Tackling Mental Health in Retail

Written by Conal Yarwood-Frost

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When we picture a healthy workplace, we tend to think in terms of physicality. Are there any physical hazards? Are staff only asked to do physical tasks they’re capable of? Are potential hazards identified and clearly marked? 

While the physical safety of your staff and customers is of paramount importance, it’s the employer’s responsibility to consider unseen health factors. Mental health has become a flashpoint of discussion in recent years but many in the retail sector are in the dark about how to handle it. 

In this blog, we’ll be examining some ways to deal with the mental health crisis in a retail context. While there aren’t any one-size-fits-all solutions, there are simple things you can do to make life easier for your employees who may be struggling. 

Improving your mental health processes

Retail can be a stressful industry, especially during holidays. It’s important to create a workplace culture that allows employees to seek help for any issues they may be facing before they become a major problem. These tips will help you create a healthy environment in your business. 

Bring mental health into the workplace

For better or for worse, we spend the majority of our time at work. It would be naive to say that employees should leave their personal troubles at the door. Keeping things bottled up can only lead to a bigger problem down the line. 

Whether you have a small team in a vape shop or a multi-franchise clothing store, chances are at least one of your employees is struggling. As an employer, you can start the conversation around mental health and reassure your employees that you’ll support them no matter what. 

Cover the legal side of things 

Across the world, attitudes towards mental health are changing. Over the last few decades, many countries have rightfully brought in legislation protecting the rights of employees when they suffer from mental illness. 

As a retail employer, it’s important for you to take these mental protections as seriously as you would physical protections. Take the time to learn the laws surrounding mental health and ensure that your business meets their specifications. 

We would also suggest that you ensure your employees are familiar with their protections. If they understand how you’re committed to upholding the law, they’ll be more likely to consider their own mental health during their time with you. 

Take steps to make a mentally healthy workplace 

To effectively tackle poor workplace mental health, you need to target the causes rather than the symptoms. This means that as the employer you need to model the correct and appropriate behaviours. 

By leading the charge, you’ll show your employee that you actually care about their well-being. Steps you can take include: 

  • Training managers on mental health protocols
  • Encourage employees to speak up about mental health concerns if they feel comfortable
  • Flag potential mental health red flags 
  • Respond to raised issues as quickly as possible 

By fostering a positive working environment, your employees will feel better supported. In turn, this will improve their customer service

Be proactive about red flags 

No one is expecting you to be a doctor and diagnose your employees with mental illnesses. What you do need to do is to identify red flags that could potentially turn into a bigger problem. You’ll save yourself and your employees headaches down the road. 

You and your managers should familiarise yourselves with potential red flags. These can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Reduced productivity
  • Changes in mood and behaviour
  • A sudden increase in absences
  • Uncharacteristic disorganisation

If you notice one or more of these behaviours in one of your employees, it may be time to take action. Bring them into a meeting and discuss your concerns, offer your support, and commit to providing them with anything they need to perform their role. 

Start the conversation

Despite the best efforts of activists and campaigners, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health issues. While that’s a bigger issue than the scope of this blog, there are ways you can start to dismantle that stigma. 

Perhaps the simplest, but most effective, thing you can do as a business owner is to start a conversation with your staff about mental health. This will reinforce the trust between you and your employees and will encourage them to come to you with their concerns. 

These conversations should be handled with the utmost sensitivity. Each of your employees is unique and they’ll have their own set of concerns and worries. A question as simple as “Are you okay?” can have a huge positive impact down the line. 

As a final note, it's important to remember that not everyone will be comfortable discussing their personal problems. However, opening the door to the conversation and reassuring your employees that work is a safe space is important. Providing reassurance and having an open-door policy to problems are good ways to support staff in their time of need.

The Epos Now Complete Solution is the best option for your business. It's cutting edge technology will streamline your processes and improve your business. 

Benefits include: 

  • Integrated card payment systems
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  • Hundreds of apps to adapt your system to your business needs
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Make your employees' lives easier

The last few years have been a huge adjustment for everyone. Businesses have closed, work has intensified, and norms have been shattered. Some have struggled more with this than others and anything that can make their lives easier is much welcomed. 

That’s where the Epos Now Complete Solution comes in. Our system is designed with everyday ease in mind. We streamline your processes, automate the worst parts of running a business, and integrate seamlessly into your business. 

If you’re interested in seeing how we can help your business, get in touch with our team below. 

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