of women, compared to 49% of men, also say their workload wasn’t reduced when they first became a manager.

Employees Will Leave If They Don’t Like Their Role

Untrained managers might be highly qualified and skilled to do their current jobs, but the research shows they are also likely to be considering changing employers.

They are also less likely to be happy at work.

Only half (54%) of untrained managers—those who haven’t received any management training—say they like or love their current job.

This is compared to three-quarters (77%) of managers who do receive regular management training.

“It’s clear from this survey that managers who receive regular management training and development to support them in their role are more likely to stay with their organisation,” says Bradley Burgoyne, head of learning and development at Digits.

“While managers who don’t receive regular management training are more likely to seek out new opportunities. This shows the value that managers place on the ongoing investment in their development.

“With demand for talent and pressure to perform at an all-time high, the question is: can organisations afford not to train their managers?”

Access To Training Could Get Employees To Stay

Interestingly, enjoying your job is not always enough of a reason for some people to make them want to stay in it, as two-fifths (38%) of managers who say they like (23%) or love (15%) their jobs are still planning to head for pastures new in 2022.

Access to training, on the other hand, could prove more compelling. Just under half (41%) of regularly trained managers have no plans to leave their current employer, compared to just 27% of untrained managers.

Managers Are Not The Only Ones Looking To Jump Ship

Looking more generally, at all staff, not just managers, the survey results are much more in-line with recent headlines.

Around one in four (28%) workers plan to look for a new job in the coming year. A further 32% are as yet undecided.

People occupying senior management positions, such as CEOs, directors, and C-level executives, are the most likely (42%) to be thinking of changing their job or employer in 2022. Non-managerial staff are the least likely (25%).

The results also reveal that over a third (35%) of all managers who started their job in 2021 are considering leaving it within the next year. Around 40% of managers that started their job in 2020 or 2019 are also planning to leave their employers.

Real Estate And Marketing Managers Eager to Leave

Based on the data, managers working in real estate, marketing and sales, and IT, software and telecoms, seem the most likely to be planning a job change (67%, 50% and 41% respectively).

Burgoyne says: “These survey results highlight a worrying trend where organisations are underinvesting in their managers.

“This has the potential for wider ramifications across the business where colleagues are not seeing the value that learning and development can bring to the organisation.

“Investment in people development is a critical component for any individual, team, or organisation to achieve and maintain high performance.

“The events of the past 18 months have demonstrated the vital role that managers play in the success of an organisation,” he continues.

“They have been expected to navigate the challenges of a pandemic and implement change on a scale never seen before while supporting their direct reports along the way.

Did you find this article helpful? You might also like a New report reveals the growing belonging crisis amongst UK employees, IoD to provide wellbeing programme for all members and Why Metro Bank is hiring veterans.

Watch Out: Untrained Managers More Likely To Change Jobs In 2022

Business Team Brainstorming Workspace Concept

Towergate Liability Insurance analysed Spotify data and surveyed 2,000 UK employees to reveal the relationship workers have with music while working.

The study shows one in two people listen to music more often since lockdowns began with UK employees believing it positively impacts their office lives.

Employees surveyed came from industries such as construction, property, design, creative arts, engineering, manufacturing, finance, banking, accountancy, and healthcare.

What Are The Benefits Of Listening To Music At Work?

Over half (54%) of those surveyed said listening to music at work improves their mental health and happiness. Over half (56%) also stated it improves their mood and two-thirds said it helps them focus and get work done quicker.

Additionally, 43% believe that music helps reduce boredom with the benefits impacting more men (44%) than women (42%).

The research highlighted that the younger generations appreciate the benefits of music the most. Over one in nine (95%) of 18 to 24-year-olds are able to focus and work faster, compared to 67% of 35 to 44-year-olds who said the same.

It has the greatest motivational impact on 25 to 35-year-olds (25%) followed by staff aged 55 and above (12%), trying to avoid the workplace blues.

Does Music Genre Matter?

Pop music was found to be the favourite genre across all industries, followed by rock and classical music. This is with the exception of construction where employees favour rock music.

The only industry where workers claim listening to music out loud is their preferred method was healthcare. All other industries prefer to play music through personal headphones.

Previous research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that mental health problems are prevalent in the construction industry.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of those in construction and property say that listening to music at work helps improve their mood, and 27% say it impacts their happiness. This shows that music can help with mental health issues.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming, hypnosis, Time Line Therapy®, positive psychology and coach trainer, Rebecca Lockwood, an expert on music and mental health says: “When we listen to music it creates an intentional representation in our mind which then gives us a feeling.

“Depending on the kind of music you are listening to will determine how you feel. Listening to music that makes you feel good will have a great impact on your mental health because it creates an internal perception that leaves you feeling good which would be great to boost office morale.

“If you were to listen to music that left you feeling sad or down then this could have a negative effect on your mental health as you are creating internal perceptions in your mind that are leaving you feeling worse or the same as you were before which could then lead to you feeling less productive or potentially distract you from the work that you are doing.”

Music Makes Employees More Confident And Aware

The survey provides evidence that a shift in the awareness of clean and safe workplaces will be at the forefront of employee concerns.

Over two-thirds (70%) of those surveyed said they would be more likely to ask future employers about their health and hygiene policies and implementation before accepting future jobs.

Music and work have always been intertwined,” says Alison Wild, head of marketing at Towergate SME.

“Most people enjoy listening to music of some kind, it’s perfectly natural to feel that music must have some sort of positive impact on our work.”

Alison continues: “Music has many benefits in the workplace, it helps us make the day go quicker, makes us feel good, improves the working environment, motivates us, and therefore helps us get through with otherwise boring tasks.

”Music has always created a sense of togetherness, that’s why many turn to it during a crisis. Music can help boost your productivity by putting you in a better mood, combatting stress and anxiety, while we are all working from home.

“From the survey we conducted, we found that 48% of the public listen to more music while working now than before the pandemic.

“Furthermore, when questioned, 54% of respondents accredited music for making them feel happier and having a positive effect on their mental health while on the job.”

Study: Listening To Music Positively Impacts Office Life

Man shows different emotions

A fear of shame or feeling “weak” is deterring many boys and young men from seeking help for mental health problems, new research has found.

This survey shows that males struggle with mental health issues long before they enter the workplace. If these issues go unchecked or unsupported, it could spell trouble for men in the workplace as they leave education.

What Mental Health Challenges Are Males Having?

The survey of 1,100 boys and young men by youth mental health charity stem4 also shows that many do not receive support when they ask for it.

Over a third (37%) of boys and young men aged between 14 and 21 said they were currently experiencing mental health difficulties.

Of these, 51% had not spoken to anyone, 21% were receiving treatment, and 29% had asked for help but were not receiving treatment.

The most prevalent mental health difficulties were stress (47%), anxiety (27%), and depression or low mood (33%).

Other common problems included eating disorders (11%), anger and behavioural issues (10%) and self-harm behaviours (9%).

stem4 works to prevent mental ill-health in teenagers and young people.

It found that almost half (46%) of its survey respondents would not ask for help for a problem that was making them upset, anxious or depressed, “even if things got really bad.”

What Barriers Are Preventing Males From Speaking Up?

When asked what was stopping them, 36% said they didn’t have the courage, 32% said they “don’t want to make a fuss” and 30% said they would feel weak or ashamed.

A fifth (21%) worried that people would laugh or think less of them, and 14% said they would “feel less masculine.”

An additional 15% said they didn’t know how to ask for help.

The survey also explored the effect of cultural factors, with seven in ten saying that boys and young men are negatively portrayed in the media.

Almost half (46%) identified “pressure from peers to behave in a dominant masculine way” as having a negative impact on the mental health of boys and young men.

A quarter (25%) of boys and young men said being associated with peers who treat girls and women disrespectfully was one of the factors most likely to damage young men’s mental health.

Other factors identified were loneliness, bullying, and the pressure to look good or have a good body.

Dr. Nihara Krause, consultant clinical psychologist and CEO and founder of stem4, says: “We live in a culture that puts huge pressure on boys and young men to behave in particular ways, many of them damaging to their mental health.

“Our survey shows exactly why this is so damaging, with many suffering in silence, even when they’re approaching crisis point.

“If we’re going to tackle boys’ and young men’s mental health, we have to address the cultural blind spots to male mental health.

“It’s also time to start listening properly to boys and men, understand how they express their needs and provide services that will benefit them.”

Are People Supporting Mens’ Mental Health?

Just 37% of boys and young men say they would feel able to approach their family if they were experiencing mental health problems.

Many parents (72%) say they feel ill-equipped to deal with their child or young person’s mental health difficulties.

With such limited referral pathways available, most parents say they are being left to fend for themselves.

The 1,100 boys and young men surveyed identified the following positive steps that should be put in place to protect and improve the mental health of young people.

  • Regular mental health check-ups (just like going to the dentist)
  • Safe places in which to ask for help
  • One-on-one in-person treatment to speak to therapists, not group sessions
  • Better PSHE education in schools, not from a textbook, with practical guidance on how to ask for help
  • Education for families on how to spot early signs of mental ill-health, and how to talk to their children
  • Better, faster access to treatment
  • Recognition that loneliness is real for boys and young men, and that they are not a tough as they portray

If you found this article informative, you might be interested in Six ways to tackle the problem of men’s health, Promoting a safer digital experience in mental health services: a discussion paper, and Tools that empower employees to engage and take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing.

You can also access the recording of the Make A Difference webinar, sponsored by Peppy, which focused on “Talking men’s language: how to talk to male colleagues about health” here. Simply enter your details when prompted.

‘Toxic Masculinity’ Is Stopping Boys Seeking Mental Health Support