Supporting your staff’s mental health and wellbeing is good for your employees and your business.
Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October each year. To help you mark World Mental Health Day 2021, we have put together some simple, practical, and affordable ways to support mental health in your workplace.
Encourage staff to use their holiday entitlement and take a negative position on presenteeism.
When businesses respect their employees’ time off, employers set a healthy precedent for the rest of their business.
In a lot of work environments promoting over working and a long hour’s culture is still very common. Which although may produce short term gains, can often lead to burn out and over worked employees.
A survey from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace revealed that high stress and lack of physical activity are causing industries to lose on average 27 days of productive time per employee each year. This has huge financial implications, with the UK missing out on around £77.5 billion a year in loss of productivity due to mental and physical ill-health, often caused by stress. Encouraging employees to use their annual leave and avoiding a long working hours culture is the first step in assisting employees with their wellbeing.
Keep track of your employee’s annual leave (We suggest using BreatheHR software to do this), if you offer overtime, check employees are taking time off and getting enough rest and relaxation. This will help to promote a working environment that benefits from a healthier workforce whilst showing it cares about employee’s long-term wellbeing.
Promote healthier lifestyles
Our lifestyle has a huge effect on our mental health, just few small changes can improve your workplace wellbeing.
Think about the food that you are providing for your employees, if any. Eating slow-release energy foods can help us avoid that ‘sugar crash’. Reducing back on caffeine can help us feel less anxious. And staying hydrated can reduce fatigue and boost energy. You don’t have to stop birthday cakes in the office! but you might want to consider a weekly fruit bowl or ask staff to only bring in healthy snacks to share instead of the usual cakes and biscuits. Providing a water cooler or filtered water, and alternatives to caffeine-rich tea and coffee in your staff kitchen will also help.
To encourage activity, you could promote the use of pedometers and set weekly competitions for employees or encourage teams to take walks together at lunch time or have “walking” meetings as opposed to sitting in a meeting room.
Offer an EAP – Employee Assistance Program
While it’s good to talk, the reality is that even if you’re the world’s most supportive manager, your employees might not be comfortable or willing to discuss personal problems with “The Boss”.
You could invest in an employee assistance programme (EAP) giving your staff access to a range of support services, including 24/7 advice line and face-to-face counselling sessions, so when your staff need support, they always have somewhere to turn. There are a range of services on offer which cater for various sized businesses and budgets.
List of EAP providers.
Consider having Mental Health First Aiders.
Last year 595,000 UK workers suffered from work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. But if someone in your business is dealing with mental health issues, would you know about it?
Workplace Mental Health First Aiders are employees who you have identified as being approachable and capable of assisting colleagues should someone feel that they would like to talk in confidence to a person at work.
By undertaking a short training course, Mental Health First Aiders will be able to spot the signs and respond to the mental and physical health needs of a person experiencing a mental health issue. As well as provide support and advocacy to assist them in their time of need.
St Johns Ambulance provide a range of courses of differing length from £200 + VAT per delegate.
The following wellbeing policy template can provide ideas and guidance for companies to adapt and introduce into their own organisations.