Assistant Editor, SHP & IFSEC Global

December 16, 2021

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Heath & wellbeing

‘How can we be more intentional about our wellbeing?’ – Rob Stephenson discusses the growing need for businesses to retain a focus on workplace wellbeing

In October, SHP spoke to Rob Stephenson, about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health and safety profession and what more needs to be done to ensure business’ are doing all they can to maintain ‘mentally healthy’ workplaces. In this article, we sum up the key take-aways from his talk at EHS Congress 2021…

Rob Stephenson

Rob Stephenson, CEO of FormScore

Mental Health Campaigner and CEO of FormScore, Rob Stephenson, spoke to SHP prior to his attendance at this year’s EHS Congress 2021, which took place from 9-10 November. Sadly, due to suffering from the lasting effects of long-COVID, Rob was unable to attend the event in person, however he did present a pre-recorded talk, looking at the growing need for businesses to retain a focus on workplace wellbeing.

Rob began his talk by asking audience members to ponder simple question – “How are you today?” He encouraged viewers to really think about how they would respond to the question, arguing that, by human nature, we rarely answer authentically.

He went on to discuss the capabilities of FormScore, a wellbeing tool used by employers to monitor the welfare of their workers. The tool works by asking individuals how they would rate their current wellbeing state on a scale of 1-10, one being extremely poor and ten being excellent.

Rob then prompted audience members to ask themselves what their score might be today, do tasks feel difficult or easy? What does their sense of purpose feel like? How well would they say they are balancing stress? – “These are all important questions we should be asking ourselves every single day.”

After years of struggling with poor mental health, at the age of 30, Rob was diagnosed with Bipolar. At 31, things became too much to bear, and Rob attempted to end his life.

Thankfully, with the help of professionals and a supportive family, his mental state improved and, in 2017, Rob decided it was time to share his story and posted to LinkedIn explaining his situation.

Prior to this, he had not realised how many people in his own network similarly suffered with poor mental health.

“What do you think of when we say mental health? What do you think of when we say physical health?”

Rob highlighted that ‘mental health’ has such negative connotations attached to it and yet, physical health could mean a plethora of things.

When you search for a picture of ‘mental health’, you get a black and white image of someone with their head in their hands, and yet, when you search ‘physical health’ you’re greeted with a variety of images of strong bodied individuals clutching weights or embarking on a run.

“If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that everybody knows what it feels like to struggle with ill mental health – so why do we shy around from talking about it?”

Building awareness and intent around workplace wellbeing is extremely important and something employers should be doing continuously, Rob added.

How can we be more intentional about our own wellbeing?

  • Plenty of Vitamin D, fatty acids, and vegetables
  • Stay hydrated
  • Monitor alcohol use
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Exercise
  • Journaling

As the number of people opting for remote working increases, Rob argues that we all need to increase our efforts to check in with one another.

Along with a variety of benefits, remote working has also brought with it a multitude of challenges, particularly when it comes to maintaining a positive work-life balance. ISO 45003 is a new global standard that intends to provide practical methods of best practice for managing psychological health in the workplace. It also highlights that workers can not be punished for speaking up about their struggles with mental health. Rob argues that, being able to safely communicate how we feel is extremely important. Some people will be delighted to be returning to the office, others won’t, speaking up without fear of it effecting your career is crucial.

How can employers create environments where people feel safe taking risks around their colleagues? 

  • Make sure you’re in constant communication with your workers
  • Upskill managers, provide training on how to support employees who are struggling with their mental health
  • Don’t assume people are ok – people are not the same as they were 18 months ago, there are new struggles, new fears, people cope with those changes differently
  • Be intentional about inclusion, use technology effectively to enable this, particularly for those working remotely
  • Create space to check in outside of ‘business as usual’, don’t be afraid to have a conversation with a colleague who is struggling, we can’t fix people, we’re not doctors, but we can be there and ask what we can do to help
  • Be aware of the help your organisation already provides, for example buddy systems or weekly wellbeing check-ins.


Rob concludeed his talk by discussing burnout. He argues that we all need to feel a certain amount of stress to perform, but too much of this can lead to burnout, another growing problem in today’s society.

Symptoms of burnout

  • Detachment
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of creativity
  • Pessimism
  • Poor concentration
  • Reduced performance
  • Exhaustion
  • Physical illness

Rob encouraged all listeners to make a personal investment in their own wellbeing, a tool that will help them recover from and adapt in the face of stress, challenge, or adversity.

Click here to read more from Rob Stephenson.

Click here for more EHS Congress on SHP.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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Stuart Robertson CMIOSH
Stuart Robertson CMIOSH
2 years ago

When recruiting or promoting everyone needs to be mindful of the persons capabilities, I’ve often seen colleagues promoted to a role that’s overstretched their abilities. Then often they are dismissed for failure!