At the heart of any great business is a team of hardworking, dependable employees, who help to ensure that their contribution helps the business to remain successful, there will be those who suffer in silence to the point that control is lost and the very act of getting out of bed becomes utterly overwhelming.

Many employees are still reluctant to share mental health information with their managers or bosses, seemingly for good reason. The stigma associated with mental health, being treated unfairly, becoming the subject of office gossip or compromising their employment terms are all legitimate fears.

However often mental health is mistakenly overlooked, this is can be a huge error for businesses today, as the implications for an employee to suffer with poor mental health can be just as bad, if not worse, than an employee with poor physical health.

The average working person spends 90,000 hours of their life working, and poor employee mental health can be due to internal or external factors within their workplace. Without effective management, this can have a serious impact on the person physical health and productivity.

Key factors at work that can impact mental health can be:

·       Conflicting work and home demands

·       Excessive workload

·       Lack of recognition

·       High-stress environments

·       Poor leadership

It is believed that one in every six employees in the UK suffers from some form of mental health issue, with mental ill-health being one of the leading causes of absence from work across the UK. Poor mental health not only leads to burnout, fatigue, irregular moods, stress, anxiety and reduced focus it eventually takes its toll on relationships and physical health as well. Change can only happen when employees have the confidence to speak out, and this is a significant issue that affects so many in the workplace.

Placing health and well-being at the heart of your business can help you attract and retain talent, improve productivity and help create a happier and motivated workforce, and have a positive impact on the company’s the bottom line.

Smarter employers are placing workplace wellness at the core of their business by recognising the importance of their staff and how they are a key contributor to a successful business. These employers are going beyond protocol, processes and profits to ensure their employees feel valued and supported.

Wellness and workplace health initiatives are varied but include everything from serious interventions and counselling services to mindfulness training, flexible working and even options like yoga, time off and massages at work. Other things employers could consider could be some or all the following:

Support your employees:

In the past some employers and managers have been more focused on ‘profit’ and/or ‘getting the job done’ before employee welfare, thank goodness, our modern workplaces have greatly improved. Modern employers and managers who engage and support with employees and focus on the growth and development of their teams both individually and professionally, will gain greater results and vast improved levels engagement across the business. Investing in a more supportive and encouraging approach will create greater improvements at all levels and raise the trust levels between managers and employees. Getting this balance right will give employees the confidence to speak about their stress levels, concerns regarding their role.

Listen:

Around 91% of managers agree that their actions affect their staff’s well being, however, only 24% of managers have received any training in mental health. Lack of training and understanding by managers will only create a culture of silence around mental health and well-being at work. Employers and business owners must be aware of how to reduce this by monitoring their employees stress levels at work, creating a more opportunity to communicate and increasing employees and managers knowledge around the mental health issues.

Think outside the box:

Modern employers look for more effective ways to engage with their employees to achieve a happier and motivated workforce. Around 70% of employees want a say in when and how they work, and a growth in flexible working shows more businesses are responding. By introducing a more flexible approach to working is one of the ways employers can prioritize their employees’ needs while increasing productivity. Nearly half of employees advocate for flexible working hours as a way to reduce workplace stress and anxiety, increase productivity, and to improve morale and engagement.

Inform and engage about mental health:

Education is key, to increase employee mental health awareness, employees at risk need to know that there is support and help, managers need training and support to support those suffering from mental health problems. Company’s need to develop strategies tailor-made to their business needs. Alongside increasing employee’s happiness, better communication and flexible working businesses need to look at their short and long-term policies which focuses on greater awareness and more effective treatment for at-risk employees at all levels of the business.

Reducing the stigma:

Only 53% of employees feel comfortable talking about mental health issues like depression and anxiety at work. Making your employees feel like they are a burden, employers should develop key steps to encourage their staff to discuss these issues. Consider introducing a regular mental health awareness campaigns or having them ask for help with a mental health issues should not affect that employee’s reputation and how they are perceived or treated at work.

If employers ensure that they create a workplace where employees feel comfortable disclosing mental illness, taking reasonable steps to create a more accessible work environment, then they are not only complying with the law, but they will also see benefits to their business’ productivity.

At the Compliance Standard Group we have created two mental health e-learning awareness training courses for employers and employees. Visit the our e-learning information by clicking on this link – mental health training

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