A huge part of our lives is our work, in fact, on average British employees spend 34 hours and 26 minutes a week at work, adding up to a huge total of 1,795 hours a year! With spending so long at work, staying as healthy and happy as possible is key to upholding a positive mental wellbeing, and ensuring that workers can perform as productively as possible.
You might not first think so, but everyone has mental health. Sometimes it’s good, and at other times it’s not so great. Everyone has the right to sound mental wellbeing, not just those that have been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. As individuals, we have a responsibility to look after our own mental health, but this responsibility is also held by employers. From new starters to heads of departments; every employee has the right to access the support they need to keep them happy and healthy at work.
Use the information below to gain an understanding of what your organisation can do to better manage and support mental health in the workplace, and help employees to be able to perform at their best both physically and mentally.
According to recent research by Mind, half of workers have experienced poor mental health within their current job. What’s more, 12.7% of all sickness absence days within the UK are related to mental health conditions. Unfortunately, these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. This is because so many employees feel too embarrassed to talk about the struggles to their employer and suffer in silence.
However, mental health support isn’t just a priority for those suffering from pre-diagnosed mental ill-health. We all go through times when we’re struggling mentally, and require greater help and support at work. Luckily, there is so much that can be done to promote better mental health and wellbeing at work. From improving working practices and mental health initiatives to creating a more open workplace culture, you’ll be able to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, leading to more employees feeling like they can seek the support they need.
The benefit of this to businesses? Happier and healthier employees perform more productively and are less likely to be absent from work; saving your organisation money.
Mental health issues can be caused by, or worsened by work, whether that’s due to high workloads, animosity amongst colleagues, stress or even workplace conditions. Before offering support to employees, it’s important to understand how they are now. Ask them if everything is ok, or if you have noticed they’ve been quite upset, give them time to talk about what they’ve been going through. To carry this out across the entire organisation, get all those in senior roles involved, encourage them to make this part of their process when having 1 to 1s with employees for example.
By partnering with a corporate health provider such as LycaHealth, we are able to work with you to create a bespoke staff wellbeing strategy to suit your goals. Part of this strategy could involve creating mental health workplace policies and procedures, setting up mental health groups, offering mental health training sessions as well as providing access to a GP for those who require professional support. By having these processes in place, your organisation will be better equipped to proactively deal with employees’ wellbeing, rather than having to take a proactive approach once they’ve reached a crisis point. Not only does this help you to offer better levels of support, but it also saves costs in the long run.
Some of the signs an employee is suffering from poor mental health and wellbeing are:
Equipping managers with this knowledge puts them in a stronger position to be able to recognise the potential signs that an employee is struggling with their mental health. This will then put them in the best position to start a conversation with an employee about their mental state at the right time. However, it’s important not to make assumptions around what problems employees are suffering from, instead let them talk about them if they feel ready and comfortable to do so.
12.8 million working days are lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety each year, a staggering cost to UK businesses. More worryingly is that this fails to take into account the cost of presenteeism, replacing staff who leave their jobs due to poor mental health, unexplained sickness absence days due to mental health and unproductive employees underperforming due to a poor mental state.
Looking after your workforce’s mental health is just as important as taking care of their physical health, and will lead to a more productive team in the long term. In fact, according to recent statistics, better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year, and enable productively to improve by as much as 12%.