In our third instalment of our series Is the World Going Mental? We look into how the stresses or the corporate environment effect the day-today of those involved.
The environmental goods and service sector contributed £26.3 billion to the economy in 2012, employing over 350,000 full time jobs.
25-year-old Jake Trimmer, joined the corporate lifestyle last year as an Environmental Consultant, after graduating with a master’s degree from the University of Manchester.
As I am showed through a swanky air-conditioned office, I am greeted with a sharp looking individual in a smart yet casual suit. It’s just like any other office job really, the 9-5 grind. “Says Jake. “Obviously, it involves a lot of work sitting in the same position all day working on a computer. You can be on the phone quite a lot sorting out projects. Other days you can be doing presentations to 70 people. It can be very stressful. Time constraints and work pressures from seniors can be quite overwhelming at times. You have to ensure you hold yourself in a certain way and act with professionalism quite a lot”.
In 2018, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related illnesses and 57% of all working days lost due to ill health.
“I feel mental health has got a lot of media attention recently, and so businesses have started incorporating it as much as possible now” he says. “Here we have professionals who come in and teach classes on mentality in the office environment. You are guided through a meditation during your break to offer time to relax and to teach you the process of taking 5-10 mins each day for yourself. It’s very peaceful” he chuckles.
Giving the vast fortunes of turnover each year from the corporate world, it is clear to see the money is being used to motivate staff positively.
Jake says the highlight of work so far is “definitely” the masseuse who comes in once a month a provides ten-minute shoulder massages. “It’s these tiny things that I feel are really important in such a busy office environment as they offer a chance of relaxation, meaning work efforts will be better later on”.
It wasn’t always massages and meditation for Jake however, as he explains the stresses of the hospitality industry he endured for three years. “This is the first corporate environment I have ever worked in” he says, “I worked many different bars around the city center and dj’ing club gigs and such. Unfortunately, these places can be the most inhospitable to mental health issues and can be an unhealthy environment to work in when going through any mental issues”.
He begins to look slightly bemused as he reflects of the opposing worlds he has experienced both sides of. “It’s sad to think that because of the nature of the bar world that the same treatment I get here isn’t available. I guess it can’t be helped, we are comparing industries of thousands of profit, compared to millions, 20 staff compared to 5000”.
“Corporations really have the money for these things, and it is in their best interest to do so. Hospitality would rarely ever spend money on these issues as I feel they see their staff as quite dispensable. At least from when I worked there.”
“There needs to be vast amounts of investment into mental health awareness for everyone, not just between different industries of work.”
Despite the help offered to Jake in his work-place environment, he says he still finds it difficult to balance a healthy lifestyle. Over 50% of UK workers believe their employers do not promote a healthy work-life balance and only a third say their managers offer help with the work load.
“Coping is different for everyone, but at the same time extremely similar for everyone” he says. “For me, the main one will always be diet and exercise. I find that without eating well, without structured dinners or going to the gym or climbing every week, I would become hugely stressed and this takes a huge toll on my mental health. I struggled with this for a long time and it made me very depressed. There were days where coping was never all that easy, so downtime and alone time is what I would fix this with”.
Jake then continues to tell me he found his teenage years particularly difficult. “I had a lot going on” he briefly tells, before swiftly moving on to how he wished things had been. “This information or social understanding that mental issues are the same as any other bodily issue, would have been of great help”. It’s a common theme amongst the series of ‘Is the World Going Mental?’ As Alice and Nik, stated similar.
“It’s a difficult one, everyone is different and issues can be minimal to severe, it’s so hard to pinpoint and cater for the public because of this. All we can do it ensure everyone has the information they need, and know that help is easily accessible if they need it.”
“I feel greater awareness of being able to take days off for those with mental health issues. Businesses need to show this understanding that sometimes peoples brains are just not up to it, Bosses expect so much from us, setting deadlines and dealing with big clients, and then not allowing the downtime to recover from the stress. Everyone is different, this does not mean we cannot be understanding of the differences and help those that need it when needed.”