Wellbeing in the workplace is fast becoming just as important, if not more so, than salary or career progression. One issue at the forefront of this is mental health in the workplace. We are all aware of the importance of wellbeing, but could we be doing more?
Surveys over recent years have shown the true impact of poor mental health:
- 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (14.7%)
- Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
- Deloitte says poor mental health in the workplace is equivalent to almost 2% of UK GDP (in 2016).
- 89% of workers with mental health problems report an impact on their working life.
- Just 13% of employees would be comfortable talking about mental illness at work.
- Last year, poor employee mental health cost UK employers £42bn.
- The return on investment of workplace mental health interventions is overwhelmingly positive, with an average ROI of 4:1.
Last month our Thursday Brunch event was on ‘Mental health strategies for a crazy world!’ looking at the stats above and speaking to our guests about what we can do to help our own mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
We found that:
- Kindness and wellbeing have a significant impact on culture and the engagement of colleagues.
- Our brain is our most powerful tool, yet we are not taught how we can manage it to get the best out of it. This needs to change.
- The fear of failure and constantly striving for perfection are massive contributors to poor mental health – but is in our control if we are aware of it.
So what can an employer do to support an employee with mental health issues?
Ensure that you create an environment that is open, that encourages staff to discuss their challenges and problems. Have a culture of openness that allows you to go beyond a person’s workload, instead, it delves deeper into their role responsibilities and the opportunities that they would like to see appear. We know that 13% of employers would feel comfortable talking about their mental health and that percentage needs to be much higher!
Know what to do if a mental health problem arises within your workplace, such as where to direct the employees if they require specialist help. Also, educate yourself and staff on various mental health problems, so you can see the trigger. Always remember to be sensitive.
The groundwork can be set from the minute a new recruit starts, just by letting them know that if any problem arises, big or small, that they can discuss it. It doesn’t take much to make an employee feel supported or to create a culture of openness, especially if it means it decreases the chances of mental health problems in the workplace. You could create a wellbeing policy with relevant support links and contact details, which is always available to employees.
We have recently become a ‘Mindful Employer’ – we recognise that in the UK, people experiencing mental ill-health continue to report stigma and discrimination at work. Having signed the ‘Charter for Employers Positive about Mental Health’, we are committed to creating a supportive and open culture, where colleagues feel able to talk about mental health confidently, and aspire to appropriately support the mental wellbeing of all staff.
As an employer, we have made an on-going commitment to:
- Provide non-judgemental and proactive support to staff experiencing mental ill-health.
- Not make assumptions about a person with a mental health condition and their ability to work.
- Be positive and enabling all employees and job applicants with a mental health condition.
- Support line managers in managing mental health in the workplace.
- Ensure we are fair in the recruitment of new staff in accordance with the Equality Act (2010).
- Make it clear that people who have experienced mental ill-health will not be discriminated against, and that disclosure of a mental health problem will enable both the employee and employer to assess and provide the right level of support or adjustment.
It’s so important to make sure you have a balance between your work and home life – we’re big advocates of it here.
If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business then please get in touch.