#162: Prioritising Mental Well-Being in the Finance Workplace with Rob Stephenson

with Rob Stephenson

Our Guest Mentors:

Rob Stephenson founder of InsideOut is a social enterprise with a mission of ending the stigma of mental ill-health in the workplace. Rob has a strong and personal interest in mental wellbeing and is also the Chief Catalyst at BetterSpace, a technology start up with the mission of stimulating investment in preventative mental wellbeing solutions. Rob has lived and worked whilst managing bipolar disorder for as long as he can remember. Rob conducts speaking engagements on his personal experiences and ideas as to how we can facilitate change.

Rob is also The Human Reserves Initiative is a performance consulting service that looks to improve how people in the workplace are marshalling their reserves.

Rob is a chartered accountant, an accredited Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment Provider, a certified coach and Level 2 Certified British Cycling Coach.

Key Quotes From the Episode:

“[On managing bipolar disorder] prioritizing physical exercise and sleep was crucial in maintaining positive mental health. Keeping track of it on a daily basis while keeping friends and family involved was also important in the managing the condition.” [04:47]

“[Distinction between stress in the workplace and mental-ill health] as we all experience stress in our jobs as it will lead to mental-ill health if we don’t balance it with recovery.” [07:48]

“[Signals of potential mental-ill health] if there are changes in our sleep pattern, finding it hard to sleep or waking-up in the middle of the night and ruminating about work and including those who can’t switch-off and focus on family affairs are already signs of the burn-out.” [09:24]

“These days we are not running away from sabre-toothed tigers instead we are getting e-mail, deadlines, audits and year-end reports that caused us stress. The problem with that is we are not allowing ourselves from recovering from that stressful moment. When the sabre-toothed tiger go away we should rest, digest and recover.” [09:59]

“Because of stigma what we don’t do by saying are you ok mate? How are you doing? You’re not looking yourself today, let’s have a coffee and talk about it. Instead we just do the routine greetings.” [11:21]

“[How to know people that you managed remotely] as we need to have a face to face time to get to know them. Regular check-ins about the people and their work as employees will found that care and attention are valuable.” [12:31]

“[The brand of mental health] we often relate it to mental-ill health, illness, anguish, black and white photos of people with their head on their hands and of people that are struggling. That is not health. That is your health. When we talk about physical health immediately we think about vibrancy, athleticism and healthy people so we have a problem on the brand of mental health.” [14:32]

“[Statistic on mental health] the most important statistic on mental health is 1 on 1. 100% of us have mental health and if we accept that we can start influence it like what we do when influencing our physical health. It’s an opportunity that aside from looking for ourselves and how we approach mental health in the workplace.” [15:32]

“[Cost of mental-ill health in the economy] biggest cost of mental-ill health is presentism. These are people in the workplace doing their jobs but are underperforming because of mental-ill health and the cost far exceeded the cost of employee absenteeism, staff turn-over ” [17:08]

“[Why companies are not investing as mental health] it’s new to the business and it’s hard to work-out what to invest in as although lately companies start to focus on the recovery side, EIP system, mental health first aide and awareness as a respond to the opportunity.”[18:44]

“As children we are not taught to manage our mental wellbeing, we don’t know how to do it.” [20:35]

“[Using a technology to address mental health] Better Space, a platform helps provide solution by acting as an intelligent market place by having wellbeing questionnaires to determine areas to improve together with curative database solutions that are approved safe.” [21:38]

“Keeping to one’s self the struggle of having mental ill health is adding more pressure of trying something you are not and that feeling is getting worse especially during struggling moments.” [22:58]

“As men struggle to open they need senior role models to do that. Then once the leader speaks out then the process of culture change starts”. [24:09]

“Wellbeing Wednesday, people are encouraged to attend meetings on Wednesday but people actually just go there over lunch and talk as humans and connect. This is just one solution that is really simple but they that start with the leaders sharing the challenges.” [27:53]

(Other resources and how to connect with Rob below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

· The stigma of talking mental ill health at the workplace.

· The Possible signs of potential mentally-ill health

· 3 things to do to recover from stress at work

· How mental health affecting the company’s bottom line

Time Stamped Show Notes

[03:11] – Rob share his career journey in mental health and accounting. At 13 he was diagnose with bipolar disorder and struggled at the university dealing with the condition. Over the years he learned to manage it with the help of physical exercise that was crucial in maintaining positive mental health. Prioritizing sleep with friends and family knowing it is also important. The stigma that the condition brings as being perceived differently by people, clients and his staff but Rob was open about his condition. He founded InsideOut to publish to end the stigma of mental ill-health in the workplace.

[07:48] – How Rob encouraged leaders to talk about their stress and mental health condition as many senior leaders really want to talk about it but they fear of speaking out.

[09:18] – Signs of potential mentally-ill health

· Its’ signal based on the individual in nature

· Disturbance of sleep pattern

· Ruminating about work

· Unable to pay attention to family affairs during outside work moments

· Changes in behaviour like getting more reserve

· Not contributing to work the way they normally do

· Or contributing too much being at the manic period

[10:25] – 3 things to do to recover from stress at work that will lead to anxiety and burn-out if we do not to balance the threat by doing simple things

· Taking a break from our desk

· Having lunch outside the park

· Going for walk in the middle of the afternoon to break the day

[12:10] – Rob shares the tips on remote employees for them to share their mental condition;

· Have a face to face time to get to know them

· Do regular check-in about the people and their work

[14:16] – What’s the best language to use to address the condition at the work place given it has many terminologies like mental ill-health, mental health and mental wellness.

[16:59] – Indicators on how mental health affecting the company’s bottom line as the cost of mental-ill health that as of the latest estimates in UK economy is around 105 Billion.

[18:44] – Why companies are not investing as mental health agenda as it is something new to business.

[22:42] – The best bit of advice Rob received on mental health, its OK to talk about it even if you are struggling.

[24:09] – Ways to break-out and be brave, aside from telling people about our mental ill health.

[25:37] Resources that Rob recommend to our audience to read.

[29:00] – How best to connect with Rob.

[31:08] – Rob’s parting thoughts by making sure to prioritize our wellbeing because it will pay in dividends.

Resources Mentioned: · (Online) Samaritans Wellbeing in the City https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/workplace/wellbeing-workplace/

· Heads Together Campaign · https://www.headstogether.org.uk/

· The Minds At Work Movement o http://www.mindsatworkmovement.com/

· Depressive Illness: The Curse Of The Strong

by Dr. Tim Cantopher o Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=B00IIBDTM4

Connect with today’s guest: · LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/robstephenson/ · Website: https://inside-out.org/


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