Mental health in the workplace – Investing in your employees
Mental health in general, is a growing issue facing many adults. In the UK, 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace.
This is to say that the conditions of the workplace can contribute to the mental wellbeing of your employees. Their mental wellbeing could then go on to affect productivity and their quality of work.
Organisations perform better when their staff are happy and motivated. Employers play an important role in supporting their workers by promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace.
The Department of Health advices that one in four of us will experience mental health problems at some point in our lives. Dealing with mental health in unavoidable in the workplace. It’s important for everyone to take steps to promote mental health wellbeing and support staff members that might be experiencing mental health issues.
In this article, we’re going to delve into some of the ways that employers can identify signs of stress in the workplace and promote mental health and general employee wellbeing.
Why should employers invest in the mental wellbeing of their staff?
- Employee retention
Businesses have realised the importance of retaining their employees. They can save money and time on recruiting and training new employees.
- Reduced sick leave and presenteeism
The annual cost of sick days to the economy as a result of stress, anxiety and other mental health-related issues is between £70bn and £100bn per year. While the annual cost for mental health-related presenteeism costs us £15bn per year.
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Investing in the mental wellbeing of your employees help demonstrates your company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.
- Increased engagement
Ensuring that your employees are engaged and committed to your company goals and values. Supporting mental health in the workplace shows your employees that you are dedicated to their wellbeing. This would in turn would lead them to contribute to the overall success of the business.
Signs of stress in the workplace
Everyone handles stress differently, but being able to identify some of the common signs can help to tackle it earlier. Common signs include:
- Lack of energy.
- Poor time performance.
- Uncommunicative, quite, angry and other mood changes.
- Increased and unexplained absences or sick leave.
Practical steps that employers can take to promote mental wellbeing
- Train teams, including senior management on mental health issues, including mental health first aid. You can also consider subconscious bias training. It plays an important role in helping employers challenge assumptions associated with mental health.
- Introducing or outsourcing a dedicated counselling service to help employees when needed.
- Managers can open up conversations with other staff members about the state of their mental health. It is important for managers to be seen as approachable, setting time aside for regular catch ups provides them with a chance to open up.
- Introducing consistent HR policies goes a long way to ensuring that they work together to account for the impact of mental health at work. Policies should reference your company’s stance on bullying, harassment, diversity, equality and also your disciplinary procedures.
In conclusion, there’s a strong link between your employees mental wellbeing and motivation and performance. From a business point of view, investing in the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees not only reduces the number of sick days taken off, it also instils loyalty and encourages them to be more productive.
Kate Palmer is the associate director and head of advisory at Peninsula UK, offering HR services for small businesses. Created for SMEs, it helps to streamline their day-to-day activities with expert advice and inspirational ideas.
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