Today marks World Mental Health Day at an extremely prominent time. Ongoing economic turmoil and financial woes are not only catalysing mental health issues for small businesses but adding to an existing issue leftover by the pandemic. 

In fact, research from Xero showed that 92 percent of small business owners believe they will recover financially from the Covid crisis before they recover mentally and emotionally. 

Now, further financial restraints mean that most small businesses spend less than £1000 on mental health initiatives, but this is hindering the business’ performance because those that put a focus on wellbeing and mental health support experience significant benefits. These include better economic outcomes and the ability to grow and retain more staff.

With research showing that mental health issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety cause 44 percent of work-related ill health, it is more important than ever to care for the well-being of employees. 


The mental well-being of your employees should be a top priority as companies are expected to maintain higher standards of social responsibility. 

This is particularly so in contact centres, where dealing with customer complaints and problems on a daily basis can prove to be especially stressful, resulting in high levels of burnout.

The emotional environment of contact centres can have a draining effect on your employees as they advise sensitive personal matters for your customers.

As part of World Mental Health Day, Kura looks at some measures you can take to improve employee morale and the mental health of your team in contact centres.

World Mental Health Day: The importance of rotating tasks

Assisting customer calls daily can be draining. Complaints management can negatively impact your employees both mentally and emotionally throughout the day if there is no room for respite. 

Jumping from one call to the other, with unhappy customers, can begin to take its toll. Offering your employees rotating tasks, in different customer service channels, can give them the breather they need to maintain the highest quality of customer service across the day. This will also ensure that their mind remains focused on the task, as they will encounter different problems regularly.

Communicate with your advisors and find a routine which fits your company best. Rotating channels each hour, for example, could be the best way to maintain high levels of call availability while allowing your employees respite. 

Or perhaps introducing ten minutes of admin work or call-free communication such as emails and live chats an hour would provide the best results, giving your employees a retreat from back-to-back calls.

Repetition can be exhausting, even more so when the content of each communication is heavy. Preventing employee burnout through recognising harmful work routines can make your company more efficient, maintain high customer service standards, and make your workplace a better environment.

World Mental Health Day: Chelsea Coates, Chief People Officer at GWI:

“Whether it’s political turbulence or changes brought on by the pandemic, in recent years everyone has had a lot to deal with. And now with the cost of living crisis acting as an extra stressor, it’s critical that mental health support is prioritised in the workplace. 

This means real, action-based support. For companies today, superficial strategies aren’t enough. An important element to any mental health programme is training, both for leaders and managers – recent data from GWI found that 34 percent of employees want to see this type of training across the business. A manager that’s had this training is much more likely to spot when a person is struggling with their mental health and put plans in place to best support them. The right level of understanding and training around mental health is no longer a nice-to-have but necessary. 

We also found that 51 percent of people want employers to provide mental wellbeing leave or days off. As the line between our work and personal lives blurred during covid-19, giving employees this headspace can help to safeguard their mental health and create a positive, productive working environment.”

Introduce meditation

You can also set in place well-being sessions to increase employee morale and stress-management techniques. Live meditation classes, which can be provided both in-office or across Zoom or Teams channels, can equip your employees with the tools to manage their own stress within the workplace. Meditation can also boost concentration, focus, and compassion – all valuable attributes in contact centres. Practising meditation and breathing techniques as a cohort will not only make employees feel more comfortable with one another, but it can also encourage team bonding.

Personal check-ins

Ensuring you maintain regular one-to-ones with your employees is important for managing good mental wellbeing in the workplace. Holding meetings with individual employees can help identify problems and potential burnouts and set in place new routines and measures to manage this. These meetings should be no-pressure situations which happen in neutral environments. Rather than taking the meeting in an office, try an employee canteen, café, or video-calling for remote workers.

As a business, it can sometimes become difficult to recognise signs of burnout and problems within individual team members. This is even more true for those working hybrid and remote jobs as face-to-face interactions are limited. 

Equally, your employees may not feel comfortable approaching you for help with their mental health struggles, so outlining regular meetings can help provide a secure and safe space for employees to communicate their emotions.

Making sure you are trained in the necessary skills to recognise and treat burnout is important for employee mental health. Compassion training can make it easier for workers to communicate their needs. It is important to make sure you are a part of the team structure so that you can connect with staff and open up the dialogue around mental health in the workplace.

Support employees through assistance schemes

You can further open the discussion of mental health in the workplace by ensuring that your company provides effective employee assistance programmes and schemes. Mental health awareness should go far beyond World Mental Health Day.

Offering access to counselling, support services, and advice resources can improve employee well-being, as they have the means of finding support and guidance. Specialised advice and counselling access is particularly important during a time when the NHS waiting lists for mental health are long.  

Ensuring your company has strong partnerships with mental health providers can help boost the well-being of your employees, as well as establish your business as a socially conscious company. 

Providing professionals that your workers can speak confidentially with can remove the added pressure of opening discussions with line managers, while still getting the guidance needed both inside and outside of work.

Understanding your employees, their needs, and the signs of burnout are significant for the success of your call centre. In a customer-focused role, it is often easy to miss employee problems, but a happy workforce can lead to higher-quality customer service and satisfaction. Investing in partnerships, well-being sessions and management training can all help to support your employees as they endeavour to aid others.


World Mental Health Day: Kate Hayward, Director of Operations UK & EMEA, Xero:

“As small business owners face ongoing economic turmoil and financial woes, Mental Health Awareness Day feels more important than ever. 

“These issues not only catalyse mental health concerns by putting additional pressure on business owners, they also prevent them from investing in relevant initiatives. In fact, according to our recent study, the average total investment in mental health initiatives by small firms during the last two years was just £939. 

“However, those who are able to put a focus on wellbeing and mental health support experience significant benefits, including better economic outcomes and the ability to grow and retain more staff. It’s clear more needs to be done to empower owners to embrace these initiatives, and support the psychological wellbeing of them and their staff.  

“In the meantime, there are steps that small businesses can take to drive positive change. For example, developing and encouraging a wellbeing-led workplace. This includes making information around how the business supports mental health readily available and a key part of the employee induction process; from mental health first aiders in the office, to sharing resources from organisations such as Mind

 “It’s also important to set a positive tone through seemingly simple actions like encouraging full lunch breaks, as well as clear boundaries for working hours to enable better work-life balance and avoid burnout, and creating an open culture; actions in which owners should lead by example.”







Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.