Mental Health Awareness 2019: Golin

About 14 per cent of staff at Golin UK formally work flexibly, although every employee can work from home when needed.

For managing director Bibi Hilton, this has had more of an impact than any other policy on improving mental wellbeing.

Golin's culture, she says, is "much more focused on outputs and outcomes rather than sitting in an office from nine to five".

"What we've tried to build is a culture where people can… get some balance between their personal lives and their working lives, because they're being measured on what they're delivering rather than hours spent."

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Last year 16 team members, including Hilton, became Mental Health First Aiders after two days of training with Mental Health First Aid England. They "aren't necessarily there to solve any mental health issues", she says, but to "spot the warning signs early so we can direct people to the right therapeutic support".

The Interpublic agency, which has about 250 UK staff, offers private healthcare focused on mental as well as physical health, with therapy sessions available. An emergency phone line allows members of staff to call and talk to someone about problems in confidence.

Golin uses a system called Chemist, which details the hours employees are expected to be working on particular projects for the month ahead. "It enables us to traffic-light where we've got resourcing 'pinch points' and we're able to smooth that out. If someone is massively over for a month we can reallocate work and try to identify those pinch points before they happen," Hilton says.

A timesheet-tracking system also helps identify when employees are working too many hours. "I definitely think the over-servicing problem is prevalent," Hilton admits.

She says an employee survey from a year ago found 79 per cent agreed that their work/life balance improved over the previous 12 months, since many of the initiatives were introduced. She also points to the agency's unlimited holiday policy as being good for mental wellbeing.

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Hilton says it can be difficult to link mental wellbeing policies with tangible business benefits, but she is optimistic.

"We have people working here who, candidly, are suffering from mental-health issues and the feedback I get is that they feel well supported. There is a kind of respect for people who are facing those challenges, as much as someone who is off because they are physically sick. I feel that's a step forward."

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