I was delighted to have the opportunity to be a speaker on Mental Health and Employee Wellness at the recent Accountex London event in May 2022 and indeed before that at Accountingweb LIVE back in December 2021.
This is a subject that is important to me and I will shortly explain why, but in truth it is a subject that is important to all of us.It is getting to the stage that all of us know someone who suffers from stress and anxiety and may be in need of some support.
Health and wellness in the workplace
I do expect that employers are going to come under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they, as the employer, are doing something to help their employees take care of their mental health.
Even if the law does not force employers, market demands and that of the workforce might do so, as younger generations come to recognise the importance of mental health and expect more support they may choose future employers on the basis of the support that is seen to be available.
They are quite right of course, your mental health (and that of the people around you) is at least as important as your physical health.Being told just to suck it up and get on with your work is no longer deemed acceptable in this modern world. Rightly so, but actually, looking after the employee’s mental health benefits the employer too.
Ask yourself how much more work you get done when you are in a good mental state, calm and happy and stress free? How about the quality of your work, does that improve when you are in a good frame of mind? Efficiency is doing things well, effectiveness is doing the right thing.
Good mental health policies will help your firm with the following, if you feel none of the points below are important then you can probably skip reading the rest of this blog:
Improved attendance – people are happy at work
Improved concentration – better quality work
More efficient – mind is on work – time saved
Win work – better relationships with clients & prospects
Harmonious office – helps working relationships
High quality team – Good people are easier to retain & attract
What can smaller employers do to help support mental health and employee wellness?
The bigger employers are recognising the issue and how important it is in helping them attract the right people to work for them, and of course potential clients judge the firm on their policies and attitude, and on how the employees ‘present’ themselves.
Some of the bigger employers now offer mental health days, that is where the employee can take a day off and spend the day at home stressing over the same issues.Or they offer them ‘perks’ such as vouchers for restaurants and a spa to treat themselves and take their mind off the stress..That’s all very nice and probably pleasant in the moment but it doesn’t deal with the problem, it just postpones the symptoms.
Other perks offered generally have a low take-up and I am unconvinced that they generate much goodwill. Some of the biggest employers have decided to give staff a 4-day week during summer, but they get paid for 5. The smaller employers may struggle with the economics of that!
I looked up some of the guidance online and it said ‘host mental health information sessions’; ‘engage open communication’; and ‘provide helpful resources’, but how on earth does the small employer do that? It wasn’t exactly covered in the accounting textbooks.
The Armadillo Wellness solution?
Armadillo has built the Armadillo Wellness portal which is a resource that is FREE for members and all their team can access that resource and use it as it suits them. Armadillo provides the resource to the employer and the employer makes the resource available to their team and signposts it.
The Armadillo Wellness portal includes a monthly program to help people get in charge of their own mental health. It is designed to empower individuals to take responsibility and it provides them with the understanding, the knowledge and the resources to do that.
Imagine how much easier life would be if you and all your team experienced no unnecessary stress or anxiety in the future. How different might life be in the office…and elsewhere in life.
The Armadillo Wellness portal includes a core program of monthly videos with workbooks and bonus videos and webinars, recorded and live webinars, along with other additional resources. It is designed to take an individual gently through a year-long program of self-development. Resolving mental health issues and getting on top of the things that are causing individuals stress and anxiety is not an overnight process.
You can’t go to the gym once and expect to come out with the body of an athlete after that first session.It’s the same for our mental fitness and flexibility, it does need a little bit of work and a little bit of time. The good news is the work isn’t complex and everyone can do it and benefit from it.
Why you should use the Armadillo Wellness program
The Armadillo Wellness program is pioneered and run by myself, Gordon Berry. I am a Chartered Certified Accountant (1994) and a Chartered Tax Adviser (2004) and Master Practitioner in NLP (2007).
I am well versed in a number of different disciplines in the area of mind psychology and wellness, such as NLP (neuro-linguistic-programming), Mindfulness, Hypnotherapy, Huna, CBT, and more.
My study of Buddhist philosophy began many years ago when I was meant to be studying for my higher school exams.Those around me at the time encouraged me to “go and do something more sensible like your father”. So I did. I became an accountant. But when I was meant to be studying for my exams I could be found in the library reading the works of Carl Jung and Teilhard de Chardin and others.
After completing my accountancy training, I also went on to become a chartered tax adviser, but my interest in psychology never left me.
I took over my fathers accounting practice after he suffered a stroke. My father, a very bright and capable man all his life to that point, lived for another decade trapped inside his partly paralyzed body, unable to communicate.
There is little doubt in my mind that, at least partly, this was caused by all the worries and stresses he took on, but with little coping mechanisms and techniques to alleviate the burden of stress.
There is an argument that most of our dis-ease has its roots in stress and how that affects our mind and body.So you don’t have to look far to understand why I am passionate about bringing the understanding and the techniques to the world of the accountancy firm.You and the team around you can learn how to live a life free from the overburden of stress that we often carry in our minds.
If it sounds like I can help you and your team with mental health and employee wellness, then have a little look at the webpage https://armadilloacademy.co.uk/wellness/ where you can also access a ‘taster’ session.
Gordon is a Chartered Accountant (FCCA) and Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) and also a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic-Programming and is also trained in Mindfulness and Hypnosis and a number of other esoteric practices.
An early interest in psychology was put on the back burner as he was encouraged to “do something more sensible” and follow in his father’s footsteps into accountancy. Gordon qualified with ACCA in 1994, then as a CTA in 2004 before becoming a Master Practitioner in NLP in 2007.
Gordon took over his father's CA practice after his father took unwell from stress. Gordon ran that business for seven years, building it up and modernising what was a very traditional accounting practice before selling it in 2009. His experiences and what he saw his father going through running a busy practice, working all the hours, taking on the problems of the clients and managing a team, has shaped what Gordon now does as he combines his love of accounting with his first interest & love of psychology to make sure accountants look after themselves first so that they are in the best place to look after their clients. Gordon is co-Director in Armadillo Academy along with Matt Hall CTA bringing soft skills training, improved mindset and wellbeing to accounting practices through the UK.
Please get in touch if you would like to learn more about the Armadillo program on Wellbeing.