How can you get a true measure of stress in the workplace?
The 1st of 3 episodes talking with special guest Marc Caulfield, CEO & Co-Founder of Demolish the Wall, TEDx Speaker, Role Model 2020 InsideOut Leaderboard & Ambassador at The Youth Group.
Part 1 of #TheNeurocast with Marc, talking about the tidal wave of stress that’s about to impact the workplace, post lockdown. Stress is becoming an increasing concern for business leaders. Marc talks to us about the importance of being able to measure the impact of stress in the workplace and how Demolish the Wall are using StressAssess® to support their clients.
After 28 years in advertising and struggling with his own mental health, Marc decided to make creating healthy workplaces his mission in work. Demolish the Wall was born to help organisations create environments and cultures which look after their people’s mental well-being, where everybody’s voice can be heard and they can reach their full potential.
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Cheryl Stapleton: Welcome to those who are watching today. I’m Cheryl Stapleton from Truthsayers and I’m joined by Marc Caulfield.
Marc Caulfield: I’m Marc Caulfield and I’m CEO of Demolish the Wall. We are a mental health consultancy business that specialise in normalising mental health conversations and mental health in the workplace.
CS: Brilliant. Thanks for joining me today.
CS: I wanted to get you on line today to talk really about stress, it’s top news story everywhere. What from your point of view, do you think are the challenges that business leaders are going to face in these coming months, coming years? As we come to the end of furlough, people start to get back to some sense of normality, what are the challenges that are going to be faced, do you think?
MC: I think fundamentally, the biggest challenge really is that – I don’t like the word ‘new normal’ at all but – the fact is I don’t see things ever really going back to exactly how they were before, so we have a situation where we have had people who have been working from home for the past year or have been furloughed (or whatever their situation has been), and you’re looking at a scenario now where you’ve got business leaders who are looking at a whole array of issues around this: who’s going to be coming back? Do they want to come back? Do I try to force that to happen? What happens with office space? I’ve got a client, just pre-first lockdown signed a five-year lease on a five–hundred person building in Shoreditch – that is a massive problem for them.
There’s a whole array of issues out there, over and above the normal sort of stress issues that people have in the work place. Working from home has, for many people been brilliant. But for an awful lot of people, it’s been horrendous and a lot of people don’t look at how much of an issue that is for some people. I’ve sat on lots of panels recently and you’ve got very learned professors in the background in their oak panelled library telling everyone how difficult it must be working from home but with all due respect, they have no real understanding of it. I mean, there’s been a whole array of things that have come up here, around people in less than perfect relationships, abusive relationships; people who just physically can’t do it – don’t have the space, have got young kids running around all day and it is a massive challenge. You’ve got leaders and HR people in the workplace who are desperately trying to manage this incredibly complex area.
CS: Why have you decided to partner with Truthsayers?
MC: A lot of what we do is around training and working with people managers to understand how to spot the signs that their people might be in difficulty – or in deed themselves – and working through those sort of things. We do a lot of work around the legalities, policies and procedures and things like that, but the one thing we wanted that was really important for us to close that loop was measurement. I come from an advertising background – a media agency background – so data and measurement are sort of hard wired into me.
What we want to be able to provide to clients is real concrete proof that we are making a real difference. Lots and lots of people out there, spend lots of money and lots of time doing employee engagement surveys and things like this which, with the best will in the world, a lot of them are fairly average and they’re done to almost answer the question you want to answer. What we wanted to do was to work with a business who have the tech and the brain power to actually get to the truth; to really understand how people are feeling, where the stress points are.
A lot of our business is around stress mitigation. We understand that work can be stressful. We understand there are lots of businesses out there where you are going to work long hours and it’s going to be tough, but what you need to do is, you need to get a benchmark figure – you need to understand where you are before you start work – and then be able to do little dip stick pieces of work throughout that to actually look at the positive impact you’re making. When we talk to different clients, depending on who you are talking to, a lot people are very good on the moral and ethical reasons as to why you should look after your people’s mental health. But there are lots of people, more finance-driven people, who are going, “what’s it going to do to my bottom line?” and we talk about it will reduce staff churn, it will improve loyalty, it will make people happier, they will perform better, but you need some science behind it and what you need is some real data and that’s why we work with Truthsayers.