Every day is important when it comes to looking after your mental health, especially the mental health of your employees. As we take our first tentative steps into the new year, having well and truly shut the door on 2020, there is a sense of optimism in the air as we look to the future. Whatever 2021 has in store for us, one thing we can be certain of is that employees will need support, support to adapt, to build resilience, and thrive in a changing workplace.
Despite the fact that over 200 million workdays are lost due to mental health conditions each year, mental health remains a taboo subject. Research confirms that a culture of fear and silence around mental health and general wellbeing is costly to employers. Did you know?
It makes for worrying reading doesn’t it? And to make matters worse, most workplaces would be unable to articulate how their employees are really feeling when times are good, never mind during a pandemic. Businesses are now starting to listen to the statistics and are taking the opportunity to learn more about how they can introduce strategies to help support their employees and create a workplace where everyone can thrive.
Promoting workplace wellbeing and creating a safe, secure and confidential environment in which your people can seek help is not without its challenges, especially as an increasing number of employees are working remotely. In current circumstances, it is more important than ever for employers to do whatever they can to understand how their employees are feeling. Having a flexible wellbeing strategy is key. With the right support tools in place, you can help your employees navigate the challenges more successfully.
All employers have a general duty of care to ensure the welfare of their employees under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and to assess and manage risk to their staff under Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This includes assessing and minimising the risk of stress-related illness. Furthermore, the Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees because of a mental or physical disability.
Having a wellbeing plan/strategy in place should be a part of your People Strategy. When devising a wellbeing strategy, it is important to be clear on what you are trying to achieve and what outcomes are desired. These outcomes should be organisation- oriented: reducing cost, increasing productivity, minimising absence, and employee oriented: happiness, work-life balance, job satisfaction. Tailor your wellbeing measures to these ends and constantly evaluate their impact.
Ensure flexible and robust working from home practices are in place to create a thriving remote working environment. This will help employees to perform at their best, maintain healthy connections between team members, focus on growth and reach mutual goals.
Creating an environment of openness and clear communication is itself a facet of workplace wellbeing, so getting the ball rolling on workplace wellbeing will make an immediate difference. Follow through on tangible benefits to improve the mental and emotional health, job satisfaction and work-life balance of your employees to deliver a powerful good.
The rewards of improving the wellbeing of your people are truly worth the effort. Your business will see:
- A reduction in presenteeism
- A more engaged and happier workforce
- An improved ability to recruit and retain talented people
- A reduction in costs
- Optimised productivity
It’s a no brainer!
Practical steps to get you started
- Promote wellbeing for all staff. Get everyone on board.
- Use free resources from mental health charities to help you. Mind is a great charity that has lots of free resources available online.
- Start talking about mental health and wellbeing in your business today. Check in regularly with your staff and ask how they are feeling.
- Educate your managers and employees about the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing and what part they play in promoting this inside your business.
- Encourage staff to focus on their physical health. Ensuring a balanced diet is important, and getting more exercise, especially outdoors, releases positive endorphins in your brain.
- Where possible, give staff development opportunities to enable them to learn and grow.
“Good mental health at work and good management go hand in hand and there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive. Addressing wellbeing at work increases productivity by as much as 12%.”
Mental Health Foundation
How can we help you?
Our HR specialists are on hand to give advice and guidance on your Wellbeing Strategy. If you would like to take part in our ‘Be Well’ Wellbeing Training, either for yourself or your employees, or you would like to see how we can support you in managing employment matters, please get in touch.