PMM Editor’s Viewpoint October 2018.
“The repair trade is a fast-paced, competitive and increasingly stressful environment, and this can take its toll on you and your workforce. As a manager or business owner, the mental wellbeing of your staff should be a top priority.”
This month will see the return of World Mental Health Day – a campaign that aims to raise awareness and improve understanding of mental illness. Various charities and organisations have done admirable work in the last few years to further this cause, and have made strides in removing the stigma attached to conditions such as depression and anxiety.
But did you know that one such charity exists solely to serve the people in our sector? That charity goes by the name of Ben – so called because it was originally known as the Cycle Trades Benevolent Fund, before extending into automotive circles – with the stated aim of partnering with the UK automotive industry and providing support for life to its people and their families.
Ben’s ethos and support is built around four main pillars – physical, mental, financial and social – which the organisation believes are the foundations of people’s health and wellbeing. In October, the primary focus will of course be on mental health, as the charity will be running its Hats on 4 Ben campaign, encouraging business owners to get involved and recognise their responsibility to support their employees.
Running in conjunction with World Mental Health Day on 10th October, the premise of Hats on 4 Ben is simple: wear a hat to work and donate £2 to Ben, to help the charity continue with its valuable work. Details of how you can get involved are available at www.hatson4ben.co.uk, and it really is a case of the more the merrier. PMM will be getting into the spirit of things and posting a photo of the editorial team wearing a range of headgear on Twitter, using the hashtag #HatsOn4Ben.
Whilst the social media aspect of the ‘Hats on’ campaign is a bit of fun, it should not detract from the serious underlying message. The repair trade is a fast-paced, competitive and increasingly stressful environment, and this can take its toll on you and your workforce. As a manager or business owner, the mental wellbeing of your staff should be a top priority. Offering a helping hand, Ben has recently published some guidance of how to tackle stress in the workplace:
- If the workload is too heavy, share the burden. Your employees will respect you if you get involved to help out. Is there anyone else in the team who can help during a particularly busy period or can you recruit some extra resource?
- Make yourself available. Listen and offer your help, advice and support if needed.
- Be understanding and compassionate about the concerns and stresses of your employees.
- Allow employees some time out from more stressful tasks and ensure they have time to do tasks they excel in and enjoy.
- Encourage employees to have regular breaks to exercise or to just have sometime away from the garage – and lead by example.
It’s often said that the best thing about the automotive industry, and particularly the aftermarket, is the people who work in it. With that in mind, why not show your support for Ben on 10th October and make sure that the charity can continue helping the people in our sector that need it the most.